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February 8 @ 7:00 pm

Chef Allen’s Sustainable Seafood Dinner


February 8
7:00 pm


The Café at Books & Books at the Adrienne Arsht Center
1300 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132


The Café at Books & Books at

The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts




James Beard Award-Winning Chef Allen Susser Joins Forces with Guest Chefs Sean Brasel & Cesar Zapata to Create an Exquisite Sustainable Seafood Dining Adventure from Under the Sea

“Tickets always go fast for this very popular dinner that marries environmental education and delicious seafood…”

Mitchell Kaplan

  Thursday, February 8th, 2018 at 7 p.m.

Tickets: $82 per person + tax and gratuity

The Café at Books & Books Inside the Historic Carnival Tower


The Café at Books & Books on campus at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is proud to present CHEF ALLEN’S HOOK, CATCH & COOK: AN EVENING OF SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD as part of its 2018 Seasonal & Sustainable Original Dinner Series. James Beard award-winning Chef Allen Susser of The Café at Books & Books and Guest Chefs Sean Brasel, co-owner of Meat Market in Miami Beach and Cesar Zapata of Phuc Yea in the MiMo District will partner on the 2018 edition, which is always a hot ticket. Their goal is to illuminate South Florida foodies about ocean conservation through scrumptious dining.

Seafood is a big part of South Florida’s culinary scene and its culture. Yet, today, conch, snapper, mahi mahi, grouper, marlin and stone crab species are under threat. Overfishing decimated conch in the 1970s and 1980s; the population still hasn’t fully recovered in Florida. Ocean acidification because of increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere makes it harder for clams and oysters to grow durable shells that protect them from predators. And studies show rising ocean temperatures due to global warming are causing some fish species to migrate to colder water.

Chef Allen has been a longtime advocate of sustainability, going back to the days when he took swordfish off the menu at Chef Allen’s because it was endangered. “The basic goal of the sustainable seafood movement is to make sure fish and other seafood aren’t taken from the ocean faster than they can reproduce,” explains Chef Allen. “That means not overfishing and minimizing harm to ocean habitats. Sustainability requires accountability — from when the fish is caught to when it’s consumed. We have to think about it sustainably, for the future, because if we don’t, we won’t have fish.”

Susser, a long-time member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, will go on a fishing expedition the day before the dinner with Captain Mike Puller to “catch and hook” the seafood that will be “cooked” during this special night. Susser makes it a point to invite other South Florida chefs who are interested in learning how to fish sustainably, along for the ride; this time they will be joined by Chef José Mendín, of Pubbelly restaurants. Together, they will sustainably and responsibly catch all of the fresh seafood that will then be prepared and presented by Chefs Susser, Brasel and Zapata during the delectable five-course dinner. The evening’s menu will be determined by the actual catch. Diners are in for a night of delicious seafood and environmental education as the Chefs collaborate on five unique courses featuring sustainably caught local seafood.

The festivities get underway at 7 p.m. with handmade cocktails and champagne. Dinner will be served at the Cafe’s communal table and all five courses will be paired with delicious wines. Chef Allen and Captain Mike will educate attendees between courses.

About the Chefs:

Chef Allen Susser is a winner of the prestigious James Beard Award. He is the culinary director of The Café at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Miami Beach and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. These are full-service café-restaurants, located on-site at three of Mitchell Kaplan’s locally-based, independently-owned neighborhood bookshops. Under his direction, the Café at Books & Books serves locally caught and sustainable produced fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood products.

Chef Allen’s personal culinary viewpoint has been established since 1986 when he opened Chef Allen’s, a groundbreaking Miami restaurant. The New York Times called Allen the “Ponce De Leon of New Florida cooking.” Food & Wine magazine named Chef Allen “One of the Best 10 Chefs in America”. In 2000, Allen launched Chef Allen’s Consulting a boutique restaurant and hospitality consulting firm – providing strategic initiative, culinary resources, and innovative direction for the industry. He is currently pioneering chocolate in St Lucia, West Indies. His Emerald Estate Vintage Chocolate is authentically handcrafting small batches of cacao beans on the volcanic hillsides by the edge of the rain forest.

