Q&A With Michael Schwartz on The Cypress Room And More


With food so simple and pure and ingredients that were more than likely picked fresh from local farms, Michael Schwartz, of Michael’s Genuine has staked his claim as the ultimate restaurateur of the Design District.  Now add to his resume,  “The Cypress Room,” his newest and by far coziest restaurant, with an upscale sensibility.  This undeniably hot chef updates us on his newest culinary projects.

Finish this sentence. Michael is.. super excited to introduce Miami to The Cypress Room.

How did you meet your chef? The Chef, Roel Alcudia, was Chef de Cuisine at Barbuto in NYC. Jonathan Waxman posted him for a dinner we worked on together; we met, and he was perfect and ready to move.

How will it differ from your other restaurants? The Cypress Room is more sophisticated and upscale than Michael’s although it is not stuffy. There will be tasting menus that are 4-5 courses not 10.

Who is the most demanding chef that you have ever worked for? I have worked for many demanding chefs but Frank Cristo in NYC was the toughest.  If I worked 95 hours that week he would work 100, I could never get a leg up on him.

What new additions will you be making to the Cocktail and Food Menus at Michael’s Genuine and Harry’s Pizzeria? Cocktails and the menu at Michael’s change all the time based on seasonal fresh ingredients. Harrys has more staples and less menu changes though we offer a different special nightly.

You have recently launched Michael Genuine Home Brew, what inspired you to craft your own beer? The MGFD logo is fashioned after an old beer label. It was my inspiration. I tried to find someone in South Florida to make the beer but had no luck. I met my beer partners at a tornado fundraising event in Alabama where they are based. To make the connection to South Florida I use sen chi brown rice (rotating crop for Florida crystal sugars) in the brewing process. I rolled it out in 3 stages to sell locally in restaurants, bars and now retail. Total Wine and Whole Foods currently carry it.

What inspired you to start your pop up dinner series at Harry’s? How do you pick the visiting chefs? When I decided to open Harry’s the venue was small enough to host this small series of dinners. I pick chefs with common interests and philosophy about food that I like to hang out with.

What are your local hangouts in Miami for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, cocktails?  I like the Broken Shaker and Michael’s Genuine

How would you describe your personal style? Where of you like to shop for clothing in Miami? I am a jeans and t-shirt dude.  I shop at the Gap.

What charities are important to you and why? Alex’s Lemonade Stand, I do four National Events for them. Childhood cancer should be an important cause to everyone.

You have enjoyed international success as a celebrity chef and restaurateur.   What does it take to make it in the industry? A long time, many years of hard work and dedication which is hard for people to understand in this day in age. People want to be respected instantly, it doesn’t happen that way.

In a battle of the chefs, who would be your stiffest competition and why? Being a chef is zero about competition, being a chef is about teamwork, making the guy next to you look better, not about winning, I’m against Chef Competitions.