Q&A with Food Chains Director Sanjay Rawal, March Planned Monday at West Palm Beach Publix

Screen shot from Food Chains trailer.
Less than a decade ago, the Everglades farming town of Immokalee was often described as the headquarters of agricultural abuse in the United States. Stories of bosses beating, forcing free labor, and using horrifying intimidation tactics were commonplace.

The abuses were so widespread, that Immokalee was described by the Department of Justice as "ground zero for modern day slavery [in agriculture] in the United States."

Much of the dire poverty of the workers and exploitive practices of the agribusiness is chronicled in journalist Barry Estabrook's Tomatoland: How Modern Industrial Agriculture Detroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit.

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Cuisines & Poetry Pair Up at Midtown Art Gallery Friday

Categories: Q&A

Mama Luz
A preview of this month's food
About eight months ago, Sharonda Chery had an idea. An idea to break away from the standard night club culture and create a Friday night event that would inspire participants to be the best version of themselves. Her love for all things creative lead to a weekly event called Cuisines & Poetry. The concept might seem simple -- guests read and listen to original poetry while feasting on a different ethnic cuisine every month. But to Chery and her guests, Cuisines & Poetry has become an escape from the doldrums of the real world.

While the poetry fills the room with ideas and motivation, just as much emphasis is put on the food. Chery knows her audience well and has clearly seen that they like to serve up new things to their mind as well as their pallet. Discovering a new food genre, such as Asian Caribbean fusion, immediately feeds a desire for discovery that leads to a higher cultural sense, and the cycle continues. The event is a hit and before the eight installment takes place next Friday, we chatted with Chery about how she came up with the idea, what ways food can change the mood of the room and her message to creative types in the market for a new environment.

See Also: Hot and Soul's Mike Hampton and Christy Samoy Q&A, Part Two: "My Favorite Place to Eat Is on My Couch"

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Local Tamarac Homebrewer Only Floridian to Win Gold at National Conference

Russ Brunner, right, picking up a medal at the Miami Coconut Cup homebrew competition. After this, he went on to win big at the national AHA conference.
The City of Brotherly Love became the City of Homebrewers this past weekend, when over 3,400 of the hobbyists descended upon Philadelphia for the 35th Annual National Homebrewers Conference. This yearly event is the pinnacle of competitive brewing, where homebrewers vie for bronze, silver, and gold medals in 28 beer, cider, and mead categories.

The aim of the conference, hosted by the American Homebrewer's Association, is to award the top prizes to beers that hit the style marks as close to perfect as possible. How does that work? Each beer category has a list of acceptable aromas, flavors, and characteristics, governed by the AHA and the Beer Judge Certification Program. A 'European Amber Lager', for example, will have a "Moderately rich German malt aroma" and "Some toasted character from the use of Vienna malt. No roasted or caramel flavor."

See also:
- Beer Geeks Across the Globe Donate Cash and Super-Rare Brews to Benefit Florida Man
- Ten Geekiest Beers to Bring Out Your Inner Nerd

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Pompano Beach's Vito Volpe Makes the Best Cheese in South Florida

Courtesy Mozzarita
A knack for cheese: Vito Volpe.
Some of us seek divinity and some of us stumble across it by accident. We practically crashed into the pearly gates one day when scoping out the North Bay Village Farmer's Market.

Avid cheeselovers, there was no way we were going to leave the market without our discovery -- Mozzarita burrata. Mozzarita has a full line of cheese products handmade in Pompano Beach from local ingredients; other Mozzarita products like prosciutto and olive oil are imported from Italy. The company has come a long way from when it received a nod from the Miami New Times for Best Mozzarella in 2008.

As sure as we were of taking fresh, handmade burrata home, we had no idea that it would be a life-changing experience. Vito Volpe makes the best cheese in South Florida.

So good in fact, that every Friday, we hit the market and buy out whatever's left. Obsession? Try it and you'll understand.

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The Blind Monk's Jason Hunt Talks Craft Beer and the Cicerone Certification Program

Courtesy of Jason Hunt
Jason Hunt of the Blind Monk
With the rapid rise of the craft beer industry, experts are needed to convey the vast knowledge of beer. Thus began the Certified Cicerone Program in January 2008.

Jason Hunt, assistant general manager of The Blind Monk in West Palm Beach and Oklahoma native, is the Florida representative for the program.

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Celebrity Apprentice's Marcus Lemonis on RawONE, Eating Disorders, and Secret to Success

Categories: Q&A, Raw Food

marcus lemonis small.jpg
Courtesy of CMPR
Marcus Lemonis is a man of many talents. In addition to his status as a self-made millionaire, the entrepreneur and philanthropist has taken turns on multiple reality TV shows, including Secret Millionaire, Celebrity Apprentice and the soon-to-air The Big Fix. Basically, he serves as a business turnaround expert who can swoop in and help save struggling companies.

Due to a weight problem and struggles with an eating disorder in his youth, Lemonis is a die-hard healthy eating enthusiast, and a large part of his investments are geared toward companies that deal in fresh, natural foods. Most recently, he became a 50 percent partner in RawONE Foods, a South Florida-based, family-owned snack manufacturer. We spoke to Lemonis on his new acquisition, his CNBC show and the secret to his success.

See also:
- J's Garden Cafe in Pembroke Pines: Healthy Caribbean and Vegan Eats
- Looking to Get Healthy: Five New Year's Resolutions to Try

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Robert Irvine Talks Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, Thanksgiving Reflections

robert irvine.jpg
Robert Irvine via Facebook
Robert Irvine takes on Palm Beach for his next challenge.
Robert Irvine is the hunky host of Food Network's Restaurant: Impossible where he's tasked with turning around a failing restaurant armed with $10,000 and military efficiency.

If Irvine seems authentic in barking orders, he should. His career started in the British Royal Navy where he served as a chef. Irvine also cooked on the Royal Yacht Britannia and at the White House as part of the United States Navy "guest chefs" program before his television career kicked into high gear. Irvine also owns Robert Irvine's Eat! on Hilton Head Island.

Read also:
- Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival 2012: LeCirque, Food Trucks, Celebrity Chefs

Irvine will be co-hosting several events at the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival, which runs from December 7 - 11. We spoke with Irvine about his golf game, what he looks forward to the most at the festival, and what the holidays mean to him.
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Teen Mom Farrah Abraham on Food, Culinary School, and Fort Lauderdale

Confession: Watching MTV's Teen Mom is totally our guilty pleasure. So we couldn't resist the opportunity to chat with Farrah Abraham, who spent the last year attending the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale for culinary arts.

The single mother made her reality-television debut in 2009 on MTV's 16 and Pregnant. She and daughter Sophia (now 3) went on to be a part of the spinoff Teen Mom, which became a huge hit. Soon, Abraham was being featured on covers of celebrity gossip magazines and being stalked by the paparazzi at our local Publix. This season of the show debuted June 12; it includes snippets of Abraham eating out at P.F. Chang's, Martorano's, and more.

Now, after four years of cameras constantly in her face, the 21-year-old "momtrepreneur" is ready to begin a new venture, into the world of food.

Abraham took some time to chat with us about her new Hot Pepper Italian sauce, "Mom & Me"; culinary school; and the final season of Teen Mom.

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