J. Smoke Wallin interview with Michael Schwartz – James Beard Award winning chef/owner of Michael’s Genuine of Miami

Re-Posted From Wine 2.0 in 2011

I recently had the opportunity to sit down at with Michael Schwartz, chef/owner of Michael’s Geniune in Miami.  http://www.michaelsgenuine.com/   Michael’s Genuine is located at 130 Northeast 40th Street
Miami, FL 33137 (305) 573-5550

Michael is an amazing chef and a great person to hang with.  Michael just published his first book – “Michael’s Genuine Food”  

Aside from the incredible food and dining experience, I had the chance to ask Michael some questions about his background, his cooking philosophy and importantly to all of us, his views on wine.

 

“Schwartz’s culinary innovation  puts him at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement. He’s now on a national stage, based primarily on his straightforward, ingredient-driven cuisine, as well as his commitment to supporting local farmers and responsible, seasonal food sourcing.

He was recently honored with the prestigious 2010 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Chef and has appeared on national TV shows including Top Chef”, Rachael Ray’s Rachael’s Vacation, Throwdown with Bobby Flay, After Hours With Daniel Boulud, Simply Ming with Ming Tsai, and Fresh Food Fast with Emeril Lagasse.”

Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/03/27/2142158/michael-schwartz-cook…

J. Smoke Wallin (JSW):  What got you into cooking?
Michael Schwartz (MS): Well I grew up in Philadelphia in the ’60s and ’70s.  The closest I came to cooking as a kid was cutting up the Stroehmannwhite bread for stuffing at Thanksgiving dinner!!  My mom didn’t make much from scratch…  Things changed when I was 15 and I got a job bussing tables at Dilullo’s, a Northern Italian restaurant in Philadelphia.  The place was ahead of its time and really swanky, importing expensive, high quality ingredients from Italy. After about a year, I had worked my way into the back of the house.

JSW: What has been the greatest thing about starting Michael’s Genuine?
MS: Meeting great people and doing great things with them.

JSW: When you decided to open another restaurant, why Grand Cayman?

MS: Well it was less of me deciding it was time to open another MGFD than realizing we could when DART approached me.  I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first.  I didn’t think it was possible to replicate the experience of the restaurant, which has so much to do with the process – the responsible sourcing that is so important to who we are.  But I went down there and met with them, and liked who I met and what I saw. There was an emerging farming community poised to embrace a restaurant like ours and we’ve just been learning and growing with each other.  It’s really great.  We’re getting great variety of local product down there, even this past summer – thai eggplant, callaloo, herbs, peppers, amazing mangos, and local pumpkins… Of course there are things we need to bring in, but we’ve been pleasantly surprised.

JSW:  What made you want to write your book?
MS: I’ve always wanted to do a book. Again it was all about timing and relationships. Some executives from Clarkson Potter were in town and ate with us and said they wanted to publish my first book.  I pulled together a proposal and two years later, we have MICHAEL’S GENUINE FOOD: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People Who Love to Eat.  I’m really proud of the work we did to pull it together – I got to work with some pretty talented people, like my photographer Ben Fink.  The photos are beautiful and really capture what the dishes are all about – simple preparations using really fresh product. 
 

JSW: What is your wine philosophy at Michael’s?
MS: Our philosophy is just like food. It starts with the best producers and great product. I’m very lucky to have a sommelier like Eric Larkee. He’s always one step ahead of the game. We’re able to keep prices very reasonable and offer a creative, yet edited list. I’m lucky to have talented friends like Dennis Scholl and Richard Betts with the Betts & Scholl label… Jim Clendendon of Au Bon Climat..The list goes on… We’re of course trying to always to be responsible in every aspect of the business… So I know Eric gravitates towards producers that are using natural methods… and we recycle our corks and bottles (for water service) whenever possible. I’m looking into glass cutters right now so we can recycle the bottles for drinks glasses too.
 JSW:  Describe the perfect meal.
MS: One with my family, cooking food from our friends.

