Je T’aime Le Zoo

By Caitlin Marino

France has always been on the list of countries I love. I was lucky enough to visit a few years back during a semester abroad and was left feeling even more infatuated than when I was a little girl dreaming of the day I’d finally see the Eiffel Tower. Amongst the many reasons to consider visiting France, I’d undoubtedly put experiencing the native culinary delicacies as reason number one: crêpes, baked cheeses, wine, and let’s not even get into desserts.

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Miami Tastemaker – Misha Kuryla-Gomez

Misha Kuryla-Gomez, Founder, Misha’s Cupcakes
Perfect for the day after Mother’s Day, we’re getting to know Miami’s Queen of Cupcakes, Misha Kuryla-Gomez. Misha could be considered Miami’s ultimate “mom-preneur.” Misha, whose parents are from Mexico and Peru, was born and raised in Miami and graduated from Coral Gables Senior High. After college at UPenn and grad school at UM, she traveled abroad to Florence, Italy, where she honed her marketing and customer service skills, but more importantly began to discover her love for baking when she would make American desserts for her friends. However, it was not until after the birth of her first child in 2005 that she found her true calling for baking. As Misha was wrapping up her maternity leave, she heard about Sprinkles cupcake bakery, and thought, “I can do that!” So, she started baking – and hasn’t stopped!

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Chef’s Corner – Nicole Votano

Nicole Votano, Executive Chef, Fooq’s
Chef Nicole Votano grew up in London, Italy, and France, and attended high school in San Francisco and Hawaii. Her lifetime of travels and global experiences have only found their way into her eclectic cooking styles, which specialize in French, Italian, and Asian flavors. Upon graduating from the French Culinary Institute in NYC, Chef Nicole moved back to San Francisco to work in the kitchens of Kimpton Group’s French brasserie Grand Café and Bradley Ogden’s restaurant One Market.

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Miami Tastemaker – Evan Benn

Evan Benn, Food & Restaurants Editor, Miami Herald and Miami.com
Evan Benn was born and raised in York, Pa., and graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism in 2004. He covered breaking news, crime, courts, hurricanes and other stories for the Miami Herald from 2004-2009, when he moved to St. Louis, where his wife, Teri, was in her medical residency. He wrote about food and beer as an editor and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from 2009-2013. While in St. Louis, Evan wrote a book, “Brew in the Lou,” about the city’s beer history and present scene. He rejoined the Herald and became food editor in April 2014. Evan occasionally freelances food-and-drink stories for Beer Advocate, Bloomberg Businessweek and Esquire, among other publications.

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Behind the Bar – Ben Potts

Ben Potts, Spirits Practitioner & Ice Enthusiast, Blackbird Ordinary
First and foremost, Ben Potts considers himself a bartender. He is also a connoisseur of fine spirits, cocktails, and pretty much anything you can drink. He’s a Miami native with an undergraduate degree from Tulane University and an MBA from the University of Miami with professional experience in investment banking, hospitality management, and staffing. When he’s not learning and practicing my craft, he’s going to CrossFit and learning about technology.

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Chef’s Corner – Johana Faraldo

Johana Faraldo, Executive Chef, Downtown Bistro
Johana Faraldo’s passion for food comes from her grandmother and from an early age she helped her family to prepare all kinds of different meals for big dinner parties. So, little by little, Johana grew in the industry and is now an extremely reliable and passionate chef. While she has experience in French, Italian, Mediterranean, Greek, Asian and Latin cuisines, the most important ingredients she puts into all of her dishes are love and passion.

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Chef’s Corner – Vince Navarrete

Vince Navarrete, Executive Chef, Marlins Park (Levy Restaurants)
It’s been just over a week since the baseball season ended for two-thirds of MLB teams, including our hometown Miami Marlins. While the Fish may have fallen short on the field, the fish (and other food) served up in the stands was nothing short of all-star quality. In its short history Marlins Park has wowed fans with its culinary lineup and with the introduction of an updated farm-to-fork sustainability program the season’s MVP has without a doubt been Executive Chef Vince Navarrete.

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When Life Gives You Lemons, Vida Makes Lemonade

First things first; this post is not about a lemonade stand. The title is a metaphor for what happened to me the other night when I was met with a change of dinner plans that turned into a great, unexpected dining experience. So, let’s start at the beginning…

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Miami Tastemaker – Taylor Hicks

Taylor Hicks, Owner/Creator, Taylor’s Ultimate Gourmet Sauces
Taylor Hicks was born and raised in Miami amongst a family of wonderful, talented cooks that is truly representative of our city’s gastronomic melting pot. His paternal grandfather, an Idaho native with a palate for Italian food, married a Peruvian woman of English descent. His grandmother created her own cookbook, and starting in college, his father begin to use it as his culinary inspiration. The book was recently published and handed down to Taylor. Taylor’s maternal grandparents were from Georgia and North Carolina and were excellent cooks specializing in Southern dishes. His grandfather also loved preparing Italian food, and perfected many dishes while visiting Italy. Inspired by how these different influences of cooking has brought his family together, Taylor created Taylor’s Ultimate Gourmet Sauces, a line of sauces and salad dressings that blend the Southern cooking of his mother’s family with his father’s Peruvian influence.

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