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BAM!  Emeril Lagasse is coming to the Arsht Center, January 9, 2010.
The famed chef will close the Celebrity Chef Series at an event hosted by Chef Norman Van Aken on January 9 at 8 p.m.,
At the Adrienne Arsht Center. Tickets: $25 – 200,  may be purchased at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office at 305.949.6722 or online at: www.arshtcenter.org

20TH ANNUAL GREAT TASTE OF THE GROVE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, JANUARY 9 -10, 2010
The two-day family fun food and music festival is taking place on Saturday, January 9th 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m, and Sunday, January 10th 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m with a live entertainment from well-known local artists, a kids zone area and an array of gastronomical offers provided by various area restaurants and available with the purchase of tickets ranging from $1 to $8. Free Admision
A portion of the proceeds from food tickets sales will benefit charitable community organizations.  Admission for The Great Taste of the Grove is complimentary. Peacock Park, 2820 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove, www.coconutgrovechamber.com .

NATIONAL RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION STATISTICS: DECLINE IN 2009
According to the National Restaurant Association, for the past 40 years, food production in this country has been increasing faster than the population. During 2009, restaurants provided more than 70 billion meals and snacks; and on any typical day, more than 130 million individuals were foodservice patrons.
Startling as they are, these statistics represent a steady decline from previous years. According to the NPD Group, a leading market research company, overall restaurant traffic as of May 2009 fell 2.6% from the previous year, the steepest decline since 1981, while visits from individuals aged 18 to 24 dropped a whopping 8%. Despite these declines, the average American will purchase 202 restaurant-prepared meals this year.

WHOLE FOODS MARKET LAUNCHES HOLIDAY RECIPE PROGRAM WITH LOCAL CHEFS
Just in time for holiday entertaining, Whole Foods Market stores throughout Florida team with local star chefs  - top culinary names like Allen Susser, Michelle Bernstein, Michael Schwartz, Cindy Hutson and many more -  to do in-store cooking demonstrations and to create easy-to-assemble tasty hors d’oeuvres.
Each Whole Foods Market in Florida will feature two recipe cards, free to customers. The cooking demos are as follows:  
- Friday, 12/18, 7 p.m.   – Gonzalo Rivera. 6701 Red Road Coral Gables  305.421.9421
- Sunday, 12/20, 10 a.m.   – Allen Susser. 21105 Biscayne Blvd Aventura,   305.933.1543
- Monday, 12/21, 6 p.m.  – Fabrizio Aielli 9101 Strada Place, Naples, 239.552.5115
- Wednesday, 12/23, 7 p.m.   – Gordon Maybury 810 University Drive, Coral Springs,   954.753.8000
For a complete list of cooking demos log on to http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com 

NEW CULINARY BOOT CAMP AT THE BILTMORE HOTEL, CORAL GABLES
Starting in January 2010, The Biltmore Hotel's Culinary Academy is offering a Culinary Boot Camp. The week-long camp or a weekend camp provides a unique opportunity to combine a luxury holiday while learning culinary arts in a 700-square-foot state-of-the-art kitchen lab, taught by masters such as Chef Philippe Ruiz of Palme d'Or, the 2009 Zagat Guide top restaurant for food, decor and service. Enrollment is limited to 8 students. Call 305-913-3131 or e-mail: CulinaryAcademy@BiltmoreHotel.com

 

GORDON RAMSAY AUDITIONING AMATEUR CHEFS FOR A NEW COOKING SHOW IN MIAMI

Can you cook well despite never having been formally trained? MasterChef by famed Chef Gordon Ramsay and the producers of The Biggest Loser is currently searching for budding chefs from all walks of life - amateur chefs, passionate foodies, the ultimate dinner party host/hostesses…He will NOT be considering professional chefs who work in professional kitchens. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and either a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident. To schedule an audition: email MasterChefCasting@gmail.com

For more information, visit: www.Fox.com/casting



CARBONELL OLIVE OIL RESTAURANT WEEK FROM DECEMBER 9 TO 19

From December 9-19, Carbonell Chef’s Fest offers three and four-course olive oil inspired prix fixe menus at $35-$45 per person inspired by Carbonell olive oil at the following restaurants: Au Pied de Cochon, La Cofradia, Novecento 900 Coral Gables/Lincoln Rd./Brickell, Por Fin, Casa Juancho, Meat Market, Red the Steakhouse, Graziano's Brickell, Ortanique on the Mile, Talula. For more details view www.carbonellchefsfest.com



EXECUTIVE CHEF GONZALO RIVERA LAUNCHES NEW MENU AT LA MAREA AT THE TIDES SOUTH BEACH

La Marea executive chef Gonzalo Rivera, a protégé of chef Michael Mina, is introducing new lunch and dinner menus for the indoor/outdoor La Marea and a bar menu for Coral Bar. The new menus echo Rivera’s heritage. “My Mexican roots definitely play a part in my food,” says Rivera, who served as executive chef of Mina’s Nemi Restaurant (2006-2009).

