You will be hearing more about Paul over the years because he is now the mastermind behind the best events in the greater Miami area. I asked him a few questions as a way for you to get to know him better and he was good enough to write out the answers.
1-What kind of caterer are you?
I have always had reservations about being called a caterer. There is something about that word that screams down-market overcooked chicken and salmon to me. I don’t like to be labeled, because what we do at Silver Spoon Events, is so much more than catering. We tagged the line, “Professional Culinary Services” because the service we provide is much more than just high quality amazing food. It’s about creating an experience for the client that is positive in every aspect so we get recommended over and over by their friends.
Our clientele is discerning and wants the best food and service. We cater to their needs – whether I am cooking fine cuisine or grilling for a BBQ. Every level has to be top notch – we like to exceed expectations!
2-What are the trendy parties these days?
Trendy parties these days are themed menus. We like tasting spoons, signature cocktails, and anything that makes the guests say, “Wow!! I would never have thought of that…” Thinking outside the box is key. Also, the chef these days are the center of attention and tend to be just as important as the food presented.
3-What are the most popular foods for parties?
This is really subjective. All parties are different and depend on the client’s tastes. I really love when I get carte blanche so I can be as creative as possible in the kitchen. Small tapas style food reigns in Miami, so I like to recreate miniature versions of some of my favorite dishes such as: beef short ribs on polenta cake, salmon and hamachi crudo with a green apple jalapeño sauce, or beetroot gnocchi with gorgonzola dots.
4-What was the best party you ever catered?
There have been so many great events that I have had the honor to be a part of in my career. If I had to choose one, I would have say Penelope Cruz’s wedding to Javier Bardem in 2010. They were staying on a private island in the Bahamas. Words can’t describe the memories I took from this fantastic two- week charter. I had the privilege to get to know them and their families while wining and dining them.
The best part was when I brought out the sparklers on the 150 cupcakes I made in honor of the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament. I decorated the cupcakes in the Spanish Flag colors. I think the four hours I devoted in the middle of the night working on it was well worth it!
5-Who was your most famous client?
If I told you I would have to kill you…only kidding , I have to sign a lot of NDA’s in my line of work so I can’t really discuss my clientele. I would say I have had the privilege to cook for some pretty amazing people, including movie stars like Penelope and political figures like Hillary Clinton. My current client is definitely one of the top celebs of the moment and a really wonderful person. Discretion is key in my work.
6-What was the most challenging party you ever hosted?
The most challenging event I ever hosted was not a single event but multiple events on the same day. During Art Basel, in Miami. I had three events a day: 1 gallery event, 1 corporate cocktail event, and the third, a Hillary Clinton political fundraiser. The food and staff were not the big issue. I was running around like a headless chicken in Miami traffic to get to all three and make sure everything ran smoothly. I am blessed with the best team in Miami. Some of my staff have been with me for over seven years.
7- Who have you cooked with and what have you learned from that person?
Michelle Bernstein is the reason I moved back to Miami from Naples, FL. She was an inspiration to work for at the legendary best restaurant in Miami at the time, Azul. I will always be grateful that I learned from the best. No matter how busy we were in the open kitchen at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, she always knew how to charm the customers. Attention to customers is as important as attention to food.
I also learned a lot from Micheal Roux, legendary chef from the Waterside Inn, London and also the signature chef for all of Celebrity Cruise lines. He was a guest chef in 2006 Food and Wine festival. At the time, I was the sous chef at Casa Casuarina (the Versace Mansion on Miami Beach). I got to spend a week with the man, cooking breakfast for him every day. I picked his brain and tried to soak up ever tidbit of knowledge I could. He was a very calm, wise person who always made you think. He taught me how to problem solve. He signed his book “How to make eggs 365 different ways” for me by saying “From one great chef to another.” Amazing!
I also worked with Masaharu Morimoto, the Iron Chef on TV. The thing I admired about him was his perfectionism and consistency. He asked me to tie 375 perfectly cut and blanched asparagus tips with a chive ribbon. If one was not done right, they were no good! Perfection takes hard work and repetition makes perfection.
Eric Ripert, is one of my favorite chef’s of all time and one that I respect the most, not only because he holds a 3-star Michelin at his Le Bernardin, but because he never sold out and instead focused on doing one thing extremely well. It has always been about the food to him. He is also the one who inspired me to get out of working just in restaurants and explore the joy of bringing my cooking skills into people’s homes.
Gargiulo Vineyards hosted a $25,000 per plate charity event (in Naples, Florida). Chef Ripert was the guest chef in charge. I was honored to cook next him. I was also asked to pickup the honorary guest for the Food & Wine festival in Naples. It was none other than the late Robert Mondavi. He is one of the kindest people I have ever met and told me to follow my dreams. That was the most inspiring day in my culinary career.
8- What’s in your future?
There’s a saying in Italian: “Il mio sogno nel cassetto.” It means “the dream in my drawer.” You keep one dream locked up until it’s the right time to take it out…mine is to eventually have a little place of my own somewhere with enough land to grow my own food. I want to cook for people and make them feel at home and happy…bliss!
We love you Paul.