JSW: What’s best about being Michael?
MS: What kind of question is that?! I would say I’m lucky for the people I’m surrounded by, so that’s what’s best.

JSW: what has been your biggest challenge?
MS: Spending as much time with my family as I do with my other family at work.
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JSW: What can we expect when we buy your book?
MS: Well it’s definitely a Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink greatest hits to a certain degree, which is what I wanted out of a first book.  It’s divided similar to how our menu is set up, with a bunch of the dishes that we know and love, and some new things too.  I think what I’m most happy about is that the book really works.  So many times, especially with recipes you find on the internet, nothing works.  My compulsive organization really worked to my advantage on this one!

JSW: When can we get you out to the Bay area and up to Napa to enjoy some wine and share your book and story with our friends?
MS: Um, soon!!

Dinner with The White House Chef – Walter Scheib

I had the great pleasure of having a grand dinner with with former White House executive chef, Walter Scheib.  In October a bunch of YPO/WPO members of the Food & Beverage Network and the Beer, Wine & Spirits Network (I chair) got together in Chicago for 3 days of learning and networking.  It was a fantastic event, with best of the best resources, speakers, and activities.  One highlight was our evening with Walter Scheib.

Here is a little background on Walter from his website The American Chef.

Walter Scheib
(White House Executive Chef, 1994 – 2005)

“For the last eleven years, I have had the honor of doing daily what most chefs would be lucky to do once in their life time. That honor was serving the First Family of the United States.”

– Walter Scheib, March 2005
Walter Scheib has quite a story to tell. In fact, he has two stories to tell. The first involves the rise of an American chef to the most storied position in the land. The second offers an intimate, human view of two First Families, the corridors of political power, international personalities, and the most famous building in the United States, from a unique vantage point: The kitchen.

In April 1994, after a lengthy application and screening process, Walter Scheib became the chef to America’s chief executive and the First Family. First Lady Hillary Clinton, impressed by the comprehensive spa menu Scheib had developed for the Greenbrier resort, as well as his highlighting of American cuisine, personally hired Scheib. For 11 years, he prepared everything from simple family meals to elaborate and formal State Dinners. His culinary creations dazzled and delighted White House guests including Nelson Mandela, Emperor Aikihito, Jacques Chirac, Boris Yeltsin, Vaclav Havel, Lady Diana Spencer, Tony Blair, Vicente Fox, and others, not to mention the thousands of congressional members, journalists, and other House visitors who got to know his food.

A highlight of Scheib’s White House achievement was his creation of a distinctly American repertoire for the nation’s First House. He continues to speak with eloquence and pride about America’s bounty today, praising the artisan cheese makers, green grocers, mushroom foragers, master bread makers, fishermen, ranchers, and farmers who have helped our national market basket evolve, and make quality cooking more accessible than ever. “America is rich in amazing produce, meats, and fish,” Scheib say

The White House Chef - YPO/WPO Menu

s. “Using just a few excellent ingredients, anyone can make a perfect meal with very little formal training.”

Chef Scheib was very personable and probably the coolest part of the our evening together was all the interesting stories from his days in the White House for both President Clinton and Bush. There were many funny ones.

The meal was excellent and creative.  Menu at right.  Jay Wright the EVP and COO of Constellation Wines hosted our reception with a fun tasting of some of their wines from around the world.  Constellation Wine worked with Chef on the pairings. I was not a fan of everything, but it was a great experience.  My favorite dish was the first course – Seasame crusted Halibut with Red Curried Sweet Potato Soup.  This was paired with the 2010 Nobilo “Icon” Sauvignon Blanc.  Nice.

The best part was hanging out with Chef afterwards.  He joined us at our “afterparty” that I hosted with 3 Amigos Tequila and Napa Smith Brewery.  We enjoyed a Napa Smith Organic IPA together and chatted about his current business, travels and great food.  He is a big fan of great beer and agreed with my contention that a beer dinner is easier to create than a wine dinner as beer actually can accompany more foods in a more complimentary way.  Don’t get me wrong, I love wine, but we are seeing more and more of this kind of thinking.  Its great to get confirmation from a talented chef like Watler Scheib.

