November 4, 2012

Interview with Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar

Today’s Chef in the Spotlight is the dynamic Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami. Adrianne’s uninhibited free-spirit has guided her success starting with her resume building as she crisscrossed the US from Florida to California. Adrianne honed her knife skills at the Mandarin Oriental Miami then in Napa Valley, California under Chef Thomas Keller and Chef Cindy Pawlcyn; it was the Napa experience that changed her perception of food forever and served as her muse for Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar and her cookbooks. Adrienne is all about “Maximum Flavor” and stimulating the senses; and not just in the kitchen but in her overall life as well with TV appearances and as spokesperson for Panda Kitchen and Bath but it is her foundation “Make It Count” that truly epitomizes Adrianne Calvo as she pushes life to the max and inspires all around her. I present this week’s Chef in the Spotlight, Adrianne Calvo.

Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar

South Florida Food and Wine: Where do you get your culinary inspiration?
Adrianne Calvo: My culinary inspiration comes from everywhere or anything. It can come from my family, maybe one of their favorite dishes, our traditions. The same way, it can come from watching a movie, perhaps the way a character in a movie eats a certain thing, listening to a song, driving alone in my car.  Lightening can strike anywhere.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one go-to ingredient and why?
Adrianne Calvo: My one go-to ingredient is salt, particularly coarse kosher salt. It is the base for almost everything (in moderation). Even pastry needs salt. Using coarse salt on our steaks makes them phenomenal, using coarse salt on our desserts, makes them outrageous.

South Florida Food and Wine: Tell us about your foundation, Make It Count
Adrianne Calvo: My foundation Make It Count is inspired by my sister, Jennifer, who passed away at 19 years old to a rare cancer. She always said “make it count”.  No matter how sick she was, even when she could barely walk anymore, she still said “make it count”. Right before she passed, she said when she would get better, she was going to share the message with today’s youth about making a difference in others’ lives and making it count, not waiting till later, and just doing it now. Her plan was to begin with young cancer patients like herself. Since she could not execute her plan, I made it my own, and began “Make It Count” . It’s been 5 years that we’ve been working with St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital.

South Florida Food and Wine: You’re a very busy Chef/Entrepreneur always on the move; can you tell us what new and exciting projects you are currently working on?
Adrianne Calvo: I’m currently working on my new segments on NBC6 called Rock Your Recipe, where we invite our viewers to share a recipe they would like to get revamped – basically get a “maximum flavor make-over.”  I’m working on my third cookbook, and the expansion of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar.

South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your last day on earth, what would your final meal be?
Adrianne Calvo: My final meal would be anything made by my mother. Something so wonderfully comforting about eating your mom’s food.

South Florida Food and Wine: Who is the one person you would like to cook with and why?
Adrianne Calvo: I would love to cook with Grant Achatz. I’m not much into molecular gastronomy but I know his story and sympathize with it. My sister had tongue cancer like he did. While she was sick, I didn’t want to cook ever again because she couldn’t eat -  so I can’t imagine how strong his passion for cooking is, if he endured what he did, and has made it to be one of the best chefs of all time, my hat goes off to him.

South Florida Food and Wine: What is your one guilty pleasure food?
Adrianne Calvo: My one guilty pleasure food…ahhh I don’t have one. I have tons.

South Florida Food and Wine: What was the last restaurant you ate at, other than Chef Adrianne’s and what did you order?
Adrianne Calvo: Before I opened this email, I went to 100 montaditos and ordered patatas bravas, a beer, and 3 montaditos.

South Florida Food and Wine: Who would you most like to cook for? And why?
Adrianne Calvo: I would like to cook for Anthony Bourdain. I’d love to hear his satirical, sleezy, slightly romantic, critique of my food.

South Florida Food and Wine: It’s your day off, what do you do for fun?
Adrianne Calvo: On my day off, I love to go eat somewhere I haven’t been, watch a movie, go to the beach, enjoy some time with my family. You know, simple stuff.

Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar 11510 SW 147 Avenue, Miami, Florida 33196

Love the South Florida food scene? Check out our newly published book (Globe Pequot Press, $14.95), Food Lovers’ Guide to Miami & Fort Lauderdale

2012 Spotlight Interviews

Girl Power, Interviews with Female Chefs, Vintners and Entrepreneurs

2011 Spotlight Interviews

2010 Spotlight Interviews

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