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Once Upon a Kitchen Brings the World's Best Chefs to Miami

Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco poses with a dinner guest at the 2018 Once Upon a Table event in New York City.
Michelin-starred chef Mauro Colagreco poses with a dinner guest at the 2018 Once Upon a Table event in New York City. GR8 Group
How would you like to have a meet-and-greet with your favorite athlete, a private shopping experience at a luxury fashion house, or tickets to the Cannes Film Festival? For Barnabas Carrega, cofounder and CEO of Miami-based GR8 Group, which coordinates VIP and luxury experiences, making dreams a reality is part of a day's work.

South Florida foodies will be interested in the company's annual bucket list-worthy epicurean event dubbed Once Upon a Kitchen. This year, the dinner has moved to Miami, where four Michelin-starred chefs will present their respective flair in what Carrega says is one of the world's most elite culinary experiences.

Once Upon a Kitchen will take place Sunday, December 1, at the Frank Gehry-designed New World Center concert hall in South Beach. The inaugural 2017 and 2018 dinners were held in New York City, but the event has relocated to Miami to help elevate the city's reputation as a world-class dining destination, Carrega says.

The chance to dine with three of the world’s most revered chefs — Massimo Bottura, Mauro Colagreco, and Alex Atala — would normally require a trip to Italy, France, or Brazil for a seat at their respective restaurants. For Carrega, Once Upon a Kitchen is his way of bringing these rare talents stateside for a more personal, immersive experience.

"We wanted to create something unique and exclusive, a once in a lifetime experience," Carrega says "The fact that we are able to bring these chefs under one roof is a very special thing that doesn't happen often."
click to enlarge A dish from the 2018 Once Upon a Kitchen event in New York City. - GR8 GROUP
A dish from the 2018 Once Upon a Kitchen event in New York City.
GR8 Group
Guests will be treated to a multicourse dinner featuring dishes culled from the chefs' restaurants: Bottura's Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy; Colagreco's Mirazur in Menton, France; and Atala's D.O.M. in São Paulo, Brazil. During the event, the chefs will each plate a signature dish live, and guests will have the opportunity to meet the culinary artists in person, including the evening's wine expert Roberto Cipresso, who created a special cuvee for Pope John Paul II during the 2000 Jubilee.

Local talent Antonio Bachour was tapped for his ties to Miami. Named best pastry chef in 2018 by the Best Chef Awards, Bachour opened his namesake pastry shop earlier this year in Coral Gables and will create a never-before-seen dessert crafted specifically for Once Upon a Kitchen.

"This is a unique experience where you can interact and engage with the chefs themselves, so it almost feels like they've personally invited you into their homes," Carrega says. "What we have created through this event is an absolutely unforgettable and emotional experience [and a] rare opportunity to sit within feet of their culinary idols and enjoy their most iconic creations."

The 2019 dinner is limited to 300 people, and tiered tickets cost between $1,500 and $3,500 per person. A limited number of chef's table tickets sell for $5,000 per person (pending an approval process), allowing guests the most intimate experience. Access to a VIP wine and cocktail hour is available for platinum and chef's table guests.

Once Upon a Kitchen.
Sunday, December 1, at the New World Center, 500 17th St., Miami Beach; 305-673-3331; Tickets cost $1,500 to $5,000 via
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Nicole Danna is a Palm Beach County-based reporter who began covering the South Florida food scene for New Times in 2011. She also loves drinking beer and writing about the area's growing craft beer community.
Contact: Nicole Danna