Executive Chef Maria Manso
|KEY WEST, Fla. – Pier House Resort & Spa, an adventurous haven presenting classic Key West charm with a storied past, proudly presents Maria Manso as the executive chef. Overseeing all food and beverage for multiple resort venues, Manso brings more than two decades of epicurean expertise to lead the resort’s waterfront dining restaurants, catering service and in-room dining.
“Chef Manso’s culinary pursuits have landed her in various kitchens across the world,” says Joe Dantoni, general manager Pier House Resort & Spa. “Not only does she bring a wealth of cultural experience to Pier House, but a passion for preparing traditional Key West fare with her own spin.”
As one of seven children in her household, Cuban-born Manso naturally developed the art of cooking at a young age. Officially beginning her career in 1983 as an oyster shucker in New Orleans, La., Manso was later mentored by Chef Dick Brennan, Jr., during the opening of his restaurant, Palace Café. With the urge to return to her Miami roots, Manso joined Norman Van Aken to open his first restaurant at the Betsy Ross Hotel on Ocean Drive as well as his next venture, Van Dome. In 1995 she was appointed sous chef of China Grill Miami before being promoted to executive chef. After completion of an extensive training program for the Morgans Hotel Group, Manso was named executive chef of Asia de Cuba of the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, Cali. She soon pursued her dreams of opening her own restaurant, “Maria Manso World Cuisine,” where she received critical acclaim for her creative cuisine, before ultimately returning to Miami where she lead the legendary Blue Door restaurant of The Delano South Beach.
Manso’s taste for adventure led her to Italy and Spain as a private chef, before finding her place in Key West at Bagatelle. Chef aims to provide a flavorful dining experience utilizing the freshest island tastes and local ingredients at HarbourView Café and Beach Bar and Grille.
“I’ve found my home in Key West, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than introducing diners to new dishes,” comments Chef Maria Manso, Pier House Resort & Spa. “Pier House has created such a loyal following with their guests, and I look forward to applying that same level of service and inspired cuisine throughout our restaurants.”
Situated in a prime location on the resort, HarbourView Café provides breathtaking views of both the Gulf of Mexico and the resort’s private, white sand beach. Guests enjoy open-air dining on the deck or opt for the indoor dining room to savor breakfast, lunch or dinner. Beach Bar and Grille presents a low-key dining spot for visitors to enjoy a tropical drink or a bite to eat when beachfront activities work up an appetite.
An adventurous haven presenting genuine guest service and classic Key West charm with a storied past, Pier House Resort & Spa has been a Florida Keys’ icon for nearly 40 years. Offering 119 guest rooms and 23 suites, an award-winning spa, waterfront dining options and event and meeting space, the resort boasts a private, white sand beach, lush tropical gardens, stunning views and the legendary Chart Room. Known as the birthplace of Jimmy Buffett’s career, the quaint watering hole holds the key to countless Key West tales and memories.
|Philip Greene is an attorney, writer and cocktail historian. He is Trademark and Internet Counsel to the U.S. Marine Corps, based at the Pentagon. He is also one of the founder of, and legal counsel to, the Museum of the American Cocktail, based in New Orleans. Phil manages the Museum’s robust D.C. monthly cocktail seminar program, and also does cocktail presentations around the world, notably in Vancouver, San Francisco, New Orleans, Miami, Key West, New York, Tampa, and Wellington, New Zealand. He has presented seminars at industry-leading events such as Tales of the Cocktail, the Miami Rum Renaissance, Manhattan Cocktail Classic, the Polished Palate’s International Rum Festival, and others. In particular, Phil is an authority on the drinks of Ernest Hemingway, and has presented on this topic before the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., at the Hemingway Home in Key West, and in New Orleans. His book, To Have and Have Another – A Hemingway Cocktail Companion, was published by Penguin Press in November, 2012, and has received critical acclaim from The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, Garden & Gun, HuffingtonPost.com, and many others.Phil is also a Brand Ambassador and consultant for the Hemingway Rum Co., and their new line of rums under the Papa’s Pilar brand. He has also served as a Brand Ambassador for Domaine de Canton French Ginger Liqueur, and offers consulting services for the bar and restaurant trade.In his legal career, in 2007, Phil held the position of InternetNZ Senior Research Fellow in Cyberlaw, during which he taught Internet and intellectual property law at Victoria University School of Law in Wellington, New Zealand. In that capacity, he also wrote and published two major papers and engaged in numerous public speaking engagements and radio and press interviews.He lives in Washington, D.C., where he lives with his wife and three daughters.
|The Front Porch Café, South Beach’s “Home Away From Home” is pleased to announce the appointment of Todd Webster as the new Executive Chef. Chef Todd has implemented a new menu and will lead the culinary team through the restaurant’s upcoming renovations and re-launch.
