Culinary genius

love-opera-victoria-bakerAll this winter weather makes me harken back to a time when I enjoyed more tropical style temperatures.And palm trees and turquoise waters remind me of my most extraordinary culinary experience to date.

Jose Andres has long been one of my favorite chefs but when I heard he had joined forces with legendary designer Philippe Starck to create the Bazaar restaurant in Miami I knew I had to try it. The menu is a fusion of Miami Latin foods and Singaporean dishes and the décor and style is finished off with a 1930’s glamorous vibe.

Jose Andres was a student of Ferran Adria, the pioneer of Spanish molecular gastronomy and he is celebrated for bringing the ‘small plates’ dining concept to the U.S. For me, molecular gastronomy is the next frontier of haute cuisine and Jose Andres, with his state of the art tapas, is a culinary pioneer. Long and pompous dinners no longer fit our lifestyles; a succession of small plates allows us to try a lot without being too burdened by overeating.

When I dined at the Bazaar in Miami a few months ago, I was struck by the sleek and glamorous Philippe Starck décor. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by an enormous white sea-shell like chandelier which dominates the room and sets the tone. Trendy, daring and innovative; dining at The Bazaar makes you feel you are one of the cool people.

The menu is interesting and makes for an experience that reaches beyond the boundaries of mere food. For example, I had the most incredible drink called a “passion fruit up” made with rum, passion fruit and passion fruit foam. The foam tastes like fruity air. I don’t even like passion fruit but I loved this.

My dinner companion had a frozen caipirinha with liquid nitrogen and the tableside presentation was like a cool science experiment. My ‘insalata caprese’ contained liquid spheres of mozzarella, the flavor explodes into your mouth in a torrent of taste sensations, it’s amazing and unusual.

Located in the SLS Hotel on Collins Avenue, The Bazaar is by far one of the more unforgettable dinner experiences I have ever experienced. You will feel as if you have stepped into the future…a future where 6 course menus are a thing of the past and where pompous ceremonial no longer has its place at the table. In the 18th century we had Brillat-Savarin the French culinary mastermind who wowed the French with his new ideas. Later we had the incredible Escoffier who revolutionized haute cuisine. And today, Jose Andres is turning all of our preconceived notions about fine dining upside down revealing himself as the new culinary genius of our time.


Victoria Baker, of Greenwich, is an opera singer. Winner of many prestigious competitions, she has performed and worked with distinguished artists all over the world (notably at Lincoln Center). Should you have any questions that deserve answers and may be in print please call 203-531-7499 or e-mail [email protected]

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