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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Some South Florida chefs really want you to eat your vegetables and fruits and they’re making it tasty.

It’s star chefs like Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House and Glass & Vine along with Nicole Votano who has launched restaurants like Charcoal Garden Bar & Grill, Dirt and Fooq’s that are sending that message and they’re not the only ones.

sdsa Move Over Meat, Chefs Making Plants Star Of The Meal

Watermelon Tiradito From Eating House (Source: Instagram/ @grapicavoli)

They’re using the Seed Food & Wine Week to show off their creative plant-based dishes that will be the star of the meal at the Made In Miami dinner this weekend at the Nautilus South Beach.

“Eating vegetables is never going to hurt anybody,” said Rapicavoli. “I just think people can learn that deliciousness can come from other ways.”

Instead of using fish for the dinner, Rapicavoli’s take on tiradito is made out of sliced watermelon that’s been frozen three times and drained of its juice. It’s a process he says gives it the texture of tuna.

And he’s not throwing away the rest of it. The squeezed juice is used along with part of the rind to make Leche de Tigre, the sauce in the dish.

He’s calling it “root to leaf” dining – the idea that you use every edible part of the plant.

“It’s respecting the produce and the farmers. Nothing should be thrown away,” said Rapicavoli.

Votano is taking advantage of the season to cook up some soup – Butternut squash soup with cashew cream and pomegranate.

Plant-based meals and quality ingredients are, to say the least, something of a passion for her. It’s a passion she would like to share with those looking for a delicious dish.

“I think that you can go and have these amazing experiences that are plant-based and it doesn’t have to feel like you’re having a plant. It doesn’t always have to taste so granola or bland,” said Votano. “A lot of the times it’s the opposite.”

For Chef Richard Fuentes, from the Nautilus Cabana Club, creating plant-based meals is about teaching this generation and the next about healthy eating.

“It’s about knowing, from the root, why this is so important when it comes to taking care of ourselves,” said Fuentes who is creating a mushroom ravioli dish with truffles.

“I choose the mushroom because of the taste and quality,” he said.

For each chef, their dish comes with a message of sorts.

For Fuentes, it’s about the next generation.

“We need to teach the kids how the new future of food is changing,” said Fuentes.

For Votano, who has been part of the festival from the very beginning, the most important thing is knowing the root of it all.

“I think the most important thing to know is where your food is coming from,” said Votano.

For Rapicavoli, it’s all about balance.

“I am a firm believer in don’t have a burger every single day,” said Rapicavoli. “It’s about preservation and going back to old school style and really respecting the ingredients.”

Seed Food and Wine Week, which starts Wednesday and runs until Sunday, will have about 200 exhibitors and more than 40 celebrity plant-based chefs along with vegan experts, athletes and authors.

Click here for more information on the event. 


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