Highly acclaimed chef, author, television personality and YouTube host Adrianne Calvo embodies the essence of the American dream. Opening her very own restaurant at the age of 22, she has become a living legend and a source of inspiration for those wanting to follow in her footsteps.
Receiving smashing success with her first venture, Chef Adrianne has since branched out with an array of restaurants, has been named Miami New Times Best Chef, appeared on an array of Food Network shows and is the youngest professional to cook for the United Nations.
During April of 2007, Chef Adrianne opened her first restaurant, Chef Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant and Bar, also referred to as “Chef Adrianne’s.” Having graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a Bachelor of Arts in 2004, the new restