Dinner in Paradise: Under the Stars with the Stars of Miami

Paradise Farms, the organic farm in Homestead that provides most of the fresh baby greens, micro-greens, edible flowers, tropical fruits and oyster mushrooms to Miami’s top restaurants, opened it’s Dinner in Paradise season on a perfect cool and dry night this past Sunday January 11th.

Gabriele Marewski, now in her 15th year as owner and proprietor of Paradise Farms, is the passionate and knowledgeable host of the evening which begins at 5 pm with cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, includes an informative twilight farm tour and culminates under an open air gazebo decorated with twinkling lights for a 5 course dinner and wine pairing.

This kick off to the Dinner in Paradise season, which includes nine dinners that run thru April 26th, was a specially curated evening indeed, highlighting the talents of young entrepreneurial chefs,  Todd Erickson of HaVen and Hua Huas Taqueria, Giorgio Rapacavoli of Eating House, and Cesar Zapata of The Federal.

The wine pairings were selected by Shari Gherman, who is President, American Fine Wine Competition and included local Schnebly Winery Sparkling Passion Fruit wine, and whites and reds from Napa, Grand River Valley, Ohio and Rioja, Spain.

Gabriele, who proudly introduced each chef, spoke fondly of the new generation of chefs in Miami, and their passion not only for their craft but also for each other.   At MIAbites, we have been fortunate to see this wonderful collaboration and support among the chefs at many of the Miami area events and pop-ups  like the Miami Spice Mash-ups, Kitchen Collabs, Caja China at The Dutch, PIG 5 and on and on.   It is an uniquely Miami thing…this community feel among the chefs who dine at each others restaurants and then take to social media posting compliments and pictures.  

The true farm to table dinner itself was a creative play on ingredients, flavors and colors starting with Eating House's Chef Giorgio Rapacavoli’s “Black and Yellow”  golden beet tartare with burnt lemon, Lucini olive oil and Paradise Farms egg yolk.   Chef Giorgio circulated thru the dining area sharing that he likes to challenge the senses with the contradiction of burnt and cooked dishes. 

The second course, prepared by Chef Cesar Zapata, of The Federal, was a flavorful balance of crispy oyster mushrooms ( from the very cool Paradise Farms Mushroom House), sweet coal roasted platanos, and spicy jalapenos over queso fresco and topped with baby herbs. 

Chef Todd Erickson of HaVen and HuaHuas stepped to the plate ( literally )for the third course, a gutsy eggplant “parmesan” topped with roasted carrot marinara, herb whipped ricotta and a tomato marmalade.

Throughout the platings, all three chefs assisted each other in further proof of the fun and playful collaborative spirit.  A dozen Johnson & Wales culinary students also interned with the chefs as assistants and servers.

The fourth course was a true partnership as Chefs Cesar Zapata and Todd Erickson created a corn chowder chocked full of fruits de mer, Peruvian potato and fresh cut herbs.

The final dessert course was colorful and light and created by Chef Giorgio.  A creamy custard-like buttermilk “curd” enhanced with local passion fruit, lime, herbs, edible flowers and star fruit that Chef Giorgio had just picked.

As coffee service was set up, and the Paradise diners slowly began to leave, I strolled over to Gabriele to  thank her and remark how magical the farm and the evening felt for me.

As we chatted, a group of culinary students came up to Chef Cesar to ask him to sign the souvenir menus they were each holding.   Another new generation of Miami chefs in the making.  A fitting and very touching end to a memorable evening.

Paradise Farms hosts an additional eight dinners with full schedule of chefs listed and reservations online at www.paradisefarms.net.  Don't let the spring pass without a chance to visit and enjoy the talents of local chefs and the paradise that is Paradise Farms.

Paradise Farms

19801 SW 320th St

Homestead, FL 33030

305 248 4181