Today I submitted as story to The Miami New Times after taking an interview for a sales position I had no interest in and charming the advertising director who just so happens to share his taste in serial-killers with me. After denying the position with a witty letter mailed to him along a Dexter bobblehead that I gave up from my apartment, and recently re bought, I got what I wanted: my writing handed to the Editor-in-Chief of the risque publication, Chuck Strousse.
And after attending Iron Fork under the pretense of stalking him and sending him various e-mail I got him to respond …
And so this is the story I submitted and what will decided whether I get one step closer to being the Carrie Bradshaw of food and of Miami.
Giorgio Rapicavoli: Chef or Carpenter?
Today kicks off the most overindulging week of the year as millions of Americans gear up for the Thanksgiving holiday, which combines no work, football, and lots of food. Thank you pilgrims.
And while many restaurants are getting ready to close their doors for the weekend, one in particular is getting ready to open … permanently.
Former pop-up restaurant Eating House will open its doors this Friday November 23rd with a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating all they have to be thankful for: a fresh new look, soon-to-come lunch service, and Henry Hane.
When Eating House closed in late September nobody anticipated a permanent return, not even owner and head chef Giorgio Rapicavoli. With a month to go to his 27 birthday (he’s a Scorpio ladies) Rapicavoli decided to give himself a splendid birthday gift and buy out Café Ponce. He also took a 20-day trip to Chicago and California in which all he did was eat. “This trip really influenced me in ways I have never been before. I’m really taking notice of molecular gastronomy. Done right it’s really sexy,” says the young barely 27 year old chef. He was able to get reservations (months in advance) at Alinea in Chicago where he had the dish that made the biggest impression of his whole trip: a razor clam. “It was hidden in this crazy concoction of seaweed and other creatures of the sea, but it was shining, almost talking, singing to me, and I listened.” That’s deep.
Eating House, set to open this past Friday, got a bit delayed due to the chef’s I-do-whatever-the fuck-I-want-attitude, which goes perfectly with his camouflage cargo shorts and tattoos. “And whoever doesn’t like it can go fuck themselves.” His words, not ours, but don’t let that scare you. There’s much to like in the new Eating House. Its new look resembles that of a street, one that’s under construction, but with lots of promise. Ghost wood and muted gray walls with industrial lighting give the feel of a place that could very well have cows, pigs, or even a ram just outside waiting to be caught, cooked to order, and served for dinner – on handmade tables.
Yes, Rapicavoli has used his hands for something other than dicing tomatoes to make whipped gazpacho, which he’s officially adding to the menu, and breaking eggs to make his pasta MY WAY carbonara. Handmade tables made his way add just another rustic touch to create the setting he and partner and long-time friend Alex Cassanova are aiming to create for EH. “One table top would cost us over 100 dollars each. We were able to make the all the tables exactly how we want for $250,” says front-of-house expert Alex Cassanova. “They’re fucking edgy,” adds Rapicavoli. He sounds sexy cursing while operating heavy machinery. “We’re sticking to the same premise as when we popped up, just a bit refined. We still don’t have expensive china or even plates that match.” Beautiful rock-like plates from Crate and Barrel will serve as the cold surface for raw and earthy like tartars and his citrus tomato staple, while charcoal colored bowls and eggshell plates from Ikea give the chef ways to play around with colors like that of his green brussels sprouts and fried egg. A great color contrast to match the graffiti on the walls and concept they started out with – if food is art then we’re making graffiti. “Food is still art, so we’re still making graffiti. Now you’ll just have tables and food made by me, and graffiti that’s going up on the walls for good. No more of taking it down during the day shit.” There he goes again.
EH will be bringing back their Sunday brunch dubbed Wakin’-n-Bacon, where they’ll be bakin’ (captain toast crunch pancakes, what else?), but will be opening for lunch come the new year with a more casual, over the counter type service, and a different menu. “I want to do more grub food for lunch, you know things you can eat with your hands.” Expect to see different and more refined dishes from him, flavor-wise and texturally … sexy. That’s what his food will be like – sexy, just like him and his new Sous Chef Henry Hane.
Former Señora Martinez Sous Chef, Hane has known Rapicavoli since cooking school. After Señora Martinez closed its doors Hane left to Spain and has now come back to the states to form part of the culinary team Eating House. With Rapicavoli’s Italian and Mediterranean influence and experience from working in Spanish restaurants (Olivos and Por Fin) and Hane’s passion and execution for Spanish food, it will be very interesting to see the things that the two of them will get their hands on.
Giorgio Rapicavoli? Chef or carpenter? Right now as he sits on the floor surrounded by tools and a hammer instead of knives slicing wood and not wearing his apron it’s hard to tell. One thing is clear. This Friday won’t be black, as we’ll have one more thing to be thankful for after leftovers: a house built to eat and to last.
Stay tuned …