For years, Hedy Goldsmith was known throughout Miami for her intricate, balanced desserts at Michael's Genuine Food & Drink. She moved to the West Coast to start a new path with wife Heidi Ladell in 2015 but forever holds an honorary place in the South Florida culinary community.
For Goldsmith, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival is a time to reconnect with her colleagues. "I'm excited to come back to Miami. I get to see all of my buddies from forever ago."
In 2018, which is fast becoming a breakout year for women in every industry, Goldsmith recalls the festival began as a dinner to celebrate Miami's female chefs. "It's thrilling for me to be involved in the festival. I've been involved since we did an all-women's dinner, and it was remarkable. I'm really happy to see there are quite a few women on this year's roster."
Goldsmith says that though she's seen women's roles in the culinary industry expand and evolve over the years, more women need to be restaurant owners. "I think female-owned and -operated restaurants tend to have a greater percentage of women." Goldsmith also wants to shatter the stereotype of women being relegated to the role of pastry chef. "Sure, there's still the old guard, but women are interested in breaking down a hind quarter of meat. God knows I'd love to do that." The chef envisions a time in the near future when the playing field is level. "In my lifetime, it would be great to see more women in kitchens across the board, not just in major cities, but in all levels of the food world."
Still, she says, the industry has a ways to go. "The fact that we're not granted the same pay grade as our counterparts is an age-old tale." She says that during her career, women had to work harder to earn respect. "We always have to be taken seriously. We always have to be on."
Goldsmith also addresses the issue of allegations of sexual harassment in the restaurant world. "I think of myself 20 years ago when nobody would believe what I would have to say. When the allegations started in the restaurant business, I thought, It's gotta start somewhere."
The chef says she thinks this time is a catalyst for change. "This is the way it's gotta be. More women, now, may opt into this industry. It's not for the timid, but a woman should go in for passion and not be afraid of being touched."
Goldsmith is having her own personal evolution. A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art, she found herself gravitating to interior design during her time in Los Angeles. "I found something I kinda shelved. Design was always an interest of mine, and when I moved, I was able to investigate things I've wanted to do for years."
The former executive pastry chef of Michael Schwartz's the Genuine Hospitality Group is working at HD Buttercup, a fashionable L.A.-based designer furniture company she says has "magical energy." She says she gave this change in her career trajectory a year. "I decided I had an opportunity, not to put my whisks on the shelf, but to be able to communicate in the arts and talk to designers in their language. It forced me out of my comfort zone."
The chef-turned-designer says working in design opened her to new ideas. "I'm working visually, so it's helping free and clear my mind to be able to embrace what I love, which is pastry. It's throwing a new light on what I love. I needed to be restored."
She says all roads lead back to pastry. "It comes full circle for me and fulfills a wonderful dream that I had." She says this new endeavor has gotten her mind racing to design cookies that are both beautiful and delicious. "It's about product development and design work meeting."
As busy as she is, she still bakes every day. Her online shop, sweethedy.com, is successful, and she creates goodies for Hollywood film studios during gala season. "I'm still going strong."
Goldsmith will bring a bit of Hollywood to the South Beach Wine & Food Festival's Best of the Best with a display of glamorous chocolate. "It's going to hit every area that I love to address: the sour, the sweet, the salty, the bitter, the umami." Pressed to give more details about the confections she'll present at the fest's signature event, she simply says, "It's going to be fun to eat and pretty." Then she confesses with a laugh: "That's Hedyspeak for 'I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do.'"
Fontainebleau Miami Beach presents Wine Spectator's Best of the Best, sponsored by Bank of America. 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. Friday, February 23, at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets are sold out.
The Ladies of Liberty Brunch with Michelle Bernstein, Lindsay Autry, and Hedy Goldsmith. 11:30 a.m. Saturday, February 24, at Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co.; 237-B 20th St., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $100 via eventbrite.com.