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Originally published in Aventura Business Monthly
Occupying a mere fraction of this space with the name of any one Hollywood starlet who has nibbled on the lobster-this or the foie-that at Shareef Malnik’s iconic Forge restaurant would entirely miss the point of his inclusion in our “Best and Brightest” feature. For, despite the massive local, and occasionally national publicity generated by the presence of so many of those seductive young actresses, their visits are of little significance to this piece. Aside from being both uncommonly daring and decidedly principled as a businessman, (he did have the chops to shut down for eight months last year in order to pour in $10 million for upgrades to the four-decades-old establishment), Malnik is a devoted philanthropist. By now, his work to enrich the lives of needy children has become legendary. As a small bit of proof, consider that the upcoming Make-A-Wish Intercontinental Ball, on November 5, will mark his seventh as Chairman, and through the previous half-dozen, upwards of $8 million has been raised.
Q: What advice would you give youngsters who want to embark on a career in your industry?
A: Don’t do it unless you have an enormous passion for it. And a love for this industry. Besides the sort of attention you get, and the fun you think you’re going to have, you really need, in terms of the restaurant business, to love food and service, and to love making people happy. That’s what it’s ultimately about. If you don’t, and if you’re going to do it to try making yourself happy, you’re going to fall short. If you’re happy making others happy, then you’ll succeed. I don’t think you can succeed at anything without a ton of work. The foundation of everything, whether it’s an art form, or a business form, is hard work. A lot of it is mundane. But if you love the final outcome of what you’re doing, it won’t feel like work.
Q: Of what professional accomplishment are you most proud?
A: The outcome of my re-invention of The Forge. Changing an iconic landmark has risks. The risk is that you could go down in history as ruining the landmark. And that could be a real career-killer. I had a lot of people telling me a lot of things, because so many people have an opinion about The Forge. That’s because so many people have been here over the last four decades. If I had listened to everybody, I wouldn’t have changed anything, and it would have failed. So I realized I really couldn’t listen very much to anyone, except my core team that was working on the project with me. Fortunately, the response has been very nice. You can spend a lot of money and ruin something. Or you could spend a little money and make something great. I think we spent wisely because a lot went into infrastructure. Plumbing, electricity, and roofs. So you won’t see that. I didn’t want people to think I was trying to buy their love, attention, and accolades, so I didn’t really intend on saying how much we spent. It kind of slipped out.
Q: What’s the most challenging part about your work?
A: Keeping the expenses in line. The final product is your entire experience here. For me, nothing is easy. I can communicate what I like in terms of design, style of service, food, look, feel, and music. But it’s doing all of that in a cost-efficient manner. I think that’s the most difficult part of my job.
Q: What did you envision doing for a living when you were growing up?
A: I probably envisioned doing just about everything that I was introduced to that I found fascinating. I saw myself as an astronaut, a fighter pilot, a professional martial arts fighter, a lawyer, an explorer, a mountain climber, a racecar driver. A lot of those things I ended up doing as hobbies. I envisioned myself as a professional athlete. All these very Ernest Hemingway-kind of idyllic, romantic images. I didn’t really think I would be a restaurateur. I was brought up in the restaurant business, working in the restaurant as a kid. And I was brought up with great food and wine, and an appreciation for both. But I didn’t quite think I would actually do it. It was an opportunity that knocked once, and I grabbed it.
Q: In ten years’ time, I will be _________________.
A: I very much live in the moment. So in ten years’ time, I will be a lot wiser. I have no idea where I will be. But I intend to be wiser, and growing in terms of my business and in terms of my personal life.
Q: Who are/were your professional role models and why?
A: One role model who has been a constant in my life has been my father [Al Malnik]. For various reasons. Mostly because of his brilliance. I think, in this business, the hospitality business, a role model of mine has been Ian Schrager, who I think is so brilliant in this field of creating the venues for hospitality.
Q: If you could do anything else in the world for a living, what would it be?
A: All of those things I mentioned that I thought about as a kid. Plus, acting and being a bullfighter. There’s a quote attributed to Hemingway; I don’t know if it’s his. But it goes something like, “There are only three sports: bullfighting, motor racing, and mountaineering; all the rest are merely games.”