A Florida native, Chef Todd brings more than a decade of experience and passion for food to his new role. He was trained in classical French cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu in Miramar, Florida where he obtained an Associate’s Degree in Culinary Arts. While attending school, he worked fulltime at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Miami Design District. A few years later while he was a Sous Chef under Chef de Cuisine Bradley Herron, he decided to return to Le Cordon Bleu to earn his Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management.
“I am very excited to be a part of The Front Porch Café. I want this restaurant to be a place where guests can come with their family and friends to relax and enjoy a great meal any day of the week knowing that they will get consistently great food and service,” said Chef Todd.
Chef Todd’s vision for The Front Porch Café is to embrace the ideals that he has come to know, respect, and love under Chef Michael Schwartz; eating locally and sustainably. His new menu features fresh local seafood, locally farmed fruits and vegetables, as well as responsibly farmed meat. He designed a menu that honors South Florida’s unique flavors while capturing the essence of world cuisine. Chef Todd’s concept affords Front Porch Café patrons the opportunity to sample multiple international culinary delights on a consistently changing menu.
The Front Porch Café is pleased to have Todd Webster on board as they embark on their 22nd year of business.
The Front Porch Cafe
Since 1990, The Front Porch Café has delivered your neighborhood “home away from home” dining experience right in the heart of South Beach to local residents and tourists alike. Our commitment is to always serve fresh food in generous portions at a reasonable price, making us as the “Best Value on South Beach” (Miami New Times). We shop daily for the best available ingredients and use organic products where it is most feasible.
We offer South Florida’s #1 Breakfast Spot all day and night, a tasty and affordable lunch menu, Happy Hour specials both inside our restaurant and breezeway bar – located at the lobby of the ultra-chic Z Hotel – and the only restaurant in South Beach with fine southern comfort dining.
Want something sweet? Try our delectable selection of 5-star Avant Garde cakes and sweets by former Ritz Carlton Executive Pastry Chef, Stuart Whalan.
Front Porch Café offers all the right ambiences for your style: Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two or drinks by the poolside, (only hotel guests) watching passerby in our outdoor terrace, or hosting your next business or personal reception inside our restaurant or private banquet room
Norman Van Aken
|Legendary chef Norman Van Aken is known internationally as “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavor and is also known for introducing the concept of “fusion” to the culinary world in a symposium on American cooking in Santa Fe in 1988.He is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage.” He is also a recipient of the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef in the Southeast honors.The New York Times deemed his fine dining restaurant, “NORMAN’S”, “the Best Restaurant in Florida and Norman Van Aken its best Chef.” Similarly, the Beard Foundation nominated “NORMAN’S” as “The Best Restaurant in America.” Chef Van Aken has been hailed as a “culinary genius” by Johnson and Wales University and awarded an honorary doctorate. He is on the Culinary Institute of America’s “Latin Cuisine’s International Advisory Council”.In 2006, he was honored as one of the “Founders of the New American Cuisine,” alongside Alice Waters, Paul Prudhomme, and Mark Miller at Spain’s International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusion event.Chef Van Aken oversees his highly acclaimed restaurant “NORMAN’S” at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando, and he is on the Chefs Council for the brand new Miami Culinary Institute.Chef Norman Van Aken has published four books: Feast of Sunlight 1988, The Exotic Fruit Book 1995, Norman’s New World Cuisine 1997, and New World Kitchen 2003.~~~ “Norman Van Aken is the Walt Whitman of American Cuisine” — Charlie Trotter|
|Cindy Hutson is a self-taughtchef who developed apassion for cooking at the age of nine.Inspired and amused by the“Original” television culinary geniusof the “Galloping Gourmet” and “Chef Tell”, she would emulate theircreations on Saturday afternoons.In her teen years she was exposedto Italian and Portuguese cuisinethrough her best friends father, asuccessful restauranteur from New Jersey.After leaving New Jerseyto head for the sunny skies of Miami,she honed her skills as a sportfishing captain and mate on a 36foot Bertram Yacht. It was overthose years of fishing, she procureda touch for handling and preparingmany ocean delicacies.Taking time out from fishing in 1985,Hutson married Jamaican born,Charles Hutson. Together theyopened Blue Mountain Imports,a Jamaican coffee and condimentimport / export company.During hertravels back and forth from the BlueMountains and