The VeritageMiami Interactive Dinner – the festival’s signature event – is coming up on May 20 at the InterContinental Miami. We’re expecting a convivial crowd to gather with us for a fun night of cooking under the tutelage of not one but three guest chefs this year. Our idea is to bring back a trio of our favorite chefs from past events to celebrate bringing the event back to something approaching pre-pandemic normalcy all while making a strong gesture of philanthropy for United Way Miami and our community.
With this blog post and the next two, I’ll share some thoughts on our guest chefs and the dishes they plan to cook with us on May 20. This week, Giorgio Rapicavoli is in the spotlight. You may well know Giorgio from his time at Eating House in Coral Gables. That restaurant closed during the pandemic but is reopening very soon on Giralda’s pedestrian thoroughfare in Coral Gables, right next to Giorgio’s new restaurant Luca (named for his infant son). Those of you with really long memories may recall Giorgio was a very young chef at the opening of Chispa, the exciting Cuban-inspired restaurant in Coral Gables over a decade ago.
2022 actually marks Giorgio’s third appearance at the VeritageMiami Interactive Dinner. His first appearance on our stage was in 2014 when he was part of the “Gang of Five” local star chefs who headlined the dinner, joining José Mendin, Alberto Cabrera, Cesar Zapata and Todd Erickson (you can see the happy gang in the photo – that’s Giorgio second from the left and you can read the story of that crazy dinner on my VeritageMiami timeline). Giorgio was already legendary for having won the tough competition on the television program “Chopped,” and Eating House was widely considered one of the city’s best restaurants. Giorgio was back in February, 2020 to be the sole chef at our last Interactive Dinner before the pandemic shut everything down. His menu of a tuna and watermelon ceviche, “orzotto” – orzo pasta treated like rice for risotto – and braised beef short ribs, stands out in my memory as a meal that was both easy for guests to prepare and absolutely delicious.
As I’ve gotten to know Giorgio over the years, I’ve come to see that this is a hallmark of his sense of hospitality. While he can make very elevated dishes, his cooking is straightforward and satisfying at heart – his cooking is all about joy, passion and family. I couldn’t be happier to have him opening the festivities on May 20th with another of his signature dishes, lemon pasta. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it is simple, in the very best sense – a limited number of ingredients where each component shines comes together quickly at the table and will be a soul-satisfying start to the evening.
We’re featuring the very elegant Prosecco Zero at the reception before dinner and then we have a collection of wonderful wines to pair with Giorgio’s opener as well. For the entire meal, Republic National Distributing Corportion (RNDC) is arranging a terrific selection of wines including Luna Nuda Pinot Grigio to pair with Giorgio’s pasta. Bright lemon in the pasta, bright apple and lemon in the pinot grigio – it’s going to be terrific!
If you haven’t booked your seats yet, be sure to do so now – you can book right here on the VeritageMiami website. I look forward to seeing you there, and next week, I’ll tell you about chef Paula Dasilva’s middle course at dinner.