With Michelin-starred chef-helmed restaurants like Fiola, Indian concept Maska, and Brazil's soon-to-open Kosushi popping up all over our culinary landscape, Miamians are gladly welcoming the steady increase in worldwide cutting-edge cookery. And this week, Bal Harbour will it even easier to access upscale cuisine.
A four-day gastronomic affair featuring themed dinners and cooking classes, the first U.S. edition of Haute Cuisine runs May 8 through 11 and offers a rare chance to experience the cuisine of six of Europe's most renowned chefs.
The gathering of the top chefs is the brainchild of Pierre-Henri Bovsovers, general manager for the W Verbier in the Swiss Alps, where the event was founded in 2015. Since then, ten chefs have come together at the hotel every year to turn out meals underscoring the global, cultural, and environmental dimensions of what they offer at their restaurants.
In Miami, a French-inflected lineup will match six celebrity chefs with nine Michelin stars among them, like two-star Sergi Arola from Barcelona, culinary director of Eat-Hola at the W Verbier, and owner of LAB in Portugal; and Thierry Drapeau, who runs the kitchen at his eponymous restaurant in France.
"The whole concept is to bring a bunch of friends together, cooking amazing dishes in very special locations," says Bovsovers, who decided on Miami for the first U.S. installment of the event because of personal connections. "When you go to a Michelin-starred restaurant in Europe, the ambiance can be quite stiff, people are paying a lot for the experience, and there's tons of pressure on the staff. This event gives the chefs an opportunity to gather and share their cooking in a more relaxed, interactive environment."
Philadelphia-based restaurateur Stephen Starr will lead the opening night on May 8 at the Bal Harbour Shops. A welcome cocktail reception will be followed by a fashion-themed dinner at Le Zoo, featuring a globally inspired menu created by chef Drapeau, along with French three-star chef Jacques Pourcel of Le Jardin des Sens and Alain Caron, a Master Chef Holland judge and owner of Café Caron in Amsterdam.
On Thursday, May 9, Drapeau will use the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour's main kitchen to show 12 foodies how to elevate a simple French multicourse menu. "The meal will be an uncomplicated one," says the two-star chef. "But it will be a real insider's look into some of the special techniques I developed, a genuine treat for those passionate about French cuisine."
An earlier cooking lesson that day will be hosted at the same location by two-star chef Jacques Pourcel. The other four classes will be presented throughout the event at the outdoor kitchen of the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort by chef Arola and one-star chefs Joel Cesari of La Chaumière of France and Jean-Baptiste Natali of Hostellerie La Montagne.
A formal gala dinner at the St. Regis will wrap up the programming, with all six chefs collaborating to dish out a final special menu.
"We are curious to see what happens and how Miamians will react," Bovsovers says. "You can do the best thing in the world but it's always up to the guests to let us know what it truly feels like."
Here's the event's official schedule:
Wednesday, May 8
7 p.m. Welcome cocktail reception at the Bal Harbour Shops courtyard.
8 p.m. Chef Stephen Starr will lead a fashion-themed dinner at Le Zoo at Bal Harbour Shops with a globally inspired menu by chefs Jacques Pourcel, Thierry Drapeau, and Alain Caron.
Thursday, May 9
Noon. Chef Jacques Pourcel will lead an immersive cooking class at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour.
3 p.m. Chef Thierry Drapeau of France will host an immersive cooking class at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour.
8 p.m. Design-focused dinner at Oceana Bal Harbour led by chef Sergi Arola of Barcelona, and chefs Joel Cesari and Jean-Baptiste Natali of France.
Friday, May 10
Noon. Immersive cooking class at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort with chef Sergi Arola.
3 p.m. Immersive cooking class at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort with chef Joel Cesari of France.
8 p.m. Music-driven dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Bal Harbour’s Artisan Beach House showcasing a menu by chefs Natali, Pourcel, and Drapeau.
Saturday, May 11
Noon. Immersive cooking class at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort by chef Jean-Baptiste Natali.
3 p.m. Immersive cooking class at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort with Dutch chef Alain Caron.
7 p.m. Cocktail reception on the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort’s outdoor Ocean Terrace presented by all six chefs.
8 p.m. Formal gala dinner at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort in the oceanfront ballroom showcasing a collaborative menu from all six chefs with a total of nine Michelin stars.
Haute Cuisine Bal Harbour. Wednesday, May 8, through Saturday, May 11. Dinners cost $250 per person and the closing gala $350. Cooking classes are priced at $250 each. Tickets available at balharbourflorida.com/hautecuisine.