beautifulJamaican coastline, Hutsonbegan cooking Island cuisine.She relished in the highly aromaticherbs and spices that grew in themountains, bringing them down toprepare fresh caught Parrotfish fromthe North Coast reefs. Her Islandhopping included the Bahamas,Barbados, Martinique, The VirginIslands, Mexico and more. Withevery island stop she learnedsomething about that islandshistory and cuisine.In late 1993 Hutson met newpartner, Delius Shirley.It was Shirleywho convinced her to go into therestaurant business with him. InNovember 1994 they opened“Norma’s on the Beach”. “Norma’son the Beach” was touted as “thebest Caribbean restaurant in SouthFlorida” by publications such asUSA Today, New York Times,London Times, Chicago Tribune,and Ocean Drive magazines. In1996 they were awarded thecoveted “5 Star Diamond Award”for the fabulous dining at Norma’son the Beach.In 1996 Mr. Robert Johnson, ownerof Black Entertainment Television,dined at “Norma’s on the Beach”.Johnson too, was impressed withthe restaurant, the menu, and theexecution of tasty island cuisine.Shortly after, he hired Hutson &Shirley, to consult on two newrestaurant concepts “BET onJazz” in Washington D.C. and“Soundstage” in Disney World.It was Johnson who financiallybacked Hutson’s new “Cuisine ofthe Sun” at “Ortanique” Coral Gables.The upscale Coral Gableslocation was her new home, openingin July 1999. Hutson flourished inher larger surroundings (120 seats)delving into South American, Asian,Caribbean, and American Fusioncuisine. Famed critic John Mariani,awarded “Best New Restaurant 1999” Esquire Magazine,“Exceptional” Miami Herald, “Top 20Restaurants” from Florida Trend,“Best New Restaurant” Bon Apetit,“Americas Top Tables” GourmetMagazine, Mobil “4 Star Award 2001– 2002”, “Top Ten Best List” ZagatSurvey 2002 – 2003, Wine Spectator“Award of Excellence” 2002, 2003and the list goes on.In 2005-2006Ortanique received Five StarDiamond Awards consecutively,Zagats Extraordinary rating, “TopFemale Chef of Las Vegas” byAmerican Chefs Association,and continued to receive WineSpectators Award of Excellence.Hutson did not stop there, She andpartner Delius Shirley opened twoother concepts, “Copra” Baltimore,MD and “Bogwalk” Destin FL. Atthe present they have held ontoOrtanique Miami freeing her to doGuest Chef appearances, teaching,and consulting.When asked “are you spreadingyourself too thin?” Hutson reply’s“This culinary travel is what I thriveon teaching other chef hopefuls aboutour earth’s bounties and ediblehistory. Their indigenous ingredientsregionally prepared. What morecould an artist ask for?|
Howie Kleinberg, Chef, Bravo TV's Top Chef Star
|Known for his star turn on Bravo network’s Miami season of Top Chef, Howie Kleinberg, nicknamed “bulldog” for his take no prisoners competitive streak – is the star-chef-in-the-making behind Bulldog BBQ in North Miami. Formally of South Florida’s Food Gang and Ivy restaurants, with Bulldog BBQ Kleinberg 34, has the perfect showcase for his larger-than-life personality and unbeatable barbecue. “Bulldog BBQ will be about simple food made right,” says Kleinberg. “There is an art to great barbecue, but you definitely have to start with the right ingredients. Saucing and spicing is important, but having the best ingredients available on the market is key.” Highlighting hearty stick to your ribs fare, offerings will run the gamut from traditional favorites – ribs, brisket, pulled pork – as well as an array of sides, all with Kleinberg’s artful touch, informed by stints with renowned chef s Mark Militello, Michael Reidt, and a recent stage with renowned chef Alfred Portale. Vegetarians don’t fret; Kleinberg promises an array of selections sure to please even the most finicky palette.Located on Biscayne Boulevard in North Miami, Bulldog Barbecue is a no frills barbecue joint boasting treats so tasty your glands will salivate, all cooked up by our celebrity chef/owner Howie “Bulldog” Kleinberg. Acquired during his stint on Top Chef Miami where his bold – to put it nicely – attitude earned him the nickname, the Bulldog namesake stuck, and our restaurant concept was born. Our star Bulldog fell hard for barbecue after spending summers in North Carolina as a pup. He now enhances the down-to-earth fare with a few of the hautey tautey cooking techniques and ingredients he picked up cooking alongside some the nation’s best chefs. After the Top Chef competition, Howie set his mind to pursue his culinary dream. In February 2009, just under two years later, we opened our doors and have been smokin’ ever since.At Bulldog Barbecue, we may not adorn our tables with flowers or dress our servers in ties, but we get serious: serious about plating up the best North Carolina-style ‘cue you’ve tasted this far south, serious about having a great selection of gulps, including lemonade made to order, root beer floats and ice cream sodas, beers, wines by the glass and Champagne cocktails, and serious about providing fast, friendly service. No white tablecloths here, you’ll sit at the butcher paper-covered tables or the stainless steel bar and pull from a roll of paper towels to wipe the sauce from your face. We insist you come as you are, dig in deep and stay as long as you like… as long as you leave happy and come back with friends, our dogs will remain tame.|
