Michelle Bernstein (born March 21, 1970) is a James Beard Foundation Award-winning chef from Miami, Florida. She has drawn widespread acclaim for her culinary skills and as an expert in Latin-style flavors of cooking.
The daughter of an Argentine-Jewish mother and a father with Russian-Jewish roots, Bernstein graduated from high school at 16 and moved to New York City to study dance at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. When an injury cut her career as a ballerina short, she returned to Miami to study culinary arts at Johnson & Wales University.
Chef Bernstein is a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award, South 2008.
In 2001 she opened the restaurant Azul at the Mandarin Oriental and was soon lauded for her sophisticated haute cuisine by Esquire Magazine food critic John Mariani, who dubbed it "the best new restaurant in America.
Bernstein was previously a co-host of the Food Network series Melting Pot and was once in a battle on Iron Chef America versus Bobby Flay, from which she emerged victorious. She has since appeared on numerous shows, including as a guest judge on Top Chef. She also continues to host her PBS weekly television series, Check, Please! South Florida and is a regular guest on multiple national television shows, including The Today Show, the Martha Stewart Show, and Univision Network’s top-rated morning show, Despierta America.
In 2005, Bernstein and her husband, David Martinez, became business partners and left Azul to open Michy's together in Miami. Gourmet Magazine declared it one of the "Top 50 restaurants in the country" and Food & Wine Magazine dubbed it "Best New Restaurant 2006".
Their third restaurant arrived in 2008, called SRA. Martinez, an eclectic tapas restaurant in the Miami Design District. In 2009, SRA. Martinez was dubbed one of the "Best New Restaurants in America" by food critic John Mariani in Esquire Magazine. They are currently planning their fourth venture together, Michelle Bernstein, a new restaurant to open in Fall 2009. Bernstein has also opened a Miami chapter of Common Threads, a program designed to inspire culinary prowess in underprivileged children ages 8–11. It's an after-school program that meets weekly and instills in youngsters the importance of balanced, nutritious meals. Bernstein said in a 2011 interview, with Aventura Business Monthly, that many of the kids she mentors are fortunate to get "fast food" for dinner most nights.
In 2011, Michelle opened Crumb on Parchment, a cozy cafe in the heart of the Miami Design District.
In 2015, Bernstein and her husband opened Seagrape at the Thompson hotel, Miami Beach; they also run all food and beverage operations in the Hotel.
In April 2015 debuted her own TV show "SoFlo Taste", "will celebrate the food of South Florida and the people who love it," she said.
- "Try home-cooked, hearty pork chop 'schnitzel' Chef Michelle Bernstein shares her secrets to a potential family favorite". Today. msnbc.com. September 16, 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2010.
- Jewish Women's International: "Michelle Bernstein Cooking Up Inspired Fusion Cuisine Susan" by Susan Josephs retrieved February 21, 2017
- "Chef Michelle Bernstein Michelle Bernstein to discuss her Jewish roots" by Marvin Glassman retrieved February 21, 2017
- chefmichellebernstein.com Archived 2009-06-22 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed on September 24, 2009
- "News Release: Delta's New Celebrity Chef Michelle Bernstein Spices Up International Dining Experience for BusinessElite Customers". news.delta.com. Atlanta: Delta Air Lines. 2006-05-04. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "In-flight Services: BusinessElite Dining". delta.com. Delta Air Lines. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
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- "Michelle Bernstein Included on List of South Florida's Best & Brightest (May 2011)". Aventura Business Monthly. May 1, 2011. Archived from the original on 30 April 2011. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- "Local 10 to debut 'SoFlo Taste' featuring chef Michelle Bernstein". local10.com. 2015-03-23. Retrieved 2015-11-25.