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Jun 9, 2008 06:34 AM

Michy Beats the Big Boys

First she slayed Flay on Iron Chef now Michelle Bernstein wins the James Beard Award for Best Chef (South) beating out local boy, but still a winner in our minds, Douglas Rodriguez and chefs from WPB, Oxford and Birmingham.

Link is below. See about 3/4 down the page.

Another S. Florida winner is Jumbo's, named as one of America's Classics (past SFLA winners include Joe's and Versailles).

Congrats to Michelle and Jumbo's for representing MIA.

PS Edited to say Douglas thanks to editor-in-chief Frod's editing. My mind is obviously on sports today.

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  1. Umm, that's local boy Douglas Rodriguez of OLA, not local boy Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. But no doubt Michelle can cook circles around A-Rod too - and probably has a better post-season batting average.

    Pretty astonishing to not even see Michael Schwartz get a nomination - I can only figure MGF&D hadn't been open long enough to be considered.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      Doug Rodriguez got the nomination because he'll be gone pretty soon. I agree that MGFD is too new for a JB Best Chef. But the real interesting win is Jumbo's. I wonder how many people on this board have ever even been there? The few times I have recommended it, people have recoiled in horror at the neighborhood.

      1. re: Miami Danny


        Unlike the current crop of chefs on their second (or third, or more) turns, I think Rodriguez's best work was back in the day with Yuca. I like MGF&D more than Nemo, Michy's more than Azul, Talula better than Wish, but I can't say the same for Ola vs. Yuca.

        1. re: Frodnesor

          I can. I find OLA more sophisticated than Yuca. But then again I wasn't around in Yuca's heyday. Maybe it was the vibe of the time and the creativity of the food? I think OLA would do better in the Gables vs. the Beach where it's lost among the trendoid restaurants.

          1. re: lax2mia

            Yuca, when it first opened in the Gables was ground-breaking -- by the time it got to Lincoln Road it was over-priced barely medicocre cuban food (which you could find elsewhere under better circumstances) -- I vividly remember one dinner with 5 other people there -- being crammed into a table that should not have even held 4 people (they were in vogue so they thought they could get away with it) and one of the people at my table threatened to lob his $22 papa relleno (which was NOT any better than a decent $2 one found elsewhere) at the next server he could see -- because our table service was, on the good side, atrocious, and on the worst side, unforgiveable..

          2. re: Frodnesor

            Yuca in its hey day was a ground-breaking restaurant, and a very good one-I remember eating dinner there and then going upstairs to see Albita perform. Of course, I think Madonna was still living in Miami at the time. Douglas went on to greater heights in NYC with Patria, and Chicama, both places that I ate at several times, and with which I was very impressed. In fact, the earlier incarnation of OLA on Biscayne was a great restaurant as well. Now it's just hype and disappointment-not that surprising for South Beach.

            1. re: Miami Danny

              I also loved the OLA Biscayne location though possibly more for the space than the food.

              1. re: Frodnesor

                OLA Biscayne's Pig Roast Happy Hour was sooooo good... and the space was lovely.

                Did I mention the pork?



                1. re: Frodnesor

                  The food was very good, and most visiting restaurant industry friends insisted on being taken there for lunch or dinner. I think the place failed, like so many other DR ventures, probably due to well-documented personal demons. And maybe you'll like the space better as Barton G?

                  1. re: Miami Danny


                    Not-so-much... but the demon thing sounds promising.

                    ; )


                    1. re: Miami Danny

                      I recall hearing there was a very ugly burglary while some employees were still on site and very shortly after Ola Biscayne was shut down.

                      Don't get me started on the "G".

          3. Hooray Michy's! I'm happy for Michelle and her staff! They know their stuff!