You are the founder of Miami Culinary Tours?
Yes my name is Grace Della.
Where were you born and raised?
Buenos Aires, Argentina
You have been a resident of Miami since which year?
What year did you launch this business/company?
How many years of experience do you have in the culinary field?
Over 10 years of experience.
Who inspired you to start such a business and to offer culinary tours?
My mother was a huge inspiration to me. Her passion for cooking, love of people and her skills as an educator gave me the idea to start a food tour that she could run in her own home town. I remembered as a little girl that the happiest times at home were when my mom would cook, family would come around and everyone would share stories around the table. I decided to bring this idea into my own life and I came up with the idea of Miami Culinary Tour’s first tour called the Cuban-Inspired Food Tour back when nobody had ever heard of food tours in Miami. I was lucky to have some of the most passionate people joining my team and believed in my idea.
Could you describe Miami Culinary Tours in two sentences?
Miami Culinary Tours is a company filled with passion and good taste dedicated to introducing great food to foodies from all over. We want to offer a whole experience because food just isn’t about taste but context, so we incorporate history and architecture on our guided tours.
What is your title and role in the company? (Ethnic dining expert?)
I select the dishes and restaurants to be featured at the tours together with my team. I do all logistics for private tours plus all operations. My background is in online marketing and therefore I use those skills to promote our foodie tours online.
How many culinary guides assist you, and what tasks do they perform?
We have a total of 4 guides and they are responsible for our guests experience. They lead the tour while telling the story of Miami and the different cuisines the guests will experience. Our tour guides are responsible for checking in with the restaurants prior to the tour and keeping in contact with them as the tour goes on to make sure everything is ready and on time for our guests.
Can you offer a brief description of their experience, cultural background and/or experience in tourism and gastronomy?
Our tour guides come from a variety of backgrounds covering all corners of the U.S but they all have one thing in common: they love food! We hire tour guides with plenty of experience in guiding tours as well as a love of food and an expansive knowledge of Miami. Some of our tour guides come from a multicultural background while others are homegrown. They have to be amicable, pleasant individuals with street smarts, tact and a great sense of humor.
You are a team of how many individuals in total?
Is Miami Culinary Tours the only culinary tour company in South Florida?
No there are other food tour companies operating in South Florida including tours offered in Fort Lauderdale and Key West.
On which TV shows or channels have you appeared or been featured?
Yes we have been featured on Travel Channel, the Food Network filmed a segment that will be featured soon, and most of all the local channels. We have also been featured on European TV.
What types of tours do you offer (i.e. private food tours)?
We offer the South Beach food tour, the Little Havana food tour, the Cuban-inspired food tour, the Miami City food tour and tours customized based on client’s request.
In which neighborhoods does the tour operate?
Currently we have tours operating our of South Beach and Little Havana. We are planning on creating another food tour that will go through the Wynwood Design district.
How many restaurants do you stop at during the food tour?
Our tours consist of 7-8 stops.
Is each restaurant ethnically diverse from the others?
We try to incorporate as many different dishes as we can to really delve into the melting pot that we have in Miami. Of course there is a strong Latin American influence here so many of our stops are representative of this but our stops range from Israeli sweets, to Italian pasta, to Cuban coffee, Colombian empanadas and Peruvian tiradito.
Do the restaurants where you stop differ in each food tour?
We have carefully chosen each stop on our tour to ensure the quality of the food and the experience, however, occasionally we add a stop or change it up to keep guests palates intrigued and to continue our promise to great food that is representative of Miami culture.
What are some of the exotic dishes that guests will enjoy?
Patacon: is served at Bolivar which is a great treat: shredded chicken perched upon a crispy fried and flattened plantain served with a spicy Colombian sauce made with jalapeño peppers.
Tiradito: at the Angler’s is mouthwatering. Similar to ceviche Tiradito is cured fish that has been soaking in a variety of citrus juices giving it a tangy flavor. Tiradito is different from ceviche because of the way it is cut. Ceviche is made with chunks of fish whereas tiradito is made by thinly slicing the fish, the way they make sashimi.
Raspberry Rugalah: is a sweet treat when our guests stop at Jerry’s. Rugalah is a Jewish pastry that is beautiful to look at because it is rolled up giving the pastry a swirl of golden dough and bright fruit filling.
Can you explain how you are more than simply a food tour but also an architectural, historical, cultural and culinary tour?
We cater to foodies and foodies know that food is not just about the taste. Every dish has a story, a history and an evolution that they want to know. At each stop our guides teach guests about what they are going to eat and the restaurant they are at. Beyond food though we want this tour to be a true representation of Miami so we include stops in which we talk about the history and architecture that makes Miami so unique. We are a culturally diverse and influenced city and if we didn’t touch upon that than we wouldn’t really be a “Miami” tour.
What is the duration of the tour?
Tours run for two and a half hours.
What is the maximum number of guests that the tour can accommodate?
In which language is the tour conducted?
Tours are conducted in English but if guests wish they can hire a translator.
Does your tour accommodate dietary restrictions or preferences such as vegetarian, gluten-free or lactose-free?
If we are given advance notice we can accommodate most restrictions, however, those with restrictions may have to miss out on a tasting or two. Gluten-free is the most difficult restriction to accommodate.
Can you briefly describe Best Street Food in Miami, the four-day itinerary you planned for the Travel Channel this March?
I was required to prepare a 5 day shooting of best street food in Miami and help the production by introducing the different restaurants and food to the audience.
Please refer to this link where you can watch the video for more information. http://www.travelchannel.com/video/miamis-old-school-street-food
What are some of the five-star gourmet restaurants and hole-in-the-wall delights that are frequented on the tour?
660 at The Angler’s is headed by Chef Carlos Torres who was the 2012 winner of the Miami Iron Fork.
David’s Cafe has been a beloved local spot for over 30 years. During the tour we order from the ventania to sip on cortaditos in staple styrofoam cups they way everyone else does.
Charlotte’s Bakery- the place can barely fit 15 people but it has been rated has having the best empanadas by Food Network.
How would you describe this experience to someone contemplating signing up for one of your tours?
Taking one of our tours is like going on an epicurean exploration through Miami. You get to experience both the glitz and glam of Miami as well as well as our humble side. You’ll learn about art deco architecture to how Miami became one of the U.S’s major cities all while having a good time with people who share your interests and tasting amazing food!
What is the cost of embarking on one of your tours?
59 dollars is the price of the standard tours and customized tours are priced according to the needs of the customer and number of people attending.
Do you offer any discounts?
We offer a discount to military veterans and occasionally we offer seasonal discounts.
What form of transportation do offer your guests?
For the private tours we provide transportation for the tours that includes restaurants that are far from each other but our daily tours are walking tours.