Rockin’ In Palmetto Bay

December 17th, 2014 by Hal Feldman

Now in its third year, the Palmetto Bay Food & Rock Festival took place at Ludovici Park (behind the Palmetto Bay public library) on December 6. For seven hours, more than 1500 people were treated to incredible live music, high quality food/drink, glorious weather and an all-around good time.

Run by Florida Rock Stars’ co-founders Richard DiBenedetto and Mickey Filippucci, the multi-hour event raised money for charity, and brought Palmetto Bay another great outdoor event. “We don’t do this for the money, we have a love for live, local music and putting on a big party,” explained DiBenedetto.

Mayor Eugene Flinn attended saying, “This event sends out a clear note that our Village truly is an enviable place to be. Top-quality programs like this – along with our hugely successful ‘Holiday by the Bay’ event – are what people look for when deciding to keep their home or business here. Why go anywhere else when you can go right down the street for a great night out or a memorable family experience? Quality of life, that’s what it is all about.”

Daughter Meghan and Karyn Cunningham (Councilwoman – District 1), Susan White, Mayor Eugene Flinn and his wife Alex
Daughter Meghan and Karyn Cunningham (Councilwoman – District 1), Susan White, Mayor Eugene Flinn and his wife Alex

The festival featured performances by Cutler Stew, The Livesays, The Regs and Mr. Nice Guy, each delivering a solid 90-minute set of their high-energy rock. “This is one of the reasons to be in South Florida,” exclaimed concert-goer Karen Towriss, “Seeing so many great bands in one place with all this amazing food and energy is a real treat!”

Mr. Nice Guy’s Magoo, Alex Lencina, Maria De Crescenzo, Tom Hall and Johnny O performing.
Mr. Nice Guy’s Magoo, Alex Lencina, Maria De Crescenzo, Tom Hall and Johnny O performing.

In the past five years, Florida Rock Stars has put on several shows in Palmetto Bay and Homestead, each with challenges. They attempted to do a huge show at Zoo Miami this year, but couldn’t reach agreement with County officials. With the help of Ron Derrick of the band Cutler Stew, Palmetto Bay was tapped instead. “This really was a blessing,” explained DiBenedetto, “The Village rolled out the red carpet for us and people like Ron, MiamiHal, Ed Silva and Fanny Carmona of the Parks Department cut through the typical red tape to make this happen at an extremely high level. We couldn’t be happier with Palmetto Bay and the fans were awesome!”

The Livesays belting out a classic
The Livesays belting out a classic

The festival featured local food vendors and an impressive air-conditioned VIP area, complete with a live feed of the show and Rock Stars frozen margaritas. “The response was incredible and everyone is ready and excited for next year,” Filippucci added, “One of our main goals is to support charity. This year we helped raise $11,000 for Parker-Haar’s ‘Team Jess’ [Hughes], a 24-year old three-peat cancer survivor who lives in Palmetto Bay. We also raised $1200 for Mike Fink’s ‘Patches’ organization who helps poor sick kids in Homestead.”

Mayor Flinn looked toward the future, “This year the Ed & Arlene Feller Amphitheater at Ludovici Park was the right venue, but as this major community event grows, it could easily become a cornerstone program for a future downtown-district amphitheater. With fast access to mass transportation and ample parking, and a smooth flow onto the US-1 commercial corridor, this is exactly the type event that could really make our downtown rock and roll, and draw attention to this viable new business and residential hub.”

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Expert advice for smart investing strategies

December 10th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

“Investment strategies must evolve to accommodate complex modern markets,” says David Giunta, president and CEO of Natixis Global Asset Management – U.S. Distribution, creators of Durable Portfolio Construction, an investment philosophy that draws on a variety of asset classes in an effort to produce reasonable returns and avoid dramatic losses. “The ultimate goal is to pursue returns in a way that carefully considers the risks.” According to Giunta, there are five pillars of smart investing that can help limit risk caused by unexpected market swings and position portfolios for consistent long-term returns. These are the founding principles of durable portfolio construction:

1. Put risk first

Rather than first considering the potential rewards of an investment, start by making risk your top priority. Ask yourself how much you are willing to risk and base your investment decisions on this principle. When you understand risk and what to expect, you’ll be better positioned to weather difficult market conditions.