Aga and James Hilferty
|Festival’s Founders, Aga and James Hilferty are both certified sommeliers with the Court of Master Sommeliers. Their passion for mixology is supported by a professional bartending certification with the ABC Bartending School. They teach in an entertaining and exciting fashion about wine through seminars across the country to both professionals and leisure wine lovers. A cult-like following has been the whispered status of their wine dinners with Hyatt’s famed executive chef, Greg Lopez of the SHOR restaurant. They are the founders of the wine program at the Florida Keys Community College, “Tasting the Sun: Wines Around the World”. Aga and James look forward to their first Bacchanalia as they have always wanted to be part of the Bacchae of ancient Roman times.Both are accomplished food and wine writers and publishers for South Florida magazines like the Key West Pocket Guide and Miami Love Wine & Food Magazine. Aga and James worked with Chefs and industry experts like Cat Cora, Emeril Lagasse, Tom Colicchio, John Besh, Anthony Bourdain, Tony Abou-Ganim, Michael Green, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri among many others.Their passions include frequent travels to vineyards around the world, in particular in Galicia, Castilla y Leon, Jerez, Loire Valley and everything in Portugal since they love drinking Port at any time of day – sometimes at breakfast! After meeting almost a decade ago at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in New York City, they decided after a year of planning to put their big and beautiful calico Maine Coon, Kukielka, in their car and drive 35 hours to Key West to start a magazine. When Aga and James are not giving seminars or writing, they live with their cats sharing time between Key West and Miami. They believe in the ethical treatment of all animals; before we can elevate ourselves, we must humanely defend those who cannot protect themselves. We wish everyone peace, love and transcendence through laughter, wine and a smiling black cat.|
Junior Merino, Master Mixologist
|It is no surprise master mixologist Junior Merino has built his career on fusing exotic, unexpected flavors: He grew up in the culinary melting-pot of Central Mexico. Beginning when Junior was just 10, his food-loving parents taught him to cook with local produce ranging from indigenous cocoa beans, to pomegranates native to the Middle East, to cilantro, which has Mediterranean roots. Despite all these foods’ varied origins, Junior saw that in combination, they created harmony-planting in him an early passion for culinary mestizaje-or blending diverse flavors. It’s a technique that’s helped Junior rise quickly in his fiel-along with his intense work ethic.After immigrating to the United States at age 16, Junior rapidly progressed from busboy to bartender, and eventually to beverage manager at Roth’s Westside Steakhouse in New York—all while attending high school and studying English and graphic design. At Roth’s, the wine list Junior put together—his first ever—won an award of excellence from Wine Spectator. Within months, Junior was initiated into the Court of Master Sommeliers’ Guild of Sommeliers. Experiments with creating his own cocktails while at Roth’s spurred Junior to enter the International Bar Show’s best cocktail competition in 2005—where he won first prize for his drink, “Coming Up Roses”.Since then, Junior has created signature cocktails for dozens of restaurants and bars across the world, including New York’s Rayuela, Cafe Frida, 42 (located in the Ritz Carlton, White Plains, NY), Rix (located in Coronado Springs Resort, Walt Disney World, FL) and the Modern; Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple show; Tokyo’s ANA Hotel; and Mexico City’s famed Izote restaurant, among many others. He has also created unique cocktails for numerous liquor companiesincluding Leblon Cachaça and G’vine Gin. Due to his well-known creativity, Junior has won a “Rising Star” award from Star Chefs and a special recognition from Mexico’s government for his knowledge of Mexican ingredients. He was also named Imbiber.com’s Bartender of the Month, and was one of five winners in the international Sherry Cocktail Competition.Junior also holds advanced certifications in cognac and tequila expertise, and continues to study the various types of spirits for his upcoming book, to be released by early 2009.Always eager to share his extensive knowledge of spirits and ingredients, Junior has been featured in Gourmet, Marie Claire, Time Out, Latina, the New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, and New York Magazine, among many others, and has appeared on BBC Radio and Televisa. He’s currently working on a new show called “The Liquid Chef,” and a book.|
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist
