Marcella Hazan once said, “cooking is an art, but you eat it too.” Those words ring true for chefs and diners alike, but most notably with the fashionable flock heading south for Art Basel Miami Beach. For three nights only—December 6th, 8th, and 9th—Art Basel and Florida's only Two MICHELIN Star restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami partner with The MICHELIN Guide for an immersive culinary experience exploring the confluence between art and gastronomy.
Chefs from L'Atelier restaurants across the globe including Alain Verzeroli, Olivier Jean, and James Friedberg worked together on a distinct menu bridging exceptional ingredients with the hautest presentation. The best part of the experience? Guests who snag a ticket to the dinner will also receive a MICHELIN Guide Hotel Plus membership, premium access to Art Basel Miami Beach including entry to the Vernissage, permanent access to the show on public days, and complimentary visits to select south Florida art museums for the duration of the fair. So clear your canvases and whet your palette because, below, we get the inside dish on Art Basel Miami Beach's most exclusive dinner.
Buy your ticket for the experience exclusively on OpenTable here.
In the world of culinary excellence, inspiration isn't only directed towards the plate; what's off the plate is equally important.
For Bastion Collection culinary director Alain Verzeroli, he takes his cues from his late mentor chef Robuchon coupled with Miami's vibrant art scene. "[Chef Robuchon taught me to] always be curious and eager to learn from other chefs and different cultures. That inspiration can be found anywhere, and more importantly to never be satisfied about your work—you can always do better."
The other half of Verzeroli's inventiveness comes from Miami's vibrant art scene, especially during Art Basel. "It's such a unique experience of endless energy where gallerists, artists, art collectors and visitors gather from all parts of the world," beams Verzeroli. "Parties, exclusive dinners, and of course the lively debates around art—it's always a very exciting week that I make sure I don't miss!"
And while the dinner, parties, and people add to the buzz and excitement, it's the art that keeps guests coming annually. "Art Basel's essential role is bringing people together over their shared passion for art," adds Melissa Netecke, Global Head of Partnerships at Art Basel. "[Art and gastronomy] allow for discovery, new experiences, incredible memories, and act as a purveyor to see the world differently."
Outside of the dinner, those attending Art Basel Miami Beach are in for a treat. "Our show is the most important exhibition of Modern and contemporary art in the Americas," adds Netecke. "This year's show will welcome 277 premier international galleries with 25 newcomers."
Highlights this year include The Bass Museum's 60th anniversary celebration including Hernan Bas' "The Conceptualists" (a queer-centric collection of creative scenes that challenge the notion of conformity and convention), the Pérez Art Museum Miami's show "Gary Simmons Public Enemy" (a chronicle of 30 years of works by multidisciplinary artists in the areas of race, class, and gender identity), and the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami's presentation of Charles Gaines (which happens to be neighbors of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami).
And it's not uncommon to spot Verzeroli scoping out contemporary masters at the Rubell Museum, where diverse, unique exhibitions await along with Spanish-Basque food at MICHELIN recommended boîte Leku. As for what Verzeroli wants for himself? "I'd love to have a print from Hiroshi Sugimoto, a large console from Vicenzo de Cotiis, and a painting from Pierre Soulages in L’Atelier Miami," says Verzeroli. "A print from Hiroshi because it's minimal, almost enigmatic; the console because all of Vicenzo's pieces are unique and his way of combining metal and stone is outstanding; and Soulages' painting because his painting would be the perfect color palette for L'Atelier, it would be a match made in heaven."
However, those perfect matches extend beyond the canvas and into the kitchen. For chef Olivier Jean of Geneva's only Two MICHELIN Star restaurant L'Atelier Robuchon, the starting point for the dinner menu came from working with the other chefs. "Collaborating with chef Alain and chef James [is] the essence of what cuisine should be—sharing ideas, preparing different dishes, and of course, eating," he explains. "It’s so rewarding to cook for guests with other talented chefs. We worked closely together on this menu, and I hope it will create a very special dining experience."
"We chose dishes that showcase our love for French Cuisine," chef Friedberg adds.
"Similar to a painter or an artist, chefs are using the natural color palette in their dishes. Each shape and texture is chosen carefully, with a vision behind each step of the creation of the dish," explains Verzeroli. "It's a creative process like art."
And like art, parity is present, composed, and methodical throughout the dinner. "We designed the menu together, understanding that there needed to be a balance of fish and meat," explains chef Jean. "Our idea was to take the best from each chef and blend our dishes in a really amazing way."
The resulting four courses build off each other starting with an amuse bouche and finishing with dessert. The culinary adventure begins in Geneva with a riff on one of chef Jean's signature plates—a fresh lobster jelly with rich caviar—except this time, it's served with foie gras and John Dory fish, complete with verbena, beurre blanc (a signature French sauce), and clams from Miami.
Dessert contrasts the umami-vibes of the previous courses and punctuates the meal with a fluffy, decadent finish. "The menu essentially encompasses the meaning of food—creating, eating and discovering, while still incorporating and balancing the influences of each location and chef," Jean states.
And the perfect complement to such a rich meal are the expert pairings curated for the evening. However, all chefs are mum on the specifics. "I'll just say that Champagne lovers will be very, very pleased!" exclaims chef Verzeroli. No doubt it'll be a bubbly evening.
Hero image: L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami
Photos courtesy of L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon Miami