Was there some Super Secret Chef Society meeting in Miami last week? Seems like it, as star chefs Thomas Keller (The French Laundry, Per Se), Grant Achatz (Alinea, Next) and Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Federal Donuts) all popped into town over the same few days.
What were they up to? Eating and drinking, yes. Scouting possible restaurant locations? TBD.
For Solomonov, who stayed at Soho Beach House and took his caffeine at Panther in Wynwood, this was his second Miami visit in as many weeks (last time, he chowed on arepas at La Latina). Is Zahav Miami on its way?
Says Solomonov: “We love Miami and we are trying to get a feel for the city. Nothing to speak of yet.”
Next. Achatz and business partner Nick Kokonas bellied up to the chef’s table at the new Alter in Wynwood one night and were spotted enjoying a drink and taking a tour of the Freehand Miami’s Broken Shaker and 27 Restaurant (good choice) the next. Maybe they were drumming up business for their new Tock, a ticketing reservations system, or maybe sniffing potential spots for their recently announced Alinea pop-up in Miami, happening next year.
Finally, Keller (who supped at Prime 112 while in town) is back on Miami’s rumor-mongering circuit three years after intense speculation swirled that he would be taking over the Azul restaurant space at the Mandarin Oriental.
That never happened, but now with Keller back for a visit, insiders are pointing to the under-construction The Surf Club by Four Seasons (9011 Collins Ave.) in Surfside as the most likely TK target.
Not so fast, says the Surf Club.
“A lease has not been signed for any of the spaces,” says Anna LaPorte, a spokeswoman for Surf Club developer Nadim Ashi of Miami-based Fort Capital Management.
But what if Keller’s going somewhere other than Surfside? We asked direct.
“Sorry to say, but I am NOT close to any project in Miami,” Keller said on Thursday.
May the rumor mill stop churning. For now.