Chosen for their delicious, diverse, and sustainable cooking and culinary performance, these Florida-based chefs were given the chance to showcase their crafts to big apple diners with invitations to cook at the coveted James Beard House. Read on to hear more about our favorite dishes they whipped up at the house and why these rising culinary stars shine brightest.
Hidden on a swanky street in Miami's hottest neighborhood, this new favorite, KYU, is taking Miami by storm due to culinary master, Chef Michael Lewis. Flirting with wood fired dishes inspired by spicy Asian ingredients, he quickly made a names for himself as the go-to chef in Wynwood. And at the James Beard House this summer, he performed with no less vibrancy, passion, and talent. Diners munched on Korean fried chicken with red chile butter, roasted cauliflower with goat cheese and shishito-herb vinaigrette, and spicy hamachi tartare with crispy rice. 251 NW 25th St., 786-577-0150
Lending homage to South Florida’s bounty of fresh fish and seafood, Chef Gavin Pera’s part restaurant, part market, and part prohibition bar travelled up north this fall to get chopping in a new house—the James Beard House. Giving big apple diners a taste of local Florida waters, Chef Gavin Pera whipped up a menu showcasing the best cuisine the Sunshine State has to offer. Between cured marlin with pickled radishes, peppers, and dungeness crab and lobster ravioli with quail egg, serranos, mushrooms, and beurre rouge, James Beard House eaters were floating on a cloud all night. Ritz Carlton, 1 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, 954-302-6460
Miami Beach is going Italian. From fried polenta with ragù to tomato–parmigiano-reggiano cappuccinos, this powerhouse duo is transporting diners straight to Northern Italy—where grandma knows best. Chef Giancarlo “Wendy” Cacciatori takes traditional family recipes to a whole new level, elevating old style dishes with innovation and exceptional plating. But just because this couple is in the Magic City doesn’t mean grandma isn’t still watching. So at the Beard House Dinner, they showed Nonna respect and gave eaters a taste of her authentic cooking and homemade pasta. 1120 15th St., 786-418-3215
With locally sourced ingredients handpicked from Florida farms and tropical fish flown from the coasts of Japan, expect Chef Alex Becker to take you on a culinary adventure at this new-style Japanese eatery. With one Beard House dinner under his belt, it’s no surprise that his second was a packed house. Serving up madai sashimi with persimmon, negi, nori, wasabi-lime gelée, ginger soy gelée, and smoke and black sesame mochi with kabocha cremeux and pumpkin seeds for dessert, Chef Alex Becker had guests swooning over his decadent cuisine. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Fort Lauderdale, 954-327-7625
Hailing from Salerno, it’s needless to say that this Italian-born chef has a passion for the old country. Using the finest ingredients hand selected at season’s peak, and making everything from scratch, Chef Angelo Elia brings tradition and refinery to his rustic menu at his South Florida outpost, Casa D’Angelo. And at the elegant Beard House dinner, it was easy to see how he’s been charming diners with decadent masterpieces for 20 years. Feeding guests a bowl of cappelletti pasta with capon broth, parmigiano-reggiano, and parsley along with braised wagyu beef short ribs with red wine, tomato, and vegetable ragout with scalloped rosemary, asiago, and potato gratin, Chef Angelo Elia sparkled his eaters with his decadent Tuscan cuisine. 1201 N. Federal Hwy, Fort Lauderdale, 954-564-1234