Foodies are marking December 9 on their calendars as the start of Dinner in Paradise (DIP)'s eighth season. Anyone who has attended one of the Homestead organic farm's five-course repasts served in a charming, open-air gazebo strewn with twinkly lights and edible centerpieces promises to return for this rare treat. Launched to aid farmers during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the series has accomplished so much more than its original mission from inspiring the regional locavore movement to inviting chefs to showcase their utmost creativity and supporting the missions of numerous local not-for-profits.
This season we are happy to welcome back our group of accomplished and stellar Miami area chefs and equally happy to welcome new talent into the fold. Partnering with the Loews team of executive chef Frederic Delaire and chef de cuisine Jason Prevatt on Dec. 9 is a kitchen duo from DIP newcomers chefs Phillipe Reynaud and Jason Stocks with the Ocean Reef Club. On March 10, chef Jacob Anaya joins chef Julie Frans of Essensia at The Palms Hotel & Spa, whose menus always focus on farm to table freshness; and Nate Martin, who's applying a healthy approach and local ingredients to Southern fare at Georgia's Union, a new eatery in South Beach.
This season's dinners feature several themes. December's dinner welcomes singles--what better setting to meet a perfect match than on a beautiful farm with a fun cocktail reception and tour by farm owner Gabriele Marewski before a sit-down dinner with wine pairings? In response to the growing interest in juicing, and vegan and raw cuisine, the farm collaborates with health expert Tom Frazier for this niche on January 13--his layered bites are so satisfying and delicious, diners don't miss meat or dairy in the slightest. Lastly, Kira Volz, founder of Broadwings Catering, spreads the love for her annual Valentine's Day dinner dance on February 9 (please note this is the only Saturday event, as the others fall on Sunday).
On March 24, Norman Van Aken and Travis Starwalt with Tuyo at the Miami Culinary Institute, debut alongside DIP veterans Dewey LoSasso of the Forge and Michael Reidt of Area 31 at Epic Hotel. It will be difficult to decide between that stellar trio and the following month's lineup of Meat Market's Sean Brasel, 1500 Degrees' Paula DeSilva and Lido Restaurant and Bayside Grill at the Standard's Mark Zeitouni on April 14. These repeat chefs' dinners tend to fill up quickly.
Closing out the season on April 28, Sergio Sigala from Cecconi's at Soho Beach House teams up with David Bracha, the chef behind River Oyster Bar who expands to the Design District with Oak Tavern, and Alex Feher, the executive chef at InterContinental Miami hotel. An Italian cuisine expert, a new restaurant and a new chef to DIP couldn't make for a more interesting night.
As sommelier, Shari Gherman, pours an array of red and white wines, chefs discuss dishes and good food unites strangers at communal tables; DIP guarantees a unique, memorable experience in South Florida. The party continues as guests are invited for stargazing and conversation around a roaring bonfire. The series has been featured in Conde Nast Traveler, Florida Travel + Life, the Miami Herald, Plum TV, Ocean Drive, DailyCandy and Luxe City Guides. Tickets are $165 per person plus tax and processing fees.
Proceeds benefit Urban GreenWorks, founded by James Jilar author of Doing Time in the Garden: Life Lessons Through Prison Horticulture, whose mission is to build urban farms and work with youth in the Miami area; Project HEAT's Healthy Eating for Active Teens; and Slow Food Miami, which fosters local vegetable gardens.
Paradise Farms would like to thank the event's generous, long-term sponsors including Whole Foods, Schnebly Redland's Winery, Lucini Italia, Brustman Carrino Public Relations, International Boutique Wines, Strategic Importers and Hani's Mediterranean Organics as well as DIP co-founder Michael Schwartz.