Chef Scheib’s book is called “White House Chef”.  It is far more than a cook book.  It is an interesting look into life inside the White House.

White House Chef

Napa Smith Brewery Named Official Beer Of USA Water Polo

12/7/2011 12:00:00 AM

Huntington Beach, Calif. – December 7, 2011– Napa Smith Brewery, producers of hand-crafted beer from the Napa Valley, have been named the Official Beer of USA Water Polo. As part of the agreement Napa Smith Beer will be featured at a variety of events including the 2011 & 2012 USA Water Polo Golf Tournaments, the 2012 Hall of Fame Dinner, and the 2012 Masters Nationals Championship. They will also serve as the title sponsor of the annual Masters Nationals Social and provide additional beer to supplement VIP areas for various events throughout the term, such as FINA level National Team competitions and private fundraising events. The agreement also allows for USA Water Polo to host potential events at Napa Smith’s Brewpub while also promoting the company through Golf Tournament tee-signs, a dedicated email campaign, and more.

“Napa Smith Brewery crafts high quality, great tasting beer right here in California. We are excited to support a local business, while providing them access to our national marketing assets,” said Jennifer Rottenberg, USA Water Polo Chief Marketing Officer.  “We look forward to working together in particular to support further growth of our Masters – adult – level water polo programs, and at the same time, to support Napa Smith in its growth in distribution and awareness.”

“While Napa Smith is a young company, our employees are very active. They play kickball and golf, darts and horseshoes; we swim from Alcatraz, bike, and play volleyball. We hike, run, surf, and play soccer. A couple of us play in rock bands. And we play water polo,” said Steve Morgan, President of Napa Smith Brewery. “So, when we found an opportunity to combine one of our passions with sponsoring the sport of water polo as a whole, we jumped at it. We are very excited to partner with USA Water Polo and support their members and National Teams as they prepare for the 2012 Olympic Games in London!”

Napa Smith "Lost Dog"

About Napa Smith Brewery
Napa Smith Brewery is located at the southern gateway to Napa Valley, just south of the town of Napa. Napa Valley is internationally known as a destination for those individuals who seek the best that life has to offer. Napa Smith is proud to contribute to the Napa tradition of hard work, craftsmanship, and artistry with the introduction of its unique family of beers. It creates its beers using proprietary recipes developed by Master Brewer Don Barkley – the most experienced brewer in the craft brewing industry.

About USA Water Polo
USA Water Polo, Inc. is the national governing body for water polo in America, overseeing our United States Olympic program as well as 20 different championship events annually, such as Junior Olympics and Masters National Championships. With more than 40,000 members, USAWP is also the sanctioning authority for more than 500 Member Clubs and more than 400 tournaments nationwide. USAWP is committed to the development of the sport nationwide. It fosters grass-roots expansion of the sport, providing a national system of affiliated clubs, certified coaches and officials.

Official USA Water Polo Sponsors
24 Hour Fitness, Active Media, American Pistachios, Aquahydrate, Big Fish Payroll Services, Capital One, Colorado Time, H2O Audio, Intercontinental Hotels Group, iSport, Jostens, Kaenon, KT Tape, Ludus Tours, Malibu Wellness, Mikasa, Napa Smith Brewery, Ospraie Management, PowerBar, Pro-form Mouthguards, REUSE Jeans, Sea Air Federal Credit Union, Squar Milner, SwimOutlet.com, Stemilt, TRX, TURBO, United, VIDA Organic Life Massage & Water Marque.

   

3 Amigos Tequila to partner with Michigan International Speedway

Hey all you race fans and all you tequila fans…. 3 Amigos is proud to announce our partnership with Michigan International Speedway!  Check it out!  Hope to see you at the Race this weekend!

BROOKLYN, Mich. (June 15, 2011) — It’s signed and official! Michigan International Speedway officials announced a partnership with 3 Amigos Tequila today.

