06 | Edifying Taste
Michelle Bernstein
Head Chef
MIAMI, USA

The LC Convertible artfully exemplifies Lexus’s signature attention to detail. Michelle Bernstein expertly blends Latin flavors into incredible dishes, infused with emotion and soul.

If there’s a recipe that epitomizes the bold, vivacious cooking of Michelle Bernstein it’s sofrito. Famed for her stylish explorations of Latin flavors, the Miami-born chef inherited her particular take on the aromatic sauce–featuring peppers, cumin, chili, tomato, saffron, and a generous splash of sherry–from her late mother

The maternal influence on Bernstein’s scintillating cooking, which has seen her become one of South Florida’s most celebrated culinary stars, doesn’t end there: “My mother made me fall in love with food from that very first bite,” says Bernstein, whose childhood family recipes still resonate in her own kitchen. Similarly bold in style, the Lexus LC Convertible stimulates your senses with its exhilarating performance and luxury heritage.

To Bernstein, the characterful, cross-generational appeal of sofrito also offers insight into the distinctive flavor of the food scene in her native Miami. “Miami truly has its own culture,” she says. “We’re a mix of so many different cultures and languages. We’re Caribbean, South American, Central America–we’re an island.” Nowhere is that unique palate articulated more powerfully than at 'Café La Trova', the newest addition to Bernstein’s epicurean empire.

Located in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood, it takes its name from the pure, poetic form of Cuban musical storytelling known as trova, which has its roots in Santiago de Cuba. It’s that city’s 1950s streets that are reimagined in the restaurant’s interior, a paean to life before Fidel Castro and a ‘Miami Vice’ era bar complete with palm trees and tuxedo-clad cantineros. Café La Trova’s decor provides the ultimate counterpoint to the refined luxury of the LC Convertible, a contrast that sits perfectly within Miami’s mixed cultural milieu.

Bernstein has come a long way. She started out as a ballerina in New York, before her dancing career was cut short by injury, later side-stepping to become a classically trained chef. She found fame after setting up her own restaurants first ‘Azul’ at the Mandarin Oriental, then ‘Michy’s’, along with her own line of cozy bakery-cafes, ‘Crumb on Parchment’. In 2008, Bernstein won the revered James Beard Foundation Award.

Despite her success, Bernstein has spoken widely about the difficulties of continuously being the sole woman in the kitchen during her first decade in restaurants during the 1980s– just as the profile of male chefs began to rise. When her son was first born, Bernstein consciously scaled down her operation to accommodate the role of mother into the famously unrelenting schedule long endured by commercial chefs.

GOOD FOOD IS ABOUT INSTINCTS. IT'S ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR SOUL.

MICHELLE BERNSTEIN
Head Chef

Today, it’s that same maternal instinct that continues to fuel her tirelessly creative cooking. As she drives around the state sourcing ingredients from trusted suppliers, top-down in her Lexus LC Convertible–a car that’s as exhilarating as her cuisine–it’s her 8-year-old son who’s on course to inherit those long-held and much-treasured familial kitchen traditions.

Find out more about Bernstein in the latest installment from the second season of the documentary series, Journeys In Taste, a celebration of the pioneering creativity and craft that’s at the core of every Lexus design.

If there’s a recipe that epitomizes the bold, vivacious cooking of Michelle Bernstein it’s sofrito. Famed for her stylish explorations of Latin flavors, the Miami-born chef inherited her particular take on the aromatic sauce–featuring peppers, cumin, chili, tomato, saffron, and a generous splash of sherry–from her late mother

The maternal influence on Bernstein’s scintillating cooking, which has seen her become one of South Florida’s most celebrated culinary stars, doesn’t end there: “My mother made me fall in love with food from that very first bite,” says Bernstein, whose childhood family recipes still resonate in her own kitchen. Similarly bold in style, the Lexus LC Convertible stimulates your senses with its exhilarating performance and luxury heritage.

To Bernstein, the characterful, cross-generational appeal of sofrito also offers insight into the distinctive flavor of the food scene in her native Miami. “Miami truly has its own culture,” she says. “We’re a mix of so many different cultures and languages. We’re Caribbean, South American, Central America–we’re an island.” Nowhere is that unique palate articulated more powerfully than at 'Café La Trova', the newest addition to Bernstein’s epicurean empire.

Located in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood, it takes its name from the pure, poetic form of Cuban musical storytelling known as trova, which has its roots in Santiago de Cuba. It’s that city’s 1950s streets that are reimagined in the restaurant’s interior, a paean to life before Fidel Castro and a ‘Miami Vice’ era bar complete with palm trees and tuxedo-clad cantineros. Café La Trova’s decor provides the ultimate counterpoint to the refined luxury of the LC Convertible, a contrast that sits perfectly within Miami’s mixed cultural milieu.

Bernstein has come a long way. She started out as a ballerina in New York, before her dancing career was cut short by injury, later side-stepping to become a classically trained chef. She found fame after setting up her own restaurants first ‘Azul’ at the Mandarin Oriental, then ‘Michy’s’, along with her own line of cozy bakery-cafes, ‘Crumb on Parchment’. In 2008, Bernstein won the revered James Beard Foundation Award.

Despite her success, Bernstein has spoken widely about the difficulties of continuously being the sole woman in the kitchen during her first decade in restaurants during the 1980s– just as the profile of male chefs began to rise. When her son was first born, Bernstein consciously scaled down her operation to accommodate the role of mother into the famously unrelenting schedule long endured by commercial chefs.

GOOD FOOD IS ABOUT INSTINCTS. IT'S ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR SOUL.

MICHELLE BERNSTEIN
Head Chef

Today, it’s that same maternal instinct that continues to fuel her tirelessly creative cooking. As she drives around the state sourcing ingredients from trusted suppliers, top-down in her Lexus LC Convertible–a car that’s as exhilarating as her cuisine–it’s her 8-year-old son who’s on course to inherit those long-held and much-treasured familial kitchen traditions.

Find out more about Bernstein in the latest installment from the second season of the documentary series, Journeys In Taste, a celebration of the pioneering creativity and craft that’s at the core of every Lexus design.

Explore the Journeys

Michelle Bernstein

06 | Edifying Taste

USA USA

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05 | Pioneering Taste

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