Culinary Power Players

Celeste Fierro & Chef Todd Mark Miller

STK is known for bringing a feminine flair to the typical steakhouse, thanks to the touch of Celeste Fierro, the senior vice president of The One Group, the company behind STK and a host of other restaurants, hotels, and lounges. The New York native got her start in the industry through special event planning, which eventually led to the opening of One Little West 12th, an event space in the Meatpacking District. That company has grown into The One Group, a bicoastal brand with the hautest venues under its umbrella. To reign over the new STK Miami, in the Gansevoort South, Celeste brought down Chef Todd Mark Miller, who is known for not only being hot, but also haute—his menu once included a $100 foie gras-and-Kobe beef-enriched Philly cheesesteak.

Haute Living: Where are you from?
Celeste Fierro: New York City

HL: How long have you been in Miami? What neighborhood?
CF: I have been coming to South Beach for years, for weekend escapes.

HL: Which restaurants do you currently operate?
CF: STK in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami; One in Manhattan; and Bagatelle in New York and Turks and Caicos.

HL: When did you first become interested in a career in the restaurant/culinary industry? What about it sparked your interest?
CF: I’ve always loved entertaining, which led me to event production and now restaurants.

HL: Who taught you the tricks of the trade in this industry? What are some of the lessons that have stuck with you?
CF: A fellow restaurateur, John Scotto, taught me how to be attentive. Treat every customer as if they were your only customer.

HL: What type of crowd do your restaurants and cuisine appeal to?
CF: The good thing about our restaurants is that they appeal to everyone.

HL: The restaurant industry is always changing. How will you continually attract the attention of elite diners in Miami?
CF: We’re going to provide the Miami market with a lively steakhouse that intermingles good music, delicious food, great cocktails, style, fashion, and fun.

HL: Miami is quickly becoming recognized as a culinary force to be taken seriously. Why should an Haute Living reader choose to dine at your restaurant?
CF: The typical steakhouse menu is outdated. STK’s menu brings innovative cuisine to Miami. For example, one of our signature dishes is the Shrimp Rice Krispies.

HL: Who is behind the designs of your establishments?
CF: Lionel Ohayon of ICrave Design Studio.

HL: Other than your own, what is your favorite place to dine in Miami?
CF: Sardinia Ristorante has fantastic food.

HL: Describe your dream restaurant.
CF: A comfortable, casual, chic restaurant with great food and service. A restaurant should be about the experience, not just the food and service.

HL: What is the most elaborate meal that you have prepared for a guest in one of your restaurants?
CF: A five-course dinner for two with caviar, seafood platters, steaks, and chocolate soufflé.

HL: What are some of the strangest requests/special orders that you recall?
CF: A famous football player staying in the Ganesvoort South ordered a rack of lamb for breakfast from the restaurant.

HL: Where was the last place in Miami that you went for fine dining?
CF: Casa Tua

HL: When not in your kitchen, where would we find you on a Friday night?
CF: Relaxing in the comfort of my own home with good company.

HL: Tell us something about you that no one knows.
CF: I have a knack for interior designing.

HL: You never leave home without…
CF: Sunscreen, lip gloss, and my BlackBerry.

HL: Describe Miami in three words:
CF: Weather, water, and wild.

HL: What’s your favorite pastime?
CF: Sitting on the beach, sipping a Margarita.

HL: What are your predictions for Miami’s restaurant scene and culinary trends in 2010?
CF: I think the South Beach market is steering away from nightclubs to restaurants and lounges.

HL: What has been the impact of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on the local culinary scene?
CF: It’s helping to put Miami on the map for fine dining.