Scene in the Tropics

Pharrell, his wife and that hat brunch at Zuma

 
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Pharrell Williams, that hat and his wife were seen Saturday having brunch at Zuma. Venus Williams and her boyfriend, Cuban model Elo Pis, were there Friday with friends.

Olympian Katie Hoff was seen Saturday at Equinox Coral Gables. The swimmer got out of the pool and onto a stationary bike to take part in Cycle for Survival, the annual high-energy indoor cycling event that raises millions of dollars ($39 million so far) to support Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and fight rare cancers.

Jason and Diana Starkman, owners of Epicure Gourmet Market, hosted a charity event Friday night at their home to benefit United Cerebral Palsy of South Florida. Cooking on the Courts II featured chefs Steve Martorano, Michelle Bernstein, Makoto Okuwa, and Michael Love doing course-by-course food presentations. There, Martorano, who was by request introduced as a “cook,” not a chef, told the crowd he is currently working on a TV show with ubiquitous host Mario Lopez. The program will showcase longtime restaurants around the country and how they've managed to stay in business.

Martorano also admitted to scouting for a South Beach location of his popular Fort Lauderdale namesake restaurant and solicited the crowd, including Related Group honcho Jorge Perez, for investment money. Bernstein, who presented her food after Martorano said, “It’s tough to go after Steve Martorano.”

Those looking for chef Norman Van Aken at Tuyo since December can stop looking. Miami's original star chef has exited the building. This happened before he hit the late-night circuit promoting his new book, No Experience Necessary: The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken, most recently on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Miami Dade College, which owns and operates Tuyo, has made an official announcement, saying that “Chef Norman Van Aken, director of restaurants at Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Miami Culinary Institute and its acclaimed restaurant Tuyo, has left his post as of January 2014. The longtime, award-winning chef and author is exploring new book projects and culinary endeavors, including teaching ‘Culinarium’ classes at the Institute for industry professionals and foodies.”

Says Van Aken, “I have had a wonderful experience at MDC and Tuyo and will miss my colleagues and, especially, the students. My experiences have encouraged me to blaze new culinary trails” Miami Dade College — and Miami food fans — will miss him back. “We wish Chef Norman all the best and know he’ll continue making positive impacts on the culinary world,” said Dr. José A. Vicente, Wolfson Campus pesident. “We thank him for helping get our fledgling institute and world-class restaurant off to a great start.” Tuyo, by the way, will remain open.

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