Q: What’s the best part about your job?
A: Pleasing people. I, and those with whom I work, get a kick out of making people happy.
Q: What’s the worst part about your job?
A: The unlimited days and hours. It never ends.
Q: What’s the one most important thing that experience has taught you?
A: Respond, don’t react. And get rid of your ego. Those are not things I always knew, but they are things I work on every day. Responding to something as opposed to [generating] a knee-jerk reaction. And if you get your ego out of the way, you’ll almost always make the right decisions.
Q: What’s the best career advice anyone has imparted on you?
A: I really don’t know. But what I would recommend is that you shouldn’t be so consumed with where you want to get in the future that you’re not giving it your absolute 100-percent best in the present.
Q: What one thing would you do different/better if you could start it all over again?
A: I believe every mistake I make is responsible for where I’m at. If I didn’t make those mistakes, I wouldn’t know what I know. That’s a very tough one for me to answer.
Q: What’s your favorite South Florida charity?
A: There are many. But the one I’m involved in primarily is the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. I’m the Chairman of the Intercontinental Ball. I’m very passionate about the idea of having the opportunity to put a smile on the faces of children who have a life-threatening illness. That’s my main focus. I spend approximately eleven-and-a-half months working on the Ball. The great thing about it is that I’m working with people who are so incredible that they inspire me to be more like them.
“A new tradition Sunday”
11am until 3pm
$55 per person* includes mimosas & bloody marys
$32 children menu* includes sodas & juices
Reservations 305 538 8533 visit us TheForge.com
*children menu ten years and younger *tax and gratuity not included
View more videos at: http://www.nbcmiami.com.
Chef Dewey LoSasso makes French Toast from the The Forge’s new Brunch menu on this morning’s episode of NBC 6 Miami’s South Florida Today.
You are invited to take part in a special dining experience, presented by Visa Signature® and Sonoma County Vintners.
This event is hosted by legendary Executive Chef, Dewey LoSasso and Francis Ford Coppola Winery’s Director of Winemaking, Corey Beck.
Your evening will include:
- Wine reception with passed hors d’oeuvre
- Four-course sit-down dinner with custom wine pairings from Francis Ford Coppola Winery
- Tableside discussion of the menu and wine pairings with Chef Dewey LoSasso and
Director of Winemaking, Corey Beck from Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Event Date: April 7, 2011
Time: 7:00 pm
Cost per seat: $85
Location: The Forge Restaurant | Winebar
Seating is extremely limited. Call for reservations right away: 1.888.877.1035
Taxes and gratuities for dinner and wines included.
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Allison Brady of SocialMiami spotted Shareef Malnik chatting with Dr. Jeffrey D. Kamlet, at the Marlins’ Diamond Ball where the two were celebrating their joint birthdays.
Miami, FL – The Marlins Inaugural Diamond Ball presented by Rosenberg Diamonds & Co. to benefit the Marlins Community Foundation was held on Friday, February 18th at the InterContinental Miami Hotel and featured the All-Star Team Awards. The Honorees included All-Star in the Arts Toby Lerner Ansin – Miami City Ballet; All-Star Soldier Sergeant David Aguirre, Jr., United States Marine Corps; All-Star in the Community Nora Bulnes – Selecta Magazine; All-Star in Philanthropy Nick Buoniconti – The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis; All-Star in Education Benjamin León, Jr. – Leon Medical Centers; All-Star in Philanthropy Nicole Lozano – Miami Science Museum; All-Star in Philanthropy Shareef Malnik – Make-A-Wish Foundation; All-Star CEO Jose R. Mas – Mastec; and All-Star in Sports Nat Moore – The Nat Moore Foundation.
Eat Me In Miami
Six Food Trends Defining the City’s Culinary Scene
Luckily for Miamians, The Forge proprietor Shareef Malnik decided to ignore the edict that if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. Clearly, he could have ridden the coattails of The Forge’s four-decade-plus success. There was no reason to invest a reported $10 million into last year’s 180-degree renovation by François Frossard. In fact, it could have failed miserably and ended The Forge’s legacy as we know it, since Malnik revamped not only the physical space and décore, but also the cuisine. Happily, since its relaunch last April, The Forge 2.0 has won over old-timers and new patrons with its elegant, clean and playful décor and fare. A few classics remain, such as the brick wall and colossal chandelier in the main dining room, the stained glass in the library, and the Super Steak on the menu. Otherwise, though, it is a new restaurant.
