Just over three years ago Gigi really got the heart of Midtown pumping. With an average of 15,000 customers a month, our recipe for success has always been a dedication to fresh, local, real quality food made into fun dishes and served in a casual hip urban atmosphere at reasonable prices. By staying true to its principles Gigi has been able to dispel one of the biggest misconceptions about food today; that in order to sustain high volume one must lower quality, that cheap mass production should be the norm for the masses.
It is this same misconception that has lead to detrimental effects on our society’s nutrition and health, especially that of our children. Rather than cooking real food into healthy meals it has sadly become common practice to take genetically modified surplus foods and make them even worse by turning them into high fat, high starch processed meals that end up on lunch trays in schools around the country. The results are an epidemic of obesity and other health issues, which have stunted development both physically and mentally.
This past Summer the Metropolitan International School of Miami scoured the city for a chef/restaurant who could incorporate organic, mostly locally sourced ingredients into the school’s lunch menu. When gigi was approached with the opportunity to cater a school lunch program, Executive Chef Jose Valines and myself welcomed the project with open arms. Promoting local farmers that use sustainable agricultural practices, using natural organic foods, supporting seasonal menus and celebrating the beauty, flavor and versatility of product make up the foundation by which we strive to operate.
Chef Jose has been defined by a deeply rooted farm to table philosophy. Growing up in Puerto Rico, helping his parents tend to the garden, sparked an interest in food that lead him to the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in New York. It was here, in the agriculturally rich Hudson Valley that he was able to hone in on and refine the local, fresh, simple yet elegant food philosophy that excited him as a child. After furthering his career at award winning restaurants throughout New York and Puerto Rico, he moved to Miami in 2008 with the goals of expanding on farm to table concepts and the hopes to educate and inspire.
– Tina Theuermeister is the General Manager of gigi, after graduating from college and living in Europe for over 10 years Tina moved back to Miami in 2007. She quickly became aware of the lack of environmental stewardship facing Miami, and the overall food crisis that faced the country. While she continued her career within the food and beverage industry, she also began to dedicate her time to volunteering for various environmental education programs, and works to promote urban sustainability and agriculture within the local community.