A heartfelt sit down with the brilliant culinary champion, Adrianne Calvo
With two distinguished and popular restaurants in Miami, six published cookbooks, an Emmy-nominated Youtube series, and a newly launched Cabernet Sauvignon, we sat down with Chef Adrianne Calvo for one of the most exhilarating interviews yet. She has created a multifaceted culinary empire despite the pressures, and she is Under 40.
What’s been the most difficult challenge in becoming this incredibly successful?
- Challenges come up every single day and they come in several different forms. We must possess the stamina and intelligence to face them. The tangible ones are much easier. I can fix a problem or an issue that is factual, physical, or material.
What or who are you most inspired/influenced by?
- Anything that says “based on a true story”. I’m inspired by others struggle to triumph. Films , documentaries, and interviews on ‘what it takes’ really give me goosebumps, the good kind. Music inspires me on a daily. Great conversations lead you to that creative place where breakthroughs happen. My corporate executive chef, Egg Siu, and I will bounce back ideas for days, months, and then poof! It happens.
You are always giving more. It would be easier for you to give less but you don’t. It is evident in your restaurants, in your philanthropy, and in finding ways to give more of your talent to your fans. You always want to give more and more, why is that?
- I think of myself as a creative person. I love creating beautiful experiences for my guests. It is so rewarding for me. I’ve also been in a 15 year relationship with my following. We’ve grown up together, we have evolved together. Like any relationship, you want to keep showing your person how much you love them and appreciate them. The giving back, that is just something we must do as humans. God has blessed me very much, and that is the very least I can do, give back.
Being a woman in your field I am sure you face a lot of challenges and obstacles, what can you share?
- To much to download here but recently I’ve learned that it’s much easier for a woman to attain power than it is to maintain power.
What is your favorite dish to cook?
- I don’t have one. I love cooking in general.
What is the Best Dish you have ever made ?
- I haven’t made it yet.
You have now entered the wine world with your own private label, “A Family Vineyards” . What inspired you to dive into wine?
- Napa Valley was the spark, the inspiration behind Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Bar. I have been in love with that place since I was 20 years old. The stories behind the wine and the vineyards, the connection of the people to the land, and the importance of that connection, was all consuming to me. I have always dreamed of the perfect wine. I guess it’s just the natural progression of our story.
You are magnificent in your series “Searching for Maximum Flavor.” Raw and real, we felt like we were your third travel companion. I want to hang out with you and chef Egg Siu. What was your favorite destination and why?
- Thank you. My favorite was Napa Valley because it hits home on every level and Oaxaca because it took be out of my comfort zone and wowed me beyond what I could imagine.
Will there be a season two?
- God willing, yes.
You are Executive Producer of Searching for Maximum Flavor. What motivated you to do that?
- You mentioned that it was raw and real. This is a sentiment that I’d like to preserve. Being a creator, I wanted to have creative control in the process. I’m not an actor. I am a journalist. I wanted viewers to feel just like you did, the third travel companion.
You have fans everywhere. My boss was fan-girling when she found out I was interviewing you. How do you handle it?
- I am so thankful. It’s an incredible feeling to be loved for your craft. But at the end of the day, I am just Adri.
You’ve written several books, opened several restaurants, you have a live cooking segment, you’ve created a private wine label, you executive produced a travel series. You are not just Adri. You are not just anything. What’s next?
- I don’t know. I just hope to be creating and growing. I hope to keep inspired and serving.
You recently won Best Chef in Miami and your restaurant won Best Restaurant in South Miami-Dade. Is that a lot of pressure? How do you deal with it? • Of course there is. There’s external pressures and then there is the pressure I put on myself. But I ground myself and remind myself what it is we are doing. Creating wonderful things for others, places and dishes to be enjoyed by others, and as long as we keep creating them from a place of love, then there’s nothing to be worried about and creativity is infinite because love is infinite.
More about Chef Adrianne:
Chef Adrianne Calvo opened her namesake restaurant, Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Bar at the age of 22. Now open over 15 years, and collecting accolade over accolade as it carved out its position on the culinary stage, such as 8 Most Innovative Restaurants in Miami, Best Chef Miami, Best Chef Florida, New Times Miami Best Restaurant, Thrillist’s 50 Things to Eat Before You Die, Thrillist’s 17 Most Important Restaurants in Miami, Thrillist’s Most Influential Restaurants, Zagat’s 10 Totally Unique Restaurants in America, Zagat’s Top 6 Restaurants Worth a Drive, and Zagat’s 9 Most Romantic Restaurants.
In 2019, Chef Adrianne launched her fine-casual eatery, Cracked by Chef Adrianne. Equal parts fun as it is serious about food, Cracked by Chef Adrianne has been featured on Food Network, CNN, and Delish boasting about its “drool-worthy” cuisine. In a true testament to her passion and drive, her culinary empire has now expanded to Redfish by Chef Adrianne, Forte by Chef Adrianne, and Baked by Chef Adrianne.
Among Chef Adrianne Calvo’s hard earned achievements, beyond her staple Miami Restaurants – are six cookbooks, Maximum Flavor (2005); Driven by Flavor, Fueled by Fire (2008); #MaximumFlavorSocial (2014); Play with Fire (2015); and The A List,
a two volume work released in 2018. She has appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox and Friends, Fox News, Food Network’s Chopped, Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay, The Talk, Pickler and Ben, Morning’s with Maria, CNN, Hallmark Channel, and has a weekly cooking segment on NBC 6 in the Mix for over 14 years.
Chef Adrianne has earned corporate sponsorships and endorsements from brands such as Reebok, AirBnB, Jaguar, Samuel Adams, The British Virgin Islands, Diamond Resorts International, Baptist Health, St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, Anguilla Culinary Experience, AYS Sports, Casillerodel Diablo, Royal Caribbean International, F1, Senorio Mezcal, Scrub Island, Jack Daniels, Got Milk?, Hormal, Amerant Bank, Super Bowl LIV, ChefWorks, Sprint, Crocs, Nissan, Hormal, and Sprint.
Also known for her philanthropic work, Chef Adrianne Calvo launched The Make It Count Foundation in 2007 inspired by her younger sister, Jennifer who passed away from a rare cancer. Jennifer’s motto was “Make It Count” and now that has become the inspiration and driving force behind her non-profit organization whose goal is to make a difference and positively impact the lives of children and teens nationwide. The foundation has aligned with several organizations such as St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital (Chef Adrianne is the Culinary Ambassador), Susan G. Komen, Flippany, Cooking Matters, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Easter Seals, and many more.
Chef Adrianne is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University and Harvard Business School.
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