This week's Cafe column will contain an interview with Lee Schrager, best known locally as being the man behind the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. In the talk we discuss the upcoming SBWFF as well as the new SBWFF cookbook, which Schrager will be discussing in person at the Miami Book Fair this Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Here is an outtake from the interview. Schrager had just noted that he'd worked at the Intercontinental Hotel Miami; I mentioned that it seemed the Intercontinental never housed any real good restaurants. Lee looked shocked that I'd forgotten "the best restaurant we ever had in this city". Do you remember which restaurant he's referring to?
Lee Schrager: Le Pavillon Grill was the best restaurant we ever had in this city.. At the time, I was working at the Omni Hotel at 1600 Biscayne. I'd been to Pavillon Grill like twice. I thought it was the most extraordinary food I'd ever had in my life.The chef was Guy Gateau, an amazing chef. Twenty-five years ago I swore he was the greatest chef living.
What happened to him?
About two years ago he was executive chef at The Biltmore. He went to Virginia, opened a restaurant. It never really happened for him. He just became a good French chef. He was ahead of the times until he was behind the times. But really, that Pavillon Grill had extraordinary food.