Sunday, December 1, 2013

Florida Keys Chefs Find Dinner In Paradise Inspiration On The Farm

This little bee is working hard on African basil
Last week Paradise Farms Organic hosted some very special visitors. Making the trek from the Keys to agricultural gem Homestead, FL were Executive Chef Jouvens Jean and Chef De Cuisine Joe Wiktorek of Pierre’s Lounge & Restaurant at Morada Bay. They, along with Executive Chef Richard Smith from Cheeca Lodge & Spa, George Patti from Taster’s Grill, and Senior Director of Culinary Philippe Reynaud of Ocean Reef Club round out of Keys focused Dinner In Paradise on December 8, 2013. We were also joined by Pooky, the sweetest farm dog you’ll ever meet.

Farmer Gabriele and the Chefs confer while Pooky entertains the girls
Chef Joe brought along his daughters who may have entered the farm picky eaters, but left having tasted Cuban oregano, African basil, tongue tickling mustard greens, and the green bean flavored sun hemp. When Chef Jouvens arrived, the group paused in their tour for a freshly prepared snack of avocados sprinkled with Florida Keys Sea Salt and a squirt of Meyer Lemon, sliced starfruit and fresh herbal tea. With each new edible flower, plucked green and veggie discovery the chefs began brainstorming their dishes.

Chef Jouvens and three happy chayote
Chef Jouvens lit up when Farmer Gabriele led him to the chayote. “In Haiti,” he explained while turning the light green rippled produce in his hands, “chayote is used in a stew called legume. Simmered with eggplant, it’s delicious.” Chef Joe was equally pleased with his trip to Paradise and it was obvious the creative ideas for his Dinner In Paradise menu were brewing.  Chef Joe and his girls left with quite the haul: avocados, the mosaic skinned Monstera, Cuban Oregano for planting at home, and a banana flower.

Purchase tickets to join us for Dinner In Paradise on Sunday, December 8, 2013 and experience what our Florida Keys Chefs concoct to satisfy your bellies under the stars:

A beautiful plate of avocado and starfruit
Roselle is not just beautiful, it's useful: leaves can be used fresh, they have a lovely lemon flavor

Pooky, the regal sentry. See also: wild woman.


Hibiscus. Beautiful and wonderful in teas (or just in your mouth)

Sun hemp has a taste similar to green beans.

The Chefs begin brainstorming dishes for Dinner In Paradise.

Farmer Gabriele and a banana flower, which drips a pretty albeit staining purple liquid.

Photos by Kelly Samardak,

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