For years, my friends from London and I have discussed how badly Miami needs a good British Restaurant to come in and represent how absolutely delicious food from the UK can be, especially if it's cooked by my dear friend Francesca's husband, celebrity chef Andy Bates. We even brainstormed the concept on a recent road trip and started up a pitch document, but didn't really know where to turn next.
Enter, the A&Eats competition. Frenchy forwarded me an article from the Miami New Times publicizing a contest that touts itself as "The Search for Miami's Next Great Restaurant". Organized by local online publication, The New Tropic, and up and coming neighborhood, The Arts & Entertainment (A&E) District, the competition will award 1-year's free rent and a kitchen build to the best team concept based on originality, know-how and community.
After missing the initial deadline, I coincidentally ran into one of the contest organizers who informed me it had been extended, so we rushed to get all of our ideas on paper and fill out the lengthy application. After 10 days of nervously checking every email ping for news, we were told today that we've made it to the semi-finals! There were close to 100 entries from all over the country, including some well-known local restaurants looking to expand their brands... so we're pretty proud to even be considered among the heavy-weights, even if this is as far as we make it.
Another round of applications awaits us. If we get passed that, we will be interviewed by the contest organizers and then head to a public voting round after, should we impress them. The final round will be a cook-off, for which Andy would have to fly in because I definitely can't make fish & chips or pie & mash!
For a creative like myself, this is kind of a dream project... I'm really looking forward to the next round where we'll begin branding and get more ideas down on paper.
- Idea Garden President & Creative Director, Vivian Belzaguy