Cooking in the home kitchen with Chef Michelle Bernstein.By Lisa Petrillo

MIAMI (CBS Miami) – CBS4 is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at the home of Miami’s unofficial queen of Latin cooking Chef Michelle Bernstein.

“So Michelle, how exciting is this to do this in your home here?” asked CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

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“This is beautiful. I love having you here. I’m so excited,” said chef Bernstein.

(CBS4)

Bernstein’s Latin style of cooking has made her a James Beard Award Winner and a celebrity chef.

“Well not only am I four generations Argentinian, but also I was born here so my roots are Miami, and what is Miami? We are everything. It’s just a beautiful mix and as the years go on, I seem to be learning more,” she said.

Bernstein, who with her husband David Martinez, currently owns Cafe La Trova, a Cuban inspired restaurant and bar in Little Havana.

They recently opened La Canita, which celebrates the food and flavor of the tropics, and they are partners in a highly popular bar and restaurant on Miami Beach called Sweet Liberty. She also has Michelle Bernstein Catering, or MBC, where the food comes to you.

“We do all sorts of events. I tell people from 1 to 2000 is my limit and so I thought I do a couple of things from there that’s also from my life. Because what’s going on in your life, goes on every menu,” she said.

With her Sous Chef Oscar, her dog nearby, Michelle whipped up a dish from MBC catering for them, plus a few others.

Michelle Bernstein’s warm ceviche with mojo ajo. (CBS4)

“I thought I’d make you a quick warm ceviche with mojo ajo. It has a very green color,” she said. “We’re going to make it over a tostada with a little bit of avocado.”

They add the Tahini dressing and pomegranates to her roasted veggies and Petrillo finishes off Bernstein’s Mom’s recipe for arroz con pollo with an olive and tomato salad on top.

“Look Ma I’m cooking,” Petrillo said joking.

“You don’t cook?” asked Bernstein?

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“No, I actually do, but not with a chef like you,” said Petrillo.

During the pandemic, when all of her restaurants shut down, Bernstein joined up with World Central Kitchen’s Chef Jose Andres.

“What we did with him, was we started feeding schools in town and more and more we’ve been doing that now because of his inspiration. We do a lot with different schools in the Kiwanis Club wherever we can we try to help out,” said Bernstein.

“Check Please” on PBS is one of two cooking shows Bernstein currently hosts as well as being a wife and mom to 10-year-old Zachary. Busy is an understatement.

“As long as you have some type of meal together one part of the day, I think that everything else kind of works out. It’s amazing how food can bring so much peace,” she said.

While enjoying the delicious Shrimp tostadas she prepared, Bernstein asked, “It has a great chew, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” said Petrillo. “The avocado gives it smoothness and creaminess,” said Petrillo.

“Yes. I always need a little fat from somewhere.”

For more on Michelle Bernstein click www.mbcmiami.com

If you want to try Michelle Bernstein’s Shrimp Tostadas at home, here is the recipe: (Serves 4)

For the tostada: 

  • 4 corn tortillas
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil, for brushing tortilla with olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Directions:
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • Brush a baking sheet with olive oil or line with a sheet of parchment paper.
  • Brush one side of the tortillas with olive oil, transfer to the baking sheet.
  • Brush the other side of the tortilla with olive oil and lightly season with salt.
  • Bake for 5 minutes on one side, then flip over and continue baking for 5-10 until golden brown and crispy like a chip.
  • The tortillas will become crispier as they cool.

Ceviche:

  • 12 (16/20 size) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 scallions, sliced thin
  • 1 teaspoon seeded jalapenos
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
  • salt and pepper

Directions:

  • Heat the oil in a medium size sauté pan over medium heat.
  • Add the ginger and scallions and cook until golden.
  • Add the shrimp, season heavily with salt.
  • Add the jalapenos and cook for 1 minute.
  • Shut off the heat and add everything else to the pan.
  • Spoon some shrimp and sauce/veggies over the shrimp and if desired serve with some sliced avocado!

 

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Lisa Petrillo