Niven Patel Takes Over Michael's Genuine Food & Drink; Bradley Herron Promoted

Changes abound at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, the flagship restaurant by James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz.

Bradley Herron, formerly chef de cuisine at the Design District staple, now serves as executive chef for the Genuine Hospitality Group -- a brand that includes Harry's Pizzeria, Restaurant Michael Schwartz, the Cypress Room, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink in Grand Cayman, and a partnership aboard Royal Caribbean cruises.

See also: The Cypress Room Keeps It Classy in the Design District

Niven Patel, previously chef of Dean Max's Grand Cayman restaurant named Brasserie, is the new chef de cuisine at the ingredient-driven dining room.

Patel's arrival to the restaurant is most evident through his lunch specials -- which often feature fish sandwiches. And lots of them.

The sandwiches, which cost an average of $16, reflect Patel's epicurean ethos. When the chef stepped into his new position, he tweaked the menu to reflect his style.

"I've added a few Indian flavors. My vision is seafood heavy. That's why you might see more fish on the menu," he explains.

Patel orders about 80 pounds of fish a day, then devises specials based on what he gets. "We don't know what's coming until the day of," he says. "Swordfish handles more sauce, more spice. Snapper is more delicate so you don't want to get too crazy. Sometimes the sandwich is a forgotten thing. But it really is a good way for cooks to express themselves."

Since fish arrive whole at Michael's Genuine, the kitchen reserves loins for main courses. Smaller pieces are used for smoked fish dip or sandwiches.

Like the rest of the Schwartz team, Patel is a strong proponent of local growers. The chef resides in Homestead, where he cultivates eggplant, long beans, and peppers. Occasionally, he brings curry leaves from his backyard and incorporates them into the restaurant kitchen.

Bradley Herron is doing some serious commuting too. The chef visits every Genuine Hospitality Group holding in Miami on a daily basis.

"It's good for any restaurant to have a new face come in," says Patel. "And it's good for Michael that Brad goes to every restaurant every single day now. He hits the Raleigh and all three in the Design District. He makes sure the vision is followed."

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Emily Codik