Chef Sean Brasel’s (with co-owner David Tornek) award-winning creation, Meat Market is a sizzling contemporary American steakhouse with a bustling vibe that has taken Miami and beyond, by storm. Since its inception in 2008, Meat Market has been a staple on the Miami Beach scene and was even touted by Condé Nast Traveler as one of “Miami’s Buzziest Restaurants.” For Meat Market, Brasel has created a menu that embraces the staples of a classic steakhouse – a variety of prime cuts, generous portions of innovative seafood, amazing sides and appetizers, top notch wine list – but infuses it all with an artful, contemporary spin. “We want to appeal to those looking for a more ‘traditional experience’ as well as more adventurous diners,” he says. To that end, Meat Market also features a posh Crudo Bar, an eclectic, sumptuous raw bar featuring seafood delicacies, as well as an affordable bar menu ideal for a light bite or dinner, with a perfect perch for people watching. A long-time ambassador for Certified Angus Beef and Goya Foods, Brasel is a well-respected name in the culinary community. He contributes, not only his talent, but his time to a number of non-profit organizations, including March of Dimes, No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength, FLIPANY, Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, among others.

Born in Medellin, Colombia and migrating to Paterson, New Jersey at age nine, Cesar Zapata became a chef the moment he was dubbed “family cook” while his parents worked. Over the years, he perfected his family’s recipes and taught himself to recreate other cultural classics that saturated his neighborhood. In 2011, Zapata’s biggest break with partner Aniece Meinhold was launching Miami’s first pop-up concept, Phuc Yea. Before food trucks and pop-ups became prevalent, Phuc Yea’s Vietnamese- inspired menu made cameo appearances throughout the city. Five years later to the day, Zapata and Meinhold re-introduced a grown up version of Phuc Yea as a stand-alone restaurant in the heart of the Miami Modern “MiMo” (Upper East Side) District. The neighborhood, which has been rapidly growing with chef-driven gems, quaint retail spaces and community-minded thought-leaders such as Zapata, is now also home to Phuc Yea’s Viet-Cajun riff on Vietnamese street food. Zapata has received a number of national accolades. Additionally, Zapata serves as a member of the Advisory Council for No Kid Hungry Miami.

Tickets to CHEF ALLEN’S HOOK, CATCH & COOK 2017 are $82 per person, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Seating is limited and reservations are required. Please visit eventbrite.com or call us at (786) 405-1745 to reserve your spot. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Captain Mike’s non-profit foundation, The Fishing Experience. The Café at Books & Books at The Adrienne Arsht Center is located at 1300 Biscayne Boulevard, inside the Carnival Tower. Municipal metered parking available in Lot C; entrance is on NE 2 Avenue between 12th and 13th Streets.  

About the Café at Books & Books at the Adrienne Arsht Center

The Café at Books & Books is a neighborhood Café-Bookstore that brings Mitchell Kaplan’s and Allen Susser’s vision to the Adrienne Arsht Center campus and to downtown Miami, where they are dedicated to creating a community-friendly environment for food and book lovers to gather. Independently-owned and creatively-minded, as with all Books & Books locations, the café strives to provide a seasonal, fresh & healthy menu that focuses on locally caught or sustainably produced fruits, vegetables, fish and seafood products. The focus is on conveying a passionate love of literature, libations and creative cuisine. The Café’s commitment to customers’ well-being and satisfaction informs all they do, as they serve up delicious menu items, lovingly crafted by Chef Allen Susser, alongside author events, celebrity autographings and community gatherings that highlight a commitment to arts and culture. The goal is to nurture the development of a warm and authentic gathering place for like-minded souls to discover and enjoy.