By: JEN KARETNICK
One local chef spills the tea on what it takes to be on the cusp of stardom.
After launching her YouTube series titled “Searching for Maximum Flavor with Chef Adrianne,” opening of several restaurants, and working on an MBA from Harvard Business School, it’s tempting to call chef Adrianne Calvo a rising star with lots on her plate. Yet, she is not hung up on labels, nor their reflection on her hard work dating back to her high school culinary classes in Chicago. “I am just so grateful and happy to be doing what I’m doing,” she says. “Even more so now during these crazy times. That’s all the charge-up I need!”
She has always required little else but appreciation for life’s quirks to fuel her drive. A Johnson & Wales graduate, with stints at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami, and in Napa Valley with Thomas Keller and Cindy Pawlcyn, Calvo self-published her first cookbook, Maximum Flavor, in 2005. Two years later, she had sold enough books to foot the bill for her first venture, Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar, influenced by Calvo’s time in wine country. In addition to opening the instantaneously popular Forte on Miami’s Miracle Mile, she found the time to move her Vineyard and Wine Bar to the former Devon Seafood & Steak location. This shuffle took place just two months after the re-opening of the hurricane-damaged Redfish Grill at the historic Matheson Hammock Park. All that, plus she shifted her local/seasonal/sustainable concept Cracked by Chef Adrianne from a pop-up to permanent location.
With so many moving pieces, what hasn’t changed is Calvo’s dedicated fan base that follows her from restaurant to restaurant, location to location. “Most have grown up with me and have been on this journey alongside me from day one,” she explains. “They get as excited as I do when I open a new spot and flock over!”
Still, despite a growing profile, or maybe because of it, Calvo is still on the verge of being discovered, a place she finds motivating. “I love it!” she admits. “That means there’s still a lot of work to be done!”