South Beach Food & Wine Festival

7 Questions with Mindy Kobrin

7 Questions is a series of interviews with the culinary movers and shakers you want or ought to know better.

Since I started the 7 Questions series I have had the opportunity to interview some incredibly talented chefs, innovative bloggers and even a radio host who specializes in the cuisine of Disney.  But this is the first time I have ever interviewed a Lifestyle & Celebration Specialist.

Mindy Kobrin is the founder of Mindy’s Meals on Heels, a catering and party planning venture that is way more than just a catering and party planning venture.  Kobrin draws on an amazing manifest of professional experience to create one-of-a-kind celebratory experiences for her clients.  She also teaches you how to do it via her blog.

Kobrin was the Development Director of Fundraising for the Princess Grace Foundation and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco II and The Princely Family where she headed fund raising and corporate sponsorship for all events including two annual galas that raised over a million dollars.  She was also a member of Daniel Boulud’s culinary team at Feast & Fetes that organized special events such as the Jazz Aspen Festival and South Beach Food & Wine Festival.

Additionally Mindy has flexed her fashionista muscle having worked as a merchandise analyst for Saks Fifth Avenue.  She has also studied graduate courses in International Relations in London.  Recently Mindy Kobrin answered 7 Questions:

1. What exactly does a “Lifestyle & Celebration Specialist” do?

Mindy Korbin of Mindy's Meals on HeelsThe go-to Entertaining and Celebrations Expert site, MealsonHeelsbyMindy.com, fuses food, fashion and travel to create menus and parties with international flare and panache.  Every party I plan, no matter the size, is a unique cultural experience that bridges the gap between formal gala and affordable dinner party. As founder of Meals on Heels, I feel the best part of event planning is building menus and creating an idea from scratch–no rules.

Eat well.  Feel well.  Entertain well.

2. When did you decide that you could turn your passions into a career?

As a young girl growing up in Orlando with Walt Disney World and Epcot Center practically in my backyard, I grew up feeling  inspired to entertain with wonderment, travel and great food–all components of a successful “Cultural Ambassador” so to speak.

3. Professionally, who has influenced you the most?

So many people and places around the globe have played a big role in shaping my career.

Historically, both Amelia Earhart and Dorothy Draper, both dynamic innovators of their time, encouraged women to be fearless, unique, adventurous and full of individuality.  Their spirit remains priceless and near to my heart.

Secondly, New York City and its many outstanding chefs inspire me 24-7, 365 days a year!

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Princely Family with whom I worked with directly on numerous events domestically and internationally, demonstrated glamour with goodness and unwavering commitment to philanthropy and the environment.

4. If you hadn’t followed this career path, what other career could you see yourself in?

Foreign Service and Diplomacy.

5. What’s the highlight of your career so far?

Traveling the world and befriending some of the best chefs and entertainers.

An over the top experience which left an indelible mark on me was with Bugatti in Baden-Baden, Germany.  On an airstrip, in-between flight take-offs, I was so lucky to have a ride in the Bugatti Veyron– a 1001 horse-power car valued over $1,000,000.  With speeds close to 200mph, it felt like we could lift off and fly over the Black Forest!

6. What is your guilty pleasure?

Extravagant guilty pleasure: Traveling to the Mediterranean every summer–especially Greek Isles.

Frequent guilty pleasure:  Making homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups and sharing them with friends over a robust bottle of Mendoza-Argentine wine.

7. What’s next for Mindy Kobrin?

With dear friends, the exciting journey continues to unfold – Book, TV and nibbling the world one great recipe/event at a time while giving back to the community.

Chefs vs. City Season 2

This Sunday Iron Chef: America (the greatest show on TV – sorry, Smallville) takes the night off so that former ICA challengers Chris Cosentino and Aarón Sánchez can kick off season 2 of Chefs vs. City.  And just as in the season 1 premiere the guys will be going up against two of their own, Sunny Anderson (Cooking For Real) and Claire Robinson (Five Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge).

For those unfamiliar with the show Food Network describes it thusly:

Sánchez and CosentinoThis is the ultimate foodie tour. In each episode of Chefs vs. City, Food Network chefs Aarón Sánchez and Chris Cosentino challenge two local foodies in an action-packed food adventure to locate that city’s biggest, boldest, most unexpected food places. From wine stomping in Malibu, to eating the spiciest curry in all of NYC, to braving the coldest room in Las Vegas, Chefs vs. City will test the wits, guts, and skills of both teams as they race to the finish line.

In other words it’s an extravagant scavenger hunt.

Aarón Sánchez was one of the early Food Network chefs having hosted the ethnic culinary kaleidoscope  known as The Melting Pot.  Sánchez co-hosted the show with, among others, Rocco DiSpirito, Padma Lakshmi and future Iron Chefs Cat Cora and Michael Symon.  These days Sanchez is often seen as a judge on Chopped and is is the owner and executive chef of Paladar and Centrico in New York City.  Aarón is the son of famed cookbook author and restaurateur Zarela Martinez of Zarela.

Since taking over as executive chef at San Francisco’s Incanto quickly earning the Italian eatery a 3-star review from the San Francisco Chronicle, Cosentino’s star has been on the rise.  Chef Chris has gained notoriety as a leading proponent of offal cookery (the preparation of organs, entrails and lesser used cuts of meat).  In 2007 his passion for offal gained national attention when he was a contestant on the Next Iron Chef where he competed against Sánchez and eventual winner Symon.  In addition to Chefs vs. City Chris is still at Icanto and is the founder of Boccalone, an artisanal salumeria.

This year’s season premiere was shot in Miami during the South Beach Food & Wine Festival which is hosted each year by the Food Network.  The festival is akin to a family reunion of Food Network celebrities and is the setting for several shows each year featuring any mixture of culinary all-stars.

The show is scheduled to air each Sunday at 9pm/8c.  Next Sánchez and Cosentino head to Hotlanta to take on Dinner Impossible’s Robert Irvine and George Galati.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less

Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards

2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up

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