Chef Adrianne Calvo: An A-List Miami Chef Who Cooks With Maximum Flavor & Makes a Difference by Donna John

Kitchen Talk
5 years ago

Chef Adrianne Calvo: An A-List Miami Chef Who Cooks With Maximum Flavor & Makes a Difference

Born in Chicago, Ill., and raised in Miami, Fla., Chef Adrianne Calvo is at the top of her field. The renowned chef and owner of Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard and Restaurant in Miami has appeared on the Food Network’s “Chopped” and runs the Make It Count Foundation, where she is carrying on her sister’s legacy. Chef Adrianne is also a 30Seconds contributor! Read on to learn more about this Cuban-American chef who cooks with maximum flavor!

Q. How did you get your start as a chef? When did you know you wanted to be a chef?

"I honestly wanted to go into journalism, but a scheduling mistake my junior year of high school put me in a cooking class. While I was waiting for a schedule change, Johnson and Wales University came in to do a demo, and that's what I call 'the lightening strike.' It was as if they were only talking to me. I was the only one paying attention. From that moment on, all I wanted to do was cook."

Q. How would you describe your style of cooking?

"This is actually one of my favorite questions. My style of cooking is about inspiration and ingredients – something I call ‘Maximum Flavor.’ [It] also happens to be the name of my first cookbook written when I was 19 years old. Whatever it is I am inspired to make, it has a focus on creating it with the most flavor, activating all parts of the palette, therefore sending endorphins to your brain, creating a memory for the guests. When a guest says, "That is the best ___ I ever had," that means it was made with Maximum Flavor, that's my style."

Q. What advice would you give to aspiring chefs or even the home cook who wants to up their game?

"My advice for aspiring chefs or the home cook is to always cook from the heart, what you really want to eat, despite trends. Passion will always be the secret ingredient people can taste – or figure out it's missing."

Q. Can you share one chef secret with our home cooks?

"I always keep a bottle of light soy sauce and organic chicken stock in my pantry. You can do a quick meal with those two ingredients and make it taste fabulous."

Q. You have brought the dining in the dark experience to diners, even Kellie Pickler and her cohost, Ben, on "Pickler & Ben." What do you think of this trend? Is it something everyone needs to experience?

"I believe everyone needs to do Dark Dining. Besides that, it's simply a cool and fascinating experience … the guests learn about themselves, flavors they never enjoyed that now they do, and simple primal movements like eating with your hands."

Q. Can you tell us about your Make It Count Foundation?

"The Make it Count Foundation is inspired by my late sister who died of cancer at the age of 19. Before she passed, she wanted to make it her mission to help others enduring this process. Whether it is with financial support because their insurance coverage runs out, emotional support or raising awareness, she wanted to do something big. So, when she passed, I made it my mission. For the last 11 years, Make It Count has supported St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Make a Wish Foundation, Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Live Like Bella Foundation and many more."

Q. You have a new cookbook out! Please tell us about “The A List.”

"'The A List' took almost two years to create. Each dish was made and photographed on the spot. There was no styling in this book, which makes it different than any other cookbook out there. I also wrote down the recipes as I was cooking on the spot, documenting."

See all of Chef Adrianne's 30Seconds recipes!

Take 30 seconds and join the 30Seconds community. Inspire ... and be inspired.

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Elisa Schmitz
What a great interview, Donna John ! I am in love with Chef Adrianne Calvo 's recipes. And now after learning more about her, I am in awe of her, too! What a great story. This Puerto Rican loves the Cuban touches and maximum flavor of these dishes. And the giving back through Make It Count foundation is wonderful. Can't wait to check out her new cookbook! #yum
Sheri B Doyle
I really enjoyed reading more about Chef Adrianne Calvo Donna John Thank you for this post. I have to go to her restaurant the next time I am in Miami!
Meredith Schneider
What an awesome interview! Chef Adrianne Calvo, I'm so gonna have to make a date night destination for me and my husband. xoxo

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