Miami Living Magazine

Steve Howey

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Food Unlike Anything You've Ever Tasted Discover Top Chef winner Jeremy Ford's restaurant Stubborn Seed Words by Lucero Uribe · Photo credit: Grove Bay Hospitality Miami Beach is fertile ground –there's no doubting that. South Beach could well be dubbed "the battle of the sprouts." However, for those idealists, dreamers and business-seekers that look to plant their hopes in a less crowded spot, South of Fifth –in comparison– is virgin soil. With stylish galleries, restaurants, and hot hangouts, SoFi, for short, is a still-not-so-tourist-packed enclave, with charm, trendy spirit and a relaxed beach vibe. And yet, there are those who come –bagful of determination and all– and wither in the heat of pressure. Because noble as it is, this land is for the strong-minded, for those who push through no matter how overwhelming the odds. This land is for the stubborn seeds only. Jeremy Ford is a stubborn seed in the flesh –in the best possible sense of the word. He grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and took to the magic of the culinary arts at 15. Even though he never had formal training, Jeremy had passion and raw talent, which he polished by being in the operation and working firsthand with mentors like chefs Dean Max of 3030 Ocean in Los Angeles and Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Matador Room in Miami. So, he was already a star before becoming an even bigger one. After winning Top Chef, his career was kicked into high gear and opportunity knocked. He would finally do his own thing. After teaming up with Grove Bay Hospitality Group, Jeremy is finally giving the world a taste of his talent. Stubborn Seed –the name itself– speaks about his tenacity and relentless nature, both in the kitchen and in his life. The newly opened locale sits on Washington Avenue, perfect for those of us who are constantly looking for an excuse to wander South of Fifth. Upon entering, a rustic- industrial vibe sets the laid-back mood. Earth tones, dark wood, works of art hanging here and there, a few Art Deco motifs and warm lighting serve to create an ambiance that is both intimate and refined. Designed by New York-based Celano Design Studio, the space seats 74 guests, and tonight I'm one of them. My table is towards the back of the room, but I have a privileged view: a framed window, which gives diners a peek into the bustling soul of the kitchen. Even before Michelle, our very courteous and knowledgeable waitress, arrives, I'm already smitten with the overly witty reading material. A newspaper fashioned into a drinks menu advertises a "High Spirits Selection," with clever-named cocktails and unexpected liquor combinations. And on the back page,

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