For dinner: Appetizers ($10-$18) include an Acapulco prawn “cocktail” in a savory cold tomato soup with chunks of Haas avocado, served with lavosh crackers; a basket of freshly-baked and grilled naan with a piquant chipotle hummus, tempura shrimp fritters; skewered tempura battered shrimp wrapped in bacon with yuzu-infused crème fraîche, and Australian wagyu beef sliders topped with fried onions. There’s a crudo ($15-$36) menu with fresh-from-the-sea dishes as well as salads ($14-$18). Pastas ($24-$28) and main plates ($32-$45) are generously portioned and there’s a slate of reasonably priced sides ($6) including sautéed spinach, grilled asparagus, sautéed broccolini, BBQ fries and sautéed wild mushrooms.

Lunch is a more casual affair with featured sandwiches ($15-$18) including falafel wrap with tahini smoked paprika sauce, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion and parsley, a daily “fishwich” served on brioche with Creole tartar sauce, pickles, and fried green tomatoes and the Tides Burger with Rivera’s BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, buttermilk aioli and pico de gallo.

Coral Bar’s fare is meant to be shared with selections such as calamari with a fish sauce vinaigrette, cilantro, garlic and almonds; crispy black grouper tacos with coleslaw, chipotle mayonnaise and salsa verde; and kobe skirt steak quesadillas with Monterey Jack cheese, guacamole, salsa fresca, and sour cream. Desserts ($10) include piping hot buñuelos with caramelized mango, tamarind coulis and house-made Mexican vanilla bean ice cream and caramelized banana tarte tartin with maple-sugar ice cream, among others.

La Marea is located at The Tides Hotel, 1220 Ocean Drive on Miami Beach, and is open for Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily – 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; noon to 5:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m (305) 604-5070. www.tidessouthbeach.com



GINGERBREAD HOUSE WORKSHOP FOUR SEASONS HOTEL MIAMI, DECEMBER 19

Four Seasons Hotel Miami Executive Pastry Chef Marko Krancher will host a Gingerbread House Workshop on December 19 from 3 to 5 pm. Kids and parents will work on a workshop sure to become the centerpiece of the family Christmas decorations this year. Reservations are required and more information is available by calling 305-381-3190. Four Seasons Hotel Miami, 1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami cost is $35 per person.


SOUTH BEACH WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL AND WHOLE FOODS MARKET TEAM UP FOR COMPLIMENTARY COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS - DECEMBER 2009

Several chefs participating in the 2010 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival (Thursday, February 25 – February 28, 2010) presented by Food & Wine and Whole Foods Market will be hosting complimentary cooking demonstrations at Whole Foods Market located in Coral Gables.

Each live cooking demo will last approximately 1 hour as follows: Thursday, December 10th at 7:00 p.m. – Chef Sean Brasel; Meat Market; Tuesday, December 15th at 7:00 p.m. – Chef Marco Ferraro; Wish at The Hotel; Thursday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m. – Chef Michael Schwartz -Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink; Saturday, December 19th at 2:00 p.m. – Chef Jonathan Wright; The Setai.

Attendees will be entered to win two (2) tickets to the Whole Foods Market Grand Tasting Village on Sunday, February 28, 2010 at the Festival.

Whole Foods Market, 6701 Red Road, Coral Gables . Seating is limited. Call (305) 421-9421 to reserve a seat in advance.

CELEBRITY CHEFS TODD ENGLISH & ROCCO DISPIRITO AT “SWEET DREAMS” EVENT DECEMBER 10-26, AT SEMINOLE CASINO COCONUT CREEK

Chefs Todd English and Rocco DiSpirito will participate in the Third Annual Sweet Dreams at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek on December 10 and December 19, respectively from 6 - 10 p.m. “Mr. Food” Art Ginsburg will do a dessert demonstration on December 24th

The three week event to be held Thursdays through Saturdays: Dec. 10, 11, 12; Dec. 17, 18, 19; and Dec. 24, 25, 26, is a celebration of the holidays, extravagant display of all-you-can-eat desserts created from scratch by pastry chef David Gomez and his team, including sugar-free selections. Live-action flambé stations; a chocolate dipping fountain; delectable handmade candies, unique pastries, specialty drinks and open bar. To complete the festive holiday atmosphere at Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, on Friday evenings during December professional carolers (www.theyuletidecarolers.com) will stroll and perform outside Fresh Harvest restaurant and Nectar lounge from 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 11, 18 and on Christmas Day.

Nectar Lounge, next to the Players Club in Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, East of State Road 7 (U.S. 441) and north of Sample Road on 40th Street.  The $20 admission also includes specialty drinks and an open bar. For more information call 954-977-6700; fax 954-970-7721; write to: 5550 NW 40th Street, in Coconut Creek, 33073; or visit www.seminolecoconutcreekcasino.com

 

20TH ANNUAL GREAT TASTE OF THE GROVE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, JANUARY 9 -10, 2010

The two-day food and music festival is taking place on Saturday, January 9th 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m, and Sunday, January 10th 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m with a live entertainment from well-known local artists, a kids zone area and an array of gastronomical offers provided by various area restaurants and available with the purchase of tickets ranging from $1 to $8. A portion of the proceeds from food tickets sales will benefit charitable community organizations. Admission for The Great Taste of the Grove is complimentary. Peacock Park, 2820 McFarlane Road, Coconut Grove, www.coconutgrovechamber.com .