2. Maximize diversification

Diversification creates a solid foundation for building a more durable portfolio. Think of the simple adage we’ve heard since childhood: “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” It can make a lot of sense for investors. If you include a wide range of asset classes in your portfolio, then you will be better prepared to handle the challenges that modern markets can present. When one type of investment is down, the losses may be offset by the potential gains in another. Overall it’s an approach that may provide a more consistent performance in all kinds of markets.

3. Use alternatives

When diversifying your portfolio, you may want to investigate alternative investments. Since markets around the globe often have high correlations – that is, they move up and down in synch with each other – it’s important to look for investments with low or no correlation to the broad markets. Keep in mind that some alternative investment techniques can amplify a gain or loss.

4. Make smarter use of traditional asset classes

Investors have often looked to stocks for growth and bonds for stability, but these two asset classes can play other roles in a portfolio. Equities have historically delivered growth that has outpaced inflation, but they can be volatile. Bonds, on the other hand, may not always be stable and can be volatile in periods of rising interest rates. Multisector bond funds may help address these concerns by diversifying bond holdings to include those that may be less interest rate sensitive and more focused on total return. However, keep in mind that multisector bond funds include a variety of fixed-income assets which may not always complement each other or provide the investment results desired.

5. Be consistent

In today’s world, there can be a lot of noise that may distract you from the big picture. That’s why staying consistent is one of the best things you can do for yourself as an investor. Setting your investment plan and sticking with it through market fluctuations can help you weather the storms and pursue your goals. To learn more, visit

“It’s only human to watch the markets go up and down and want to react, but you shouldn’t let short-term market movements distract you from your long-term goals, ” says Giunta. “These five principles will help investors create a strategy that is timeless, and one that will accommodate the realities of today’s global markets.”

Welcoming Daniella Levine Cava

December 3rd, 2014 by Hal Feldman

Daniella Levine Cava was officially sworn in as Miami-Dade County Commissioner (District 8) on November 18th. She immediately started voting on County issues and worked some very long hours even before she was ceremonially sworn in the following week.

“I’m very exciting to serve because I care so much about our County. I think our District has such great potential, so many wonderful opportunities and assets, but it also has huge challenges,” Daniella stated, “I’ve been very involved civically for many years, so stepping inside government and being able to take some responsibility for positive change is an amazing opportunity.”

After only a short time in office it is clear that Daniella is jumping in as quickly as possible. “My job is to learn about many things very rapidly. My district includes Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Homestead, and unincorporated areas including Redland, Falls, Princeton, Naranja, Leisure City and parts of West Kendall, so I will meet often with those area’s leaders, governments and key people to understand their needs.”

To that end, Daniella knows she can’t do it all, so she is hiring a strong staff to make sure her office is responsive to all areas. “They’ll feed things back to me and represent my office when I have overlapping engagements. Two staffers will be dedicated to civic engagement and one will work solely connecting with non-profits and businesses. Still others will round out my team. This investment will ensure we have a strong presence wherever we are needed.”

Daniella will soon be transitioning headquarters to the South Dade Government Center, where the District 8 office was four years ago. “This is more centric making us more accessible to more constituents. We also plan to partner with several areas to have satellite offices.”

So how does Daniella Levine Cava want be perceived? “It is my hope that people will see me as open and available, dedicated and passionate. I think of myself as an advocate for South Dade and I believe I have an opportunity to address many unmet needs and further key goals in our County,” said Daniella. “I call South Dade the ‘last frontier’ and what I mean by that is that I think we have great opportunities to grow… grow jobs, our economy, transportation options, social services and more while still protecting our existing quality of life. I plan to do just that.”

Her main platform for her term is ‘Restore Trust In Government’. You can learn more at the official District 8 web page. Specifics on her agenda and plans are contained in her published installation speech.


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Energy efficiency leads to healthier living

November 24th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

Are you trying to live a healthier lifestyle? Are you trying to make healthy living choices for you and your family? Are you eating a balanced diet? Are you getting enough exercise? Even with our increased awareness of healthier living, it can be difficult to always make the best and most efficient choices.

But what about your home? Why not buy or build a home that takes your family’s health and comfort into consideration? Or why not renovate your current home to do the same?

With the R-2000 and Energy Star for New Homes initiatives, you can work with your builder to incorporate energy efficiency upgrades into your home before it’s built, to ensure that the upgrades you choose reflect your family’s lifestyle.

The R-2000 Standard and the Energy Star for New Homes are Natural Resources Canada’s Office of Energy Efficiency initiatives for new home construction. By integrating energy efficient upgrades at the design stage, you can decide which measures to take that will best suit your family. For example:

• energy efficient windows to keep heat in and prevent condensation;

• extra insulation and tight construction to minimize winter drafts and cold spots;

• a mechanical ventilation system to help make your house fresh and comfortable all year round.

