After a shift what is your favorite guilty pleasure to eat? “My go-to guilty pleasure after work would be a cheeseburger. It provides the perfect amount of savory balance after a busy night.”
Is there one dish you won’t cook? “The only thing I won’t make is a chicken pizza. That’s a hard no for me.”
All-time favorite spice. “I have many, but right now my new favorite spice is smoked peppercorn.”
What is your favorite music to listen to while you cook? “My favorite music to listen to is jazz, especially Thelonious Monk. It sets the mood and helps me focus on what I’m making.
Did you grow up cooking? “No. I grew up eating pre-made dinners. Cooking wasn’t on my radar until I got older and started working in restaurants. From then on, I knew it’s what I wanted to do.”
What cookbook is your go-to resource for inspiration? “My favorite go-to book is The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.”
What chef dead or alive would you like to cook with? “Paul Bocuse.”
After all these years working in restaurants, how much do you still enjoy going out to eat? “Yes, I still enjoy going out to eat. I’ve learned through the years to manage my expectations a bit as well.”
Name the all-time best cooking show. “For me, it’s Jacques Pépin.”
What is the best food city in the world? “No doubt, New York City!”
James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Schwartz is the founder of Miami’s The Genuine Hospitality Group, which runs Amara at Paraiso, Harry’s Pizzeria, Reef Kitchen, Genuine Burger and Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, which is reopening this month.
Interview has been condensed and edited.