Ephraim Kadish Breez and Parallel at Billboardlive, South Beach

Making It Happen
At the new multi-media entertainment Billboardlive, Ephraim Kadish, executive vice-president of food and beverage, has created a food concept for the eyes, the palate and the pocketbook, that stands out amid the lights, the banks of sound and recording equipment, and the many bars.

By Cyd Penny

When an entertainment behemoth like Billboardlive steps onto Miami’s South Beach dining scene, you can feel the ground shake. As this startling concept in multi-media-charged venue emerged last month, Ephraim Kadish, the ringmaster of a culinary tsunami stepped forward.

At the top edge of the wave is Billboardlive’s compound at 1501 Collins Avenue ­ a dining, dancing, recording and performance center conceived and built by Mitchell Chait.

Going for the “wow” effect, CEO Chait tapped Kadish, the former China Grill Management’s corporate chef, to make the new center a top-of-the-chart destination for South Floridian diners.

Making it happen

Here, Kadish has created two restaurants: The easy-on-the-eye Breez, with its Asian-influenced selection of fresh fish and delightfully different approach to sushi, and the decadently posh eye-candy that is named Parallel, where the menu circumnavigates the globe on the 15th parallel. “Billboardlive’s on Ocean Drive and 15th St. The ocean part became Breez. I took the 15th part and looked at a map. I saw that the 15th parallel runs through Australia, Indonesia, the tip of Asia, South Africa and Latin America. So I’m going to bring all that together in a family-style restaurant, where the plates are dramatically presented, meant to share, to give different flavors, textures, that to my knowledge have never been seen before,” he muses.

These Kadish visions are surrounded by a state-of-the-art production recording studio, a dance club with live music, and VIP lounges. “Billboard is a new multi-media approach to entertainment,” he explains. “Everybody eats. Everybody listens to music. It’s stimulation that changes every day.”

There’s just no script for this show. When it ramps up ­ it moves all by itself. And standing in the center of all this activity, amid the lights, the banks of sound and recording equipment and the bustle of staff, is Kadish ­ in his own Zen space ­ making it all happen.

Focus on food

He is a bull of a man, with a quick smile and an engaging, low-key, almost shy manner. But the power is there. It’s in the tilt of his head ­ the squared shoulders ­ the flicker of intensity across his eyes. The American-born former Israeli paratrooper wears a black band around his left wrist. “To remind me of where I’ve been,” he says. He’s talking about the Lebanese War, about feelings that he still can’t talk about today ­ but that strength provides what shakes him and makes him who he is.

Driven is the word Kadish, executive vice-president of food and beverage for Billboardlive, and chef of both Breez and Parallel, ascribes to himself.

“I’m focused,” he says. “You have to be. If you get crazy, the staff gets crazy. I stay calm, and I lead by example.”

“I never work alone,” Kadish continues. “Everyone has a different thought about what food can be. I listen, take the dream, and turn it into a reality ­ through other people.” With a shrug of his shoulder, he uses the word “simple” to describe his food. “Really good food is honest about its flavors,” he explains. “My food is simple; it has, at the most, maybe 6 ingredients ­ all working to tie the dish together.”

Part artist and part historian Kadish is a master of food architecture. “My concept is for the eyes, the palate and the pocketbook. When I look at an empty plate, I see a blank canvas,” he explains. Each dish becomes a personal event.

A meteoric career

Coming from an unpretentious food background, Kadish had no early aspirations to cook. There were no hints of his creative culinary talents, and no family background in the food business ­ with the exception of a boyhood friend whose father had a catering company. “I didn’t find any great meaning to life in school,” says Kadish. “Besides, I was a terrible student. Especially in math. I didn’t figure out until many years later that if you put a dollar sign in front of numbers, they can take on a whole new meaning.”

He went on to study physical therapy at Rutgers University. Then, restless, he decided to travel. Kadish spent the next several years traveling through Europe, eventually settling in Israel, where he learned to farm, became an Israeli citizen, and found what he felt he was looking for. “All this time I was looking for the meaning in my life,” he reflects. “And what I found was the meaning of other people’s lives.”

Eventually, he returned to the States, and found his life had gone in full circle ­ back home, he re-joined his old friend at the catering company. And the epiphany happened. As he looked back over his life, he saw that he kept coming back to food. Each path he had taken had led him back to the same place.

Once he saw it, the rise was rapid. The New York Restaurant School of Continuing Education taught him the fundamentals, and he spread his wings at the Sign of the Dove in New York, at Arizona 206 and at Yellow Fingers. Then there was China Grill. There, a completely “new language in gastronomy” fell into place for him, and subsequent travels to Singapore and Bali added new flavors with which to express his talent.

Today, it’s hard to separate the accomplishments from the man. There are layers of complexity, layers of calm, excitement, power, and introspection ­ a description of Billboardlive? Or a description of Ephraim Kadish? Both.


Grilled Salmon, Asparagus, with Salt and Vinegar Mashed Potatoes
Serves 1
(May be multiplied evenly to accommodate any number of diners)
Click Here to Download this Recipe (Acrobat Reader needed to view)


7 oz. salmon fillet with skin
6 pieces of thin asparagus
2 baking potatoes
1 oz. olive oil
kosher salt
rice wine vinegar
2 oz butter
2 oz whole milk white


On a hot grill, cook the salmon skin side down until it is crispy, about three to five minutes. Then turn until done, about two minutes. Pierce the potatoes’ skin with a fork in four locations. Cook the potatoes in a microwave until done. Slice in half and scoop the insides into a bowl. Immediately, using a fork, incorporate butter, whole milk, rice wine vinegar and salt to taste. Do not let it get too loose. Season the asparagus with olive oil, salt and white pepper. Put on the grill for three minutes, then remove.

To assemble: put the mashed potatoes in the middle of the plate. Place the salmon on top. Then place the asparagus leaning on the potatoes, facing the center of the plate.

Cyd Penny is a freelance writer and a reporter for the Miami Herald. She lives in Hollywood, Florida.


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