Talk about wanting to go to the source. In order to prepare himself to helm the kitchen at the recently opened downtown Miami Tuscan eatery, Toscana Divino, executive chef Julian Baker packed up and went to live in Tuscany for a year. Not only did he live in Tuscany for a year, he moved to its capital, Florence, home of the world famous Fiorentina steak (which he dutifully learned to make). And not only did he move to the capital and learn to make one of its most legendary dishes, he got one of the city’s top chefs, the Michelin-starred chef Marco Stabile, to be the one to teach him. (Wait, there’s more!) Chef Baker actually moved in with Stabile and his mother, the better to completely immerse himself in the region’s authentic cooking. The result of such extreme—um—education? Several regular entrées currently on Toscana’s menu, including the can’t-be-missed, hearty ribollita, Tuscany’s most famous soup, made with leftover bread, cannellini beans and vegetables (pictured above). So good it would make mama Stabile proud.
With a client roster that reads like a who’s who of the luxury world, Karla Dascal is the woman behind some of South Florida’s most glamorous events, from celebrity parties to exclusive launches for upscale brands. Initially famous for her stunning florals, Dascal is now launching the next phase of her business—a catering service that promises to be as meticulous, design-driven and flawless as everything else she does. Even her hors d’oeuvres (like her cucumbers filled with mango gazpacho, pictured above) are perfect little packages of flavor. For details on her services, go to karlaevents.com.