|Tony Abou-Ganim Tony’s is the author of “The Modern Mixologist, Contemporary Classic Cocktails.” This in-depth look into Tony’s take on modern day cocktails, featuring spirits and ingredients available to today’s Mixologist, both professional and amateur alike but not forsaking classic traditions and techniques. This entertaining and informative journey will take you from the early beginning’s of the cocktail to what Tony has come to deem “Modern Mixology!”Additionally, Tony won the 2007 Iron Chef America competition with Mario Batali, “Battle Mango” and released his first DVD “Modern Mixology: Making Great Cocktails at Home” (February 2007). Most notably featured demonstrating the art of cocktail preparation on the Fine Living Network program “Raising the Bar: America’s Best Bar Chefs,” grew up in the bar business, learning the craft from his cousin Helen David at the Brass Rail Bar in Port Huron, Michigan. Tony’s initial introduction to the business was steeped in the tradition of classic cocktails and professional barmanship, grooming him to become a leader in the beverage industry.After graduating from college, Tony learned an appreciation for a well made cocktail using only the freshest ingredients at Jack Slick’s Balboa Café in San Francisco. In 1990, Tony assisted with the opening of “Harry Denton’s”, a legendary hangout in Fog City. In 1993, Tony moved to New York City where he worked with Mario Batali at Po in the West Village. In 1995, Tony returned to San Francisco and re-joined Harry Denton to open “Harry Denton’s Starlight Room”, atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. It was here that Tony created his first “Specialty Drink Menu” featuring several of his original cocktail recipes including the Cable Car, Sunsplash, and Starlight.In 1998, Tony was hand-picked by Steve Wynn to create the cocktail program at his Bellagio Resort. Tony immediately implemented his philosophy of bartending and drink preparation – quality ingredients and proper technique create great drinks – developing the hundreds of original cocktails for the resorts 22 bars. Currently, Tony operates his own beverage consulting firm specializing in bar staff training, product education and cocktail development.As the National Ambassador of the US Bartenders Guild, www.usbg.org, and Associate Member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, www.museumoftheamericancocktail.org, Tony continues to educate about the history and lore of cocktails as well as lead the bar industry into continually improving the art of the cocktail. Tony lives in Las Vegas where he hones his craft daily by creating, sharing and enjoying the very best cocktails.|
Mark Drobiarz, the Mad Mixologist, ABC Bartending School Director
|Bio – coming soon|
Eric had been Rum Ambassador for the program Rums of Puerto Rico for 10 years. He has served as Bar Manager at the Ritz Carlton San Juan Hotel Spa & Casino for 9 years and has 15 years of experience in the food & beverage industry. He was also Bacardi Showtenders trainee competition 1st place winner in 2000. Eric was named Bartender of the Year at Chili’s for 3 years in a row and a 5-star employee at the Ritz Carlton. Eric has trained as a Puerto Rico Super-Host by the Puerto Rico tourism hotel association, he was also flair-trained at Showtenders in Orlando, Florida and is the Mixologist of the San Juan Hotels School. Eric has earned a Bachelor Degree in Business Management from the University of Puerto Rico and currently studies Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico. Eric Morales has earned the title of Star Mixologist and continues to make great accomplishments within the industry while shaking the best rum in the world with Puerto Rican Pride.
Ahmed Naveira, Master Mixologist
|Ahmed Naveira was born in Humacao, Puerto Rico. He started working with Rums of Puerto Rico since 1999.His field as a Brand Ambassador has led him to become one of the leading mixologists of rum in Puerto Rico, a famed bartender. He is a Rum Seminar Speaker, Teaching instructor (History of Rum in PR., Working Flair, Showmanship, Molecular Mixology, Self Improvement and Creativity) at Bartender Schools, Hotels and Restaurants. His job is to educate the business and hospitality industry in order to maximize bar productivity and staff performance.He also has his own Company; Z&N Bartenders Group Inc., which offers services in the areas of: cooking on the grill on premises and waiter services for all types of events.He has participated in important events including: Tales of the Cocktails, Taste of Tennis, New York’s Bar Show, National Harbor Food & Wine, South Beach Food & Wine, Iron Fork Miami, Rum Renaissance, Saborea PR., Taste of Rums and just recently James Beard Awards, among others. For eleven years now, he’s been networking and cultivating important contacts in the culinary world in Puerto Rico and the United States.Ahmed Naveira is among the most informed and engaging voices on the quality and variety of rum in Puerto Rico. He has a knowledge of history and a mastery of a technique and tradition that reveals in his cocktail’s recipes, in the tasting and distillation of his premium spirit that make him a peerless expert on how best to enjoy Puerto Rican Rum.|