The use of healthier building materials during the construction of your home, such as non-solvent adhesives, low VOC paints and formaldehyde-free cabinetry provide a healthier environment as fewer chemicals are released into the air. And when you choose to buy a new energy efficient home that meets the R-2000 standard, you often have even more choices when it comes to features that can improve the health and comfort of your family.

Or if you are instead thinking of renovating your home, an EnerGuide evaluation can help you implement improvements to address similar concerns. Having a certified energy advisor undertake an EnerGuide evaluation provides you with a current rating, an assessment of your home’s energy efficiency potential, and a prioritized list of recommended upgrades that will no only save energy, but provide a more comfortable home. It may also qualify you to participate in local incentive programs. EnerGuide Evaluations: the first step in smart home renovation.

More information is available online at

Tips to improve your indoor air quality

November 24th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

You may not think about the air quality in your home because the problem isn’t visible, but that doesn’t stop dust, dander or chemicals from polluting your air. Everyday living generates up to 40 pounds of dust in a six-room house every year, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA), the HVAC Inspection, Maintenance and Restoration Association.

Taking steps to clean the air in your home will do more than just improve air quality; it will also save you money. Twenty-five to 40 percent of the energy used for heating or cooling a home is wasted because contaminants in the heating and cooling system cause it to work inefficiently, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

If you’re interested in improving the air quality in your home and saving money while you do it, here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction.

Hire a professional to clean your most important asset

Your heating and cooling system is the lungs of your home. The system literally takes air in and breathes air out. Because of this, keeping your HVAC system and your ducts clean is the most important thing you can do to improve your home’s air quality. “If your ducts look dirty, they probably are,” is NADCA’s advice to consumers.

Have your system serviced by a certified technician. This will not only improve the quality of the air in your home, it will allow your heating and cooling system to run more efficiently, saving you money on energy bills.

Make sure to hire a NADCA-certified technician. All members have certified Air Systems Cleaning Specialists (ASCS) on staff and they are required to further their education by attending seminars and to adhere to the NADCA code of ethics.

Encourage ventilation

Today’s newer homes are built air tight, making ventilation difficult. The simplest way to encourage ventilation is to simply open windows. In the bathroom, turn on the exhaust fan to stop steam from collecting dirt and keeping it in the bathroom. In the kitchen, place any appliance that creates steam or oily vapor under the stove hood. Finally, make sure vents on the outside of your home are not blocked by leaves or snow as season dictates.

Prevent mold

Mold can be one of the most harmful contaminators of air quality. You’ll find mold in areas where moisture and poor ventilation come together. Vacuum rear grills on appliances like your fridge and freezer to improve ventilation and empty and clean any drip trays to eliminate mold. If you have a leaky pipe in your home make sure it is addressed. Take a tour outside and trim any bushes or shrubs that have grown too close as that proximity can lead to mold and algae.

Replace filters and screens

In the warmer months, clean the area around your air conditioner and repair any vermin screens on your chimney flues that may be damaged. During the cooler months, remove screens from any window that may trap condensation and make sure to change your furnace filter monthly.

Keeping the air in your home clean is just as important as washing the dishes or cleaning the clothes. The first step is to have your heating and cooling systems serviced by a NADCA technician. Once that is complete, follow these tips to maintain your air quality. To learn more about NADCA and how you can benefit from an HVAC cleaning, visit

Miami Through Japanese Eyes

November 24th, 2014 by Hal Feldman

For 24 years, Miami has cultivated a unique opportunity to shine in the eyes of students from Kagoshima, Japan. Each year, as part of the Sister Cities program, Kagoshima sends middle and high school teens to spend a week in Miami immersed in our culture, hosted by carefully selected exchange student families.

Palmetto Senior High School Japanese language teacher Mieko Avello has been deeply involved with the program for the past six years, “Beyond language, this program allows students to interact and gain life experiences they can’t get anywhere else.”

Nana with Palmetto Senior High School Japanese language teacher Mieko Avello
Nana with Palmetto Senior High School Japanese language teacher Mieko Avello

With her dedication, three of the eight visiting Japanese students spent time shadowing MPSHS students and living with their host families. We were luck enough to be a host family.