3 Amigos Tequila will be the “Official Tequila of MIS” beginning with this weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 race weekend.

 

“We’re pleased to partner with 3 Amigos Tequila and have them here during our upcoming race weekend,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “We’ve had great relationships with beer and liquor companies over the years, so it’s fitting that 3 Amigos Tequila sees value in partnering with us for the 2011 season.”

Award winning 3 Amigos Tequila

Award winning 3 Amigos Tequila

3 Amigos Tequila was founded by Arizona resident Santiago Gonzalez and his family in 2007. The product is made from agave grown at his family’s farm in Mexico. The tequila is distilled and bottled in Mexico before being brought to the United States for distribution.

 

“3 Amigos is very excited to partner with Michigan International Speedway to introduce our brand to your great fans,” J. Smoke Wallin, Chairman & CEO of Paddington & Pelican Brands.  He continued, “We know how serious the Michigan fans are about auto racing, and we take our tequila just as seriously – it will be a perfect match!”

 

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series tickets for the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on Sunday and the NSCS 400 on August 21, both weekends featuring 3 Amigos Tequila, are now on sale and as low as $30. Visit MISpeedway.com or call the MIS ticket hotline at 800-354-1010 today to take advantage of great pricing for 2011 events at MIS.

 

Nestled in the lush Irish Hills of Southeastern Michigan, Michigan International Speedway is a Great Escape, a venerable NASCAR national park where race fans and sports fans can get away and enjoy the very best in racing and camaraderie. It’s the fun of NASCAR and the thrill of a great time for guests and drivers alike.

 

You can also visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MISpeedway or Tweet with us @MISpeedway.

 

About The Paddington Corporation

The Paddington Corporation has a rich history in the branded spirits business. Today’s Paddington Corporation is a brand marketer, incubator and instigator. Its first brand of this century is 3 Amigos 100% agave hand crafted tequila.  www.paddingtonbrands.com

 

About Pelican Brands

Pelican Brands manages a portfolio of owned and agency premiere import & craft beers, artisanal spirits and fine wines. Pelican Brands’ team and partners have extensive experience in the global beverage and consumer packaged goods industries. A Pelican Brands led investment group recently acquired Napa Smith Brewery & Winery. Pelican Brands is headquartered in Carmel, IN, with offices in the United Kingdom and Napa, CA and a sales team covering the U.S. market and select international markets. www.pelican-brands.com and on Facebook http://on.fb.me/afmdBU And follow us on Twitter @pelicanbrands

 

About 3 Amigos Tequila

Tequila 3 Amigos is made by the Gonzalez family. 3 Amigos Tequila is grown and made in Tepatitlan, Jalisco, Mexico, located in the highlands of the state of Jalisco. Los Altos red rich soil, and high incline land produces the finest Weber Blue Agave. 3 Amigos Tequila is a young company with deep roots going back generations of growing blue agave for some of the finest tequila companies. 3 Amigos tequila is now rolling out around the US and will be available in your market soon. Visit us online at http://3amigostequila.com/html/casa.html or join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/3-Amigos-Tequila/94710159983 where we will continue to update availability.

 

Michigan International Speedway – 2011 Schedule

 

Thursday, June 16      Race Fest in Downtown Brooklyn – 1:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m.

Friday, June 17           ARCA Racing Series RainEater Wiper Blades 200

Saturday, June 18      NASCAR Nationwide Series Alliance Truck Parts 250

Sunday, June 19        NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400

 

Friday, Aug. 19           Meijer Pole Day

Saturday, Aug. 20      NASCAR Camping World Truck Series VFW 200

Sunday, Aug. 21        NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

 

Sunday, Sept. 11        Spirit of America Blood Drive – 10th Anniversary!

 

# # #

CONTACT:
Sammie Lukaskiewicz, MIS Director of Communications (517) 592-1208 or slukaskiewicz@mispeedway.com
Dennis Worden, MIS Manager of Public Relations (517) 592-1204 or dworden@mispeedway.com

 

 

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