 

EXECUTIVE CHEF GONZALO RIVERA LAUNCHES NEW MENU AT LA MAREA AT THE TIDES SOUTH BEACH

La Marea executive chef Gonzalo Rivera, a protégé of chef Michael Mina, is introducing new lunch and dinner menus for the indoor/outdoor La Marea and a bar menu for Coral Bar. The new menus echo Rivera’s heritage. “My Mexican roots definitely play a part in my food,” says Rivera, who served as executive chef of Mina’s Nemi Restaurant (2006-2009).

For dinner: Appetizers ($10-$18) include an Acapulco prawn “cocktail” in a savory cold tomato soup with chunks of Haas avocado, served with lavosh crackers; a basket of freshly-baked and grilled naan with a piquant chipotle hummus, tempura shrimp fritters; skewered tempura battered shrimp wrapped in bacon with yuzu-infused crème fraîche, and Australian wagyu beef sliders topped with fried onions. There’s a crudo ($15-$36) menu with fresh-from-the-sea dishes as well as salads ($14-$18). Pastas ($24-$28) and main plates ($32-$45) are generously portioned and there’s a slate of reasonably priced sides ($6) including sautéed spinach, grilled asparagus, sautéed broccolini, BBQ fries and sautéed wild mushrooms.

Lunch is a more casual affair with featured sandwiches ($15-$18) including falafel wrap with tahini smoked paprika sauce, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion and parsley, a daily “fishwich” served on brioche with Creole tartar sauce, pickles, and fried green tomatoes and the Tides Burger with Rivera’s BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, buttermilk aioli and pico de gallo.

Coral Bar’s fare is meant to be shared with selections such as calamari with a fish sauce vinaigrette, cilantro, garlic and almonds; crispy black grouper tacos with coleslaw, chipotle mayonnaise and salsa verde; and kobe skirt steak quesadillas with Monterey Jack cheese, guacamole, salsa fresca, and sour cream. Desserts ($10) include piping hot buñuelos with caramelized mango, tamarind coulis and house-made Mexican vanilla bean ice cream and caramelized banana tarte tartin with maple-sugar ice cream, among others.

La Marea is located at The Tides Hotel, 1220 Ocean Drive on Miami Beach, and is open for Breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily – 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.; noon to 5:00 p.m.; 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m (305) 604-5070. www.tidessouthbeach.com

 

FRIDAY SPECIALS AT ORTANIQUE ON THE MILES, CORAL GABLES

Chef Cindy Hudson is cooking up a storm with special dishes at special prices every Friday at Ortanique on the Mile. For Lunch, Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.- 2 courses for $20 or 3 for $25 - there’s jerk chicken with jamaican rice n peas and sautéed escarole and pan roasted mahi mahi with sautéed french beans and aromatic jasmine rice with a lime caper sauce, for $12; drink special includes a $5 LeBlon Caipirinha. During Happy Hour 5 - 7pm, she offers $4 off every drink and half price on Champagne Bottles. Dinner Monday through Wednesday from 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.: 3 courses for $36. 278 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, (305) 446-7710

 

MAYA TAPAS & GRILL REVAMPS LUNCH MENU AND LAUNCHES BRUNCH, LINCOLN ROAD, SOUTH BEACH

Maya Tapas & Grill is revamping its lunch menu and introducing brunch with daily specials as low as $4.95 for breakfast and $8.95 for lunch. Brunch includes classics from three-egg omelets to Chorizo Argentino Breakfast, Lox Breakfast, Maya Eggs Benedict and Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict. New lunch items include perennial favorites alongside fresh, new seasonal dishes such as Chorizo Argentino, Spicy Calamari Maya and Provoleta and several salads, pizzas, pastas and sandwiches

Maya Tapas & Grill is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 9am – 12 midnight. Every Monday through Wednesday is BYOB or 50% entire wine list. Locals enjoy 10 percent off the check with no blackout dates. 809 Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, 305.538.0058

 

EVERY WEDNESDAY BUDDHA JAZZ @ RED KOI THAI & SUSHI LOUNGE, CORAL GABLES

Beginning Wednesday, December 2, Buddha Jazz will feature live local jazz band performances every Wednesday night at Red Koi Thai & Sushi Lounge. Modeled in the refined style of Japanese minimalism, Buddha Jazz @ Red Koi will feature half off select bottles of sake and wine, as well as a special $1 sushi menu created by Sushi Master Chef Chris.

Red Koi Thai & Sushi Lounge opens for dinner at 5:00 p.m. Live music begins at 8:00 p.m. For dinner reservations, please call 305.446.2690. Red Koi Thai & Sushi Lounge, 317 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables. 305.446.2690. www.redkoilounge.com .

 

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To submit information and tips for this column, please e-mail to: editor@southfloridagourmet.com
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