For the entire week, we immersed 14-year old Nana Kabayama in as much Miami possible. We began with dinner at Shorty’s to give her a taste of Miami. It was immediately clear this was going to be special for all of us with her broad smiles and palpable thanks. When we visited Miami Seaquarium, you could literally see her eyes opening to new things. Early on, Nana focused on our wildlife. Squirrels, iguanas and peacocks seemed her favorite. The dolphins and killer whale at Miami Seaquarium certainly entertained.

The mundane details of our lives also proved quite interesting. She marveled at the size of our drinking cups. At the movie theater where she saw ‘Big Hero 6’, Nana remarked, “Even the small size is taller than my hand!”

Signs for food and the sheer serving sizes seemed to also be impressive to her. “I want it all, but I cannot eat so much.”

One evening at home we had BBQ hamburgers and a lit the fire pit, cooking s’mores for dessert. While she certainly liked a lot of our food, s’mores seemed to be her all-time favorite.

Nana thoroughly enjoyed her time at Santa’s Enchanted Forest, a uniquely Miami Christmas-themed amusement experience (open through January 4). “The rides and lights are so pretty. It is beautiful!”

She also loved visiting Animate! Miami, Florida’s largest anime convention. “Americans can be fun, dressing as their favorite characters and playing the parts.”

One night, Nana met CBS4’s Eliott Rodriguez, Eric Folbaum and Irica Sargent during a tour of the WFOR-TV studios.

While language was certainly a barrier at times really trying converse with Nana, we were impressed with the ability to use translation apps on our iPhones to bridge the gap. Just like here in the U.S., each Japanese student certainly loved their smartphones and used them extensively during their trip.

While a smartphone and the Internet, certainly make our world smaller and seemingly more accessible, Kagoshima-Miami Sister Cities program’s chairman Jose Fuentes remarked, “We feel that both American and Japanese students are incorrectly believing that seeing photos and videos of a place constitutes experiencing that place. This program proves what we adults know, there is no substitute for the real thing.”

Before her departure, Nana and our family exchanged all the photos we took during her visit. Much like the incredible insight gained by viewing the road-trip photos taken by Raymond in the 1998 film “Rain Man”, looking at the shots from Nana’s camera provided me a unique perspective on how Miami is perceived by foreign eyes.

It is clear that we are less reserve, almost to the point of flashy and showy, and that we have more visual stimulus in our daily lives than in Japan. The photos showed that we often overlook items of beauty in our daily lives that caught Nana’s attention. A selection of her pictures can be seen in this gallery and you can click here to see some photos when the girls first arrived in Miami and met Miami Mayor Tomás Pedro Regalado.

At the goodbye dinner hosted by Miami’s Japanese Consul General Shinji Nagashima remarked with a smile, “We had eight Kagoshima students visit Miami this year, all of them female. If you are curious why, it is simply that every boy candidate failed the qualification tests.”

Shy and demure, Nana and the rest of the Japanese students certainly made their impact on our lives. It is eye-opening to hear about their culture and mannerisms, not to mention the reflection of Miami they provided.

Next year in November will mark the 25th anniversary of the Kagoshima-Miami Sister Cities exchange program. Like many cultural events of its kind, it needs support. Jose Fuentes quickly pointed out, “We are not necessarily looking for money or charity. “We need the support and awareness of the community that will then prompt the Miami government to fund and keep this worthy program going.” The Kagoshima government funds 75% of the costs of their students’ trips. Miami shoulders no costs for our students headed there.

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‘Tis the season for sharing…germs

November 19th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

(NC) – The hustle and bustle of the Holiday celebrations will soon be upon us. The office parties are already in full swing and store front windows are all decked out in holiday glitz. Your Christmas lights and decorations are up and all that is left is to do is entertain family and friends.

This time of year can be wonderful, but it also brings a certain amount of stress. The last minute shopping, family visits, kids running around the house, and over-crowded shopping centres is exhausting just to think about.

All of that added stress can also affect your immune system. Hugs and handshakes represent golden opportunities for viruses, parasites, and bacteria to join in the spirit of holiday sharing. You wonder how you will ever make it through the season without catching something.

And then you may ask yourself: Can probiotics really boost my immune system? The answer is yes.

According to Dietitian and nutritionist, Annie Jolicoeur, many clinical studies have demonstrated the benefits of probiotics in terms of preventing and treating the common cold, the flu, and gastroenteritis. “Taking probiotics reduces the severity and duration of symptoms like fever, coughing, runny nose, and even diarrhea. Therefore, it is recommended that all members of the family take probiotics every day,” she explained.

