Iconic American Classics Sizzle with Miami Spice from Chef Michelle Bernstein

As an active member of the Macy’s Culinary Council, Michelle Bernstein is dedicated to improving the American table
Staff Writer

Macy's Culinary Council

Chef Michelle Bernstein for Macy's Culinary Council

Vibrant, sunny, and filled with personality perfectly describes James Beard Award-winning chef Michelle Bernstein, but it also personifies her cooking style too. Her food is a transcendent blend of her Jewish and Latin heritage with touches of classic American food traditions as subtext.

Her cooking is wildly popular because it’s always fresh and inventive without being overly constructed. As Michelle says, “You don’t need heavy handed technique and over the top presentations to make a dish work. It’s about amazing ingredients, layered flavors and simplicity. My style of cooking is inspired by my own food memories and it’s the simple, soulful cooking that I remember from my travels. I cook the food I love and I think that love translates to the diners.”

This timeless approach has helped propel her into the national spotlight and made her extensive culinary enterprises successful. Her cooking is translatable to food lovers of every genre and is the keystone to her ability to master many facets of the industry.

Her resume includes KNR Hospitality, her successful restaurant and entertainment business, which she runs with her husband and business partner David Martinez; management of food and beverage programs for popular Miami hotels and brasseries; re-launch of her acclaimed Michy’s restaurant into CENA by Michy; a full-service catering company; television shows; charity work with Common Threads; and culinary consulting with luxury brands.

 As an active member of the Macy’s Culinary Council, Michelle Bernstein is dedicated to improving the American table and showing kids that eating well and cooking at home can be a fun activity for the whole family. Michelle’s recipes burst with flavor and their uncomplicated designs rely on a few exquisitely ripe, seasonal ingredients to develop flavor; this simplicity is what makes each recipe fun and easy to cook.

Her easy going personality and tasty dishes are fan-favorites at Macy’s Culinary Council cooking demonstrations, and she always provides helpful hints on how to buy fresh, cook in season, and use just a few premium ingredients to create flavorful meals.

The Macy’s Culinary Council: An organization that supports American cooks

Like her Macy’s Culinary Council counterparts, Michelle Bernstein is an advocate for cooking at home like a chef and she uses her platform to engage every generation in the comforting act of preparing the family meal. She knows that cooking at home doesn’t require a lot of expensive equipment—it requires the right tool for the job—and for her that means buying cookware at Macy’s.    

While chef Michelle has made a name for herself with classic foods with a Latin twist, she is a well-rounded chef with a love of classic American summertime food—and nothing says summer like strawberries, especially from Florida. In line with her comforting approach to cooking, Michelle’s upcoming cooking demonstration on June 14 is a must-taste event. In conjunction with National Strawberry Shortcake Day, Michelle will be in the Miami area demonstrating Strawberry Shortcake along with a few American and Latin classics any cook can master. To watch her demonstration, and sample her dishes, be sure to visit Macy’s Aventura on June 14 and enjoy the fruit of summer.   

What’s on the Menu

Florida may be a year-round cornucopia of gorgeous produce, but the watermelon and strawberries produced in the central and southern regions are legendary. For most of us, nothing says summertime in America like watermelon, strawberries, fried chicken, and outdoor entertaining and Michelle is embracing this theme wholeheartedly for her June 14 demonstration. She will be presenting Strawberry Shortcake, just in time for National Strawberry Shortcake Day on June 14, as well as Tuna and Watermelon Ceviche and Michy’s Fried Chicken with Mashed Potatoes and Gravy.

 “Two of my dishes are very very all American; I thought about my favorite flavors for summer, what I think is truly American and what can be instructed to the home cook that would be approachable and doable. All are American but the tuna watermelon is just mine…I love them because they are delicious; I love creating new flavors and textures. 

A Distinct Culinary Point of View

Chef Michelle is a woman who relishes life and appreciates other cultures and cuisines, which is evident in her food. She says, “Every time I travel, everywhere I go, every smell, taste…my life influences my food.” She is an advocate for Cuban food, both the traditional recipes and the innovative new twists she and other chefs are implementing that are creating a Nuevo Cuban cuisine. This growing trend combines old and new methods and ingredients, and like Michelle’s cooking, it is honest, down to earth, and never overly complicated. Cuban food’s straightforward techniques, flavors, and presentation mirror Michelle’s cooking style and are part of the secret to her success as a chef and restaurateur. 

Cook like a Chef with Easy Recipes

Chef Michelle’s cooking is distinct because she develops complex flavors using relatively simple recipes that rely on complementary ingredients, cooking methods that impart deep flavors, and ripe ingredients that don’t require a lot of extra seasonings, etc. She never forgets that the ultimate test is whether or not consumers can do the recipes at home. She stresses that, “The recipes are somewhat simple; not easy but few ingredients for each one; and yes, you can find all ingredients in any grocery store.”

Cook at Home Like a Chef

According to Michelle, just having easy recipes isn’t enough if home cooks want to have quality and variety on their menus. She thinks all home cooks should master a few essential recipes, or dishes, and recommends first master, “roasting a whole chicken, a good tomato sauce, grilling a perfect steak and chopping without making a mess.”

One way consumers can cook at home like a chef without spending hours in the kitchen is by putting home cooked meals into their regular menus during the work week. She recommends consumers do this by, “Choosing simple dishes that don’t have a lot of ingredients or techniques. One pan meals are perfect; preparing things ahead of time…chopping your veggies the day before; always being one step and one day ahead or two on your shopping, chopping, and preparing.” For easy cooking when she’s in the mood for comfort food, Michelle says she likes “anything you can throw on a grill and slather with bbq sauce.”

Michelle suggests home cooks can shop smarter and cook more at home if they “

shop around the perimeters of their grocery stores where the fresh, unprocessed foods are located rather than in the middle. Get kids involved by preparing anything with panko…have the kids choose ingredients at the store with you and discuss the meal with them. And if you want to try cooking Miami, Cuban, or Latin cuisine consider buying an electric plancha. It will be a fun way to get the whole family involved.”

2016 Macy’s Culinary Council Cooking Demonstration in Aventura, Florida on June 14, 2016

Event Details and Special Offers

Date: June 14, 2016

Time: 6:00 PM

Venue: Macy’s Aventura, Florida

Location: Home Store, Culinary Kitchen on 3

Price per person: Free

Learn from the Master Chef as she shows you how to prepare some of her favorite recipes in honor National Strawberry Shortcake Day. The best part? There will be plenty of scrumptious samples and music to enjoy!  Feel free to explore the latest in cookware and gadgets for your kitchen.

Plus, with any purchase of $35* or more in the Home department, receive a music inspired gift and a copy of Cuisine a Latina. RSVP at meetmichellebernstein.eventbrite.com *RSVP and receive a $10 gift card at the event. 

Learn more about the Culinary Council and upcoming events by logging on to macys.com/culinarycouncil and follow us on Twitter @culinarycouncil

Event subject to change or cancellation. Seating is first come, first served. *Purchase must be made on 6/14/16 at Macy's Aventura Home Store only **Special music gift, gift card, and cookbook will be distributed 6/14/16 only One per customer, while supplies last and time permits.

Rate this Story