Macy’s Culinary Council Chef Michelle Bernstein is an award-winning restauranteur, author and master chef. Recently, she demonstrated how to prepare some of her favorite dishes at Macy’s at Boca Town Center just in time for fall entertaining.
Guests of the event had the opportunity to meet with Chef Bernstein and receive a signed copy of her cookbook Cuisine a Latina. Chef told us that her favorite recipe in her book is the chicken thighs with pizza spices. Sounds interesting! By the way – she has an idea for a new cookbook! Based on what we learned about Michelle in our interview, we have a feeling that her new book will be a health focused one. In fact, she tells us that part of her goal for the upcoming year is to get herself healthier.
Holli Lapes RD, LD/N and Chef Michelle Bernstein
Wellness RD: What is your favorite restaurant here in Palm Beach County?
Chef Bernstein: THE REGIONAL Kitchen & Public House has quickly become a favorite of mine. It is the restaurant of dear friend Lindsay Autry, I recently attended the grand opening. Also, I love staying at the hotel where Daniel Boulud has his restaurant, mostly so I can eat at his restaurant! Palm beach Country is a great place to have a stay-cation… to get away, but not too far! There are some great steakhouses here too, including Abe & Louie’s.
Wellness RD: How did it feel when you won the James Beard Award in 2008?
Chef Bernstein: It was surprising, I felt lucky, and was kind of in amazement. It took a while to actually believe it. Two years prior, I had been nominated and my whole family came up to NY with me to hopefully watch me receive the award. I was also cooking that year at the James Beard House and it was very hectic. When they didn’t call my name, my family was sad and didn’t come back with me next time. When I won, I remember calling my mother from the restroom while crying… it was a pretty awesome feeling. It was a first for any women in South Florida (to win the award)! We don’t have enough James beard winners here, although many nominations.
Wellness RD: What is your favorite nutritious meal? Also, I just wanted to let you know I appreciate your involvement in the community with organizations such as Common Threads.
Chef Bernstein: Thank you. The Mediterranean Diet is the way to go. I work for Memorial Hospital Systems and everything we do for chemo patients is all Mediterranean oriented. At Memorial, they use all my recipes. Everything I’ll be cooking in tonight’s demo, except for the dessert, is nutritious. I’m be using ingredients like cauliflower, pumpkin, honey, lime, spices, salmon, herbs, tomato, EVOO and grapeseed oil. It’s the way that I eat at home. My biggest problem (although I eat healthy) is that I don’t know how to keep my mouth shut… maybe I eat too much healthy food. I eat as I cook, so sometimes I don’t realize how much I’ve eaten.
Wellness RD: Yes, moderation is key! One last question for you, will you have a pop-up during Miami’s Art Basel this year?
Chef Bernstein: Yes, I am the official caterer of Art Basel again this year with my “crumb pop-up” which will make an appearance at the Miami Botanical Garden again. I’m going totally Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and European style this year!
Roasted Cauliflower and Pumpkin with Honey, Lime, Crispy Capers, Raisins
Salmon with Couscous and Lemon Vinaigrette
Michelle ends on a sweet note with a final tasting of fried bananas with coconut flakes.
Some fun-facts we learned about Michelle during the demo:
By age 9 she knew how to make braised oxtail.
Favorite olive oil: l’estornell olive oil.
Favorite healthier alternative to pasta: Jerusalem artichoke pasta.
She sneaks quinoa in everything (like in mac and cheese) for her son.
Her restaurant Crumb On Parchment is located in Miami’s Design District. If you go, she say’s that her newly introduced chicken sandwich is a must have! Also, don’t miss out on a classic done right: the chocolate chip cookie.
Holli Lapes, RD, LD/N is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist in South Florida. Holli is the founder of The South Florida Sage (http://thesoflasage.com/) a food & drink blog featuring culinary experiences from the Miami, Broward and Palm Beach area.
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All images appearing in this post photographed by Holli Lapes, property of My Wellness RD, LLC
Disclaimer: I attended this event at no cost.