Jolicoeur recommends Probaclac as the ideal solution since it provides probiotic complexes that are designed specifically for every age group: children up to the age of 15, adults (can be taken from the age of 15), and older adults (age 50 and up).

Maintaining a healthy intestinal flora helps to protect against the penetration of bacteria, parasites, and viruses, Jolicoeur advised. “Did you know that the intestinal mucous membrane acts as the “cornerstone” of your overall health? Two-thirds of the immune-defence cells in your body are found there. Therefore, your immune system is enhanced when you take probiotics.”

Here’s a tip: she recommends you start taking probiotics at least 2 weeks before the holiday season begins, so that your body will be well prepared to ward off the oncoming germ attacks.
More information on the benefits of probiotics is available at

The future of the family road trip

November 11th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

For families, time on the road is a part of life, whether you’re going for a family vacation or traveling to visit grandparents for the holidays. While time in the car together is nothing new, the way families are spending their time in the car and the tools that help get them safely to their destinations are rapidly evolving.

Nowadays, kids are less likely to pass the time playing 20 questions than they are to watch their favorite movie on an iPad. And while you might have once reached for the atlas to find your way, GPS systems or mobile phones have long since replaced your paper maps.

Each day new car and mobile technologies are improving the way families travel. New safety features, tools to help with directions, finding amenities, and increased entertainment options are available for passengers. But what if all of these helpful tools were integrated into one easy-to-use system within the family car?

Comprehensive in-vehicle systems designed to provide drivers with useful information may soon be the norm. Technology experts at Intel are currently working with automakers on in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) systems that have the potential to make the family road trip safer and more entertaining for everyone involved.

It is estimated that automobiles will be among the top three fastest growing Internet connected devices for Internet-based content by 2014, according to technology research form Gartner. This should come as no surprise given consumer demand for access to their digital lives anytime, anywhere, since the average American driver spends 18 hours a week behind the wheel. That’s over two months every year spent in the car.

So how exactly could this type of technology help traveling families? Here are a few examples of the types of travel-friendly features that experts at Intel are exploring with leaders in the automotive industry:

* Cars could have a driver’s side display that would be able to offer alerts about upcoming traffic signs and relay images about blind spots from cameras placed in a car. Alerts about upcoming stop signs or exits would be especially beneficial when driving in unfamiliar territory.

* What could be worse than a flat tire while on vacation? Emergency sensors connected to the car’s infotainment system could alert you immediately when a tire loses pressure, giving you time to safely pull over or make it to the next exit for help. The intelligent infotainment system could also provide directions to the nearest repair shop.

* Like to travel with other families? New connected cars will offer you the ability to connect with other cars in your caravan through GPS tracking.  No need to describe your location over the phone or two-way radio.

* Have you made a habit of streaming your children’s favorite shows through a subscription service like Netflix? Soon, these types of entertainment options could be standard in the car’s in-vehicle infotainment system, and music and video files could be kept in one place. You could even stream different movies on each of the backseat screens to accommodate everyone in the family.

To see more of what your family road trips might look like in the future, visit

Simple home updates to make your neighbors green with envy

November 11th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

Making a good first impression
Your home can’t look great if you can’t see it, so updating outdoor lighting is a great first step to achieving the best-looking house on the block. Chances are your exterior porch lights or street lamp may be rusty or faded. Luckily, you can bring new life to your lighting with a single can of spray paint. New Krylon Dual Paint and Primer is a one-step solution to easily transform any light fixture.  The unique formula primes the surface for adhesion, durability and coverage, while delivering a high-quality finish. Best of all, Dual is now available in specialty finishes, such as hammered and metallic, that are perfect for adding an extra dose of style. 
Still looking for more illumination?  Adding decorative lanterns to walkways or porches is an easy and inexpensive way to add charm and light. You can often find these pieces at yard sales, thrift stores or dollar stores and then simply paint them in a matching hammered or metallic finish for a bright and stylish look. 
Quick color
The front door is a focal point of your home – especially with the added lighting you’ve updated – so be sure that your doors and shutters are a vivid shade. If yours have been dulled by years of sun and weather, it’s time to update with paint. For metal doors and shutters, you can use a variety of spray or bucket paints in your favorite hue. However, for plastic shutters, Krylon Fusion for Plastic is the ideal choice since it bonds to plastic without the need for priming or sanding.
Simple%20home%20updatesA tidy and neat yard
No matter what the size of your front yard, a well manicured lawn is important to boosting your curb appeal. Simple one-weekend tasks like edging, trimming bushes and removing unsightly weeds can make a huge difference without a lot of work or cost. To keep your efforts looking great, spray weed killer to maintain a polished look for the rest of the season.  After the initial grooming, add new mulch and flowers in beds or in brightly painted pots for an extra pop of color and style. 
Fill in the blanks
The final task to a great looking home that will have your neighbors lusting, is to repair or replace any elements that have deteriorated over time. Walk around the perimeter of your home to check for cracks in bricks or concrete, stains on the driveway or sidewalks, and loose shutters or downspouts. Sprucing up these basics will not only make a big difference to the exterior appearance, but protect your home from damages in the future. 
Now, with all the home decorating and hard work complete, your neighbors will be green with envy when looking at your beautiful home and will be trying to keep up with you.
For more information on Krylon products or projects, visit
Caption 1: Outdoor lighting is a great first step to achieving the best-looking house on the block. 
Caption 2: Are your outdoor lights rusty or faded? Bring new life to your lighting with a single can of spray paint.

