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Humans of the Kitchen and Smorgasburg Miami Celebrate Anthony Bourdain Day, June 25

Maize Project's Richard Ortega will prepare a crispy pork belly arepa as part of Smorgasburg Miami's Anthony Bourdain Day event.
Maize Project's Richard Ortega will prepare a crispy pork belly arepa as part of Smorgasburg Miami's Anthony Bourdain Day event. Photo courtesy of @HumansOfTheKitchen
On June 8, 2018, the world lost one of its greatest foodies: Anthony Bourdain, who died by suicide in a French hotel room.

The following year, two prominent chefs, Éric Ripert and José Andrés, declared June 25 Anthony Bourdain Day to celebrate their friend and honor his memory on his birthday.

This year, Miami will use the holiday to remember the late chef, author, and culinary travel documentarian with a food-focused day at Smorgasburg, the new open-air food market in Wynwood.

While it won't be the first such event to take place in recent years, it will be one of the largest so far, and it's all thanks to Miami-based Humans of the Kitchen, which is cohosting with Smorgasburg Miami.

Smorgasburg Miami founder Gaston Becherano Cohen tells New Times the event has been organized by Humans of the Kitchen photographers Carlos "Beto" Ortiz and Julian Buitrago, who helped to organize similar events in past years in support of local hospitality workers.

"Part of the reason I went into food is that I read Bourdain's book Kitchen Confidential and felt inspired," Cohen says. "On a personal level, when I ran my café in New York City, I experienced a strain on my own mental health. I think it's a topic we should be talking about, and I couldn't be happier Carlos came to me with the idea."

Ortiz, who has been a photographer with Humans of the Kitchen for the past four years, says much of his own work is inspired by Bourdain.

"He would focus more on the small restaurant, family operations, and the people in the kitchen that were behind the scenes, sharing their stories. I was a cook for five years, so I know the stories that come from the kitchen," said Ortiz. "I started this project to keep his legacy alive and to share the stories of Miami's cooks that deserved to be told. And I couldn't think of a better place to do it than at Smorgasburg. They're uniting all these up-and-coming vendors, and creating a great space of them to shine."

Fans of Miami-based Humans of the Kitchen may be familiar with Ortiz and his fellow team of photojournalists for their Instagram posts chronicling the men and women that make up the city's restaurant industry workforce. Since 2019, the members of Humans of the Kitchen have shared the journey, passion, and struggle of new, up-and-coming, or established back-of-house staff, from dishwashers and prep cooks to executive and pastry chefs, via photos and short stories.
click to enlarge The chefs at Smorgasburg Miami will be whipping up special dishes in honor of Anthony Bourdain Day. - PHOTO COURTESY OF HUMANS OF THE KITCHEN
The chefs at Smorgasburg Miami will be whipping up special dishes in honor of Anthony Bourdain Day.
Photo courtesy of Humans of the Kitchen
On June 25, from open to close, Smorgasburg Miami vendors will showcase special dishes highlighting Bourdain’s favorite foods in addition to their own.

Vendor specials for Anthony Bourdain Day include pork belly skewers from Chug's Wagyu Coney burger; Maiz Project's arepa con lechón; Los Dos Amigos Tacos' birria tacos; Yakitori Boyz 305's chicken yakitori; Fusion Fuego's roast pork empanada tostada; Sando Miami's French onion soup; Ban 'Me's pork belly bao bun; D’Abruzzo Mia's pork belly skewers; Arancinus' pork belly arancino; Pink Love Donuts' chicken and beef Argentinian empanadas; Trap Kitchen's al pastor mac 'n’ cheese; and Raclette Street's pastrami and raclette sandwich.

Cohen says 100 percent of merchandise sales during the day of the event — plus an additional monetary donation that has yet to be decided — will go to Restaurant After Hours, a charity supporting the mental health of the workers in the hospitality industry. Smorgasburg vendors will also have the option to donate a portion of the day's proceeds to the nonprofit.

In addition, representatives from Humans of the Kitchen will be hosting a booth at the event in an effort to advocate for free mental-health care for restaurant workers.

Smorgasburg Miami features more than 60 chefs and pop-ups from Miami and beyond, as well as a special section of retail vendors. The market also offers live music by a record DJ and a full bar helmed by Michelin-starred restaurant Los Felix, serving natural wine, specialty cocktails, and craft beer.

"Smorgasburg and its vendors is the perfect venue for this Bourdain-themed event, with so many vendors that really align with the type of food and culture he covered," Cohen says. "This is is a topic and cause that should be supported on an ongoing basis, and I'm happy Smorgasburg can be a part of this year's efforts."

Smorgasburg Miami's Bourdain Day. Noon to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at 2600 NW Second Ave., Miami; smorgasburgmiami.com.
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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