VeritageMiami, the annual culinary event, is back celebrating its 21st anniversary with a whirlwind of buzzy events starring some of the top toques in town. Presented by City National Bank, VeritageMiami draws in chefs including Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford and John Kunkel to lead can't-miss experiences to benefit United Way of Miami-Dade. But before the highly anticipated fest kicks off on January 27, we caught up with four participating chefs to find out why they love being a part of VeritageMiami, and what they're planning to cook this year.
Jeremy Ford: Bravo's Top Chef Season 13 Winner & Chef de Cuisine at The Miami Beach EDITION'S Matador Room by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
The Event: VeritageMiami’s Interactive Dinner at JW Marriott Marquis Miami on Friday, January 27. As one of the crown jewels of events during VeritageMiami, this dinner will invite over 700 guests to put on their cooking aprons and toques in preparation for an unforgettable three-course culinary journey, which will be directed by chef Jeremy Ford. Why He's Excited for VeritageMiami: "VeritageMiami is such a well-respected event around town, and it is a true honor to headline their Friday night Interactive Dinner. There are so many key players that help bring this event to fruition each year, and I’m excited to be part of something that includes such a great lineup of forward-thinking chefs. While great food and drink are the spotlight, at the core, the focus is about charity. Anything I can do to help bring awareness to United Way and all they do for our community is really what excites me most." What He's Cooking: "I’m looking to give guests that are attending the Interactive Dinner a taste of the Matador Room at The Miami Beach EDITION. So if you haven’t been to the restaurant, this is a great opportunity to not only taste, but prepare your own version of what our menu has to offer!"
Jose Hernandez: Chef & Owner at Tio Colo’s
The Event: Craft Beer Tasting at Wynwood Walls on Thursday, February 9. Explore over 140 craft beers and micro brews paired with delicious bites from two dozen eateries around South Florida at this walk-around event. Why He's Excited for VeritageMiami: "We’ve always been a restaurant for the people. My mom started making my grandfather’s original ice cream sandwich recipe back in Cuba, in 1994—they would bring everyone in our town together, they loved them! When we heard about VeritageMiami, we knew this would be the way to have that same impact and give back to the community. We’re also excited because this is our first time branching out of Hialeah and participating in a community food festival." What He's Cooking: "We want guests to experience our tropical ice cream flavors, mixed in with something fresh and exciting, so we will be serving our newest ice cream sandwich recipe, Guava Cheesecake! Made with our traditional sugar-coated sponge cake outer layer and guava ice cream combined with cream cheese and Maria Cookies. Can’t wait to see what everyone thinks of Tio Colo’s ice cream sandwiches!"
Giorgio Rapicavoli: Chef & Partner at Glass & Vine
The Event: Fine Wine Tasting at Shops at Merrick Park on Wednesday, March 15. Attendees will be introduced to over 400 wines from all around the globe, which will be paired with the cooking of South Florida chefs. Why He's Excited for VeritageMiami: "I always enjoy being a part of VeritageMiami. United Way has been part of our lives since our youth, so it’s important to give back." What He's Cooking: "At the Fine Wine Tasting, we will be serving our fish tartare with local fish, aguachile with carrot, passion fruit, and lime."
John Kunkel: Founder of 50 Eggs Inc.
The Event: Auction and Bubbly Brunch at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne on Sunday, March 26. The king of southern fare himself will lead his group of James Beard-nominated and award-winning restos—Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Swine Southern Table & Bar, and the newly opened Spring Chicken—for this exciting new event. Why He's Excited for VeritageMiami: "A Yardbird brunch with 500 of our closest friends at The Ritz-Carlton to benefit one of our favorite organizations. What’s not to be excited about?!" What He's Cooking: "It will be a menu full of our southern classics—what brunch wouldn't be complete without Yardbird's famous Chicken n' Watermelon n' Waffles?! Aside from the bubbles, which will be served during the Champagne Perrier Jouët Reception, we’ll also feature three bourbon cocktails that emphasize the southern heritage of the dishes being served."