Storied chef Dewey LoSasso (The Foundlings Club, Tuscan Steak and North One 10) has introduced whimsical touches to the menu, with dishes such as the smoked-salmon croquettes, lobster peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, kale salad and burger and Bordeaux, a griller Angus sirloin burger topped with boneless short ribs and lobster marmalade and served with a shot of Bordeaux wine. There are plenty of steaks for the carnivorous types (including an 18-ounce bone-in filet mignon), as well as fish options such as steamed local snapper and sesame-seared tuna. Tipplers will be jovial, too, with The Forge’s enomatic wine system, which offers 80 different glasses of Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Chianti and the like. The modern bar has also become a gathering spot for Miami’s social set, who chat with Malnik over vodka tonics while tastefully hidden flatscreens broadcast the latest Heat games. And just like that, The Forge has been reinvented for at least another 40 years.
CHEF DEWEY LoSASSO, The Forge celebrity chef will special guest Tuesday March 8, 2011 at 11:45am on NBC 6, South Florida Today. Chef Dewey will prepare a signature dish from the new Forge Sunday Brunch Menu that started this past Sunday.
Shareef Malnik owner of The Forge Restaurant & Wine Bar with Martha Stewart at The Forge BBQ booth. The Forge presented Filet Mignon Sandwich with boneless short rib and lobster marmalade on a Forge homemade roll. Other guests at The Forge Miami Restaurant booth, Host Bobby Flay, Restaurateur Jeffery Chodorow.
The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University (FIU), the festival benefits FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. To date, the Festival has raised more than $12 million for the School.
Now going into its 10th year, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine began as a one-day festival known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. For five years, from 1997-2001, the Florida Extravaganza showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with food from local restaurants and chefs working with students of FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. In 2002, Lee Brian Schrager, director of Special Events and Media Relations at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, took the reigns of the one-day festival and brought his vision for the festival to life by relocating it to South Beach. The renamed South Beach Wine & Food Festival attracted close to 7,000 guests to a series of dinners, seminars, a Grand Tasting Village and live Auction in its first year. The following year, the festival grew, attracting close to 10,000 people and garnered extensive national media coverage. In 2004, with the addition of a number of events and a revamping of the program, the festival doubled in size and attracted more than 20,000 guests to the three-day event.
In 2006, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary and became one of the largest and most well-known festivals of its kind in the country. During the planning of the 2007 festival, Food Network entered into a partnership with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to become its title sponsor. The resulting Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine combined the international appeal of top-quality libations from around the world, the national appeal of the Food Network and its celebrity chefs and hosts, and the appeal of Latin and Caribbean-inspired regional cuisine.
The 2008 and 2009 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festivals each attracted close to 50,000 guests over four days and garnered an unprecedented amount of media coverage. The Festival earned more than 1 billion media impressions in both years through its integrated marketing and public relations plan.
The 2010 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by Food & Wine welcomed over 50,000 wine and food lovers and paid respects to Daniel Boulud at its annual Tribute Dinner. 2010 was another banner year as the Festival raised more than $2.2 million for beneficiary, FIU’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management and garnered more than two billion media impressions.
Forge Wine Dinner The Forge, 432 41st Street, Miami Beach Restaurant, offers an other festival alternative: a six-course Joseph Phelps Vineyards wine dinner at 7:30pm, February 26th for $125. Chef Dewey LoSasso’s menu includes cob and chanterelle strudel; Everglades wild boar crostini; lobster two ways; crispy duck wonton; mutton snapper “in a bag” with white truffles, Homestead vegetables and lentil broth; a salad of lamb loin, bib lettuces and blue goat cheese; wattle seed-seared filet mignon and pumpkin pie with sweet goat cheese creme. Reservations for this Miami Restaurant are required; The Forge Miami Restaurant Phone Number: 305-538-8533