Anthony Bourdain talks last meal on earth, advice for restaurateurs; old-school cocktails

November 5th, 2014 by Brenda Bassett

(BPT) – TV’s best-fed hedonist, Anthony Bourdain, is keeping busy these days with his hit travel series “Parts Unknown,” his publishing career and an upcoming appearance at this year’s National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show in Chicago. Love him or hate him, Bourdain is the biggest, baddest food dude on the planet. The self-proclaimed “chef slacker” shares his advice for restaurateurs and new chefs, and talks about his desired last meal on Earth and love of old-school cocktails.

Q. You have 24 hours left on Earth: Where would you go, and what would you eat?

A. “Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo. I would sit down in front of the greatest sushi master that I’ve ever met and eat whatever he puts down in front of me. That would probably take about 22 minutes, if past experiences are my guide. I’ve had it before, and it’s one of the greatest meals of my life. If I’m going to be shot in the back of the head after a meal, that would be a good way to go.”

Q. You’ve made it well-known that you started in the restaurant industry by washing dishes. What’s one piece of advice that you wish you could tell your former self about the restaurant industry?

A. “I was a very happy dishwasher! I just wanted to be part of it. I didn’t want to necessarily rule the world. I made a lot of decisions along the way where I chose to have fun rather than to excel. I chose to be a chef rather than the student of a really talented first-rate chef. I made a conscious decision not be the best that I can be. I was pretty set in my ways about the kinds of kitchens that I felt comfortable in and wanted to work in, and that was not conducive to me ever becoming a Michelin-starred chef. I think that the greatest lesson I ever learned in the restaurant business (and I learned it early) was: Show up on time. Whatever work, whatever commitment, you have, always show up on time to show the people who you work with the respect that you can at least do that.”

Q. Which chefs are most exciting to you now that you could see establishing future partnerships within your publishing career?

A. “For the chefs that I’ve published and hope to publish, it’s not just about the food. It’s people who are doing interesting things and who have an interesting story and point of view. The recent chef books I would have loved to publish would be Gabrielle Hamilton’s memoir (Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef) of The Joe Beef Guys. There are real voices there of people who are saying something new and interesting to create a whole world and mindset that explains the food. Generally speaking, I look for someone who has a powerful voice and can explain why they cook the way that they cook in a personal and dynamic way. Roy Choi’s book is coming out soon, and I think that he will be a good example of that.”

Q. What’s the best advice that you have for restaurateurs facing the challenges of today?

A. “Today’s restaurants need to have a concise vision of what they are good at and what they have to offer that is different from the guy across the street. Restaurateurs need to speak in a strong confident voice, saying, ‘I might not be good at some things, but I’m good at this, and this is what I’m going to do.’ I think the days of trying to be everything to everybody are over now. We have an empowered chef class now and a much more curious, daring and younger dining public. I think the future is going to be chefs who speak with a coherent, concise voice with a real identity. Own that this is what I do. More of like in Asia where you have the roast duck guy and the chicken and rice guy.”

Q. What do you look for in your favorite cocktail?-

A. “I am a big fan of cocktails, but if takes you more than 10 minutes to make it, there’s a problem. I’m an old-school guy: Give me a good Manhattan, old fashioned, or the perfect Negroni with the finest gin, vermouth and campari with maybe a slightly toasted almond zest, and I’m a happy guy. I think the standard for me is, is the drink that I’m about to make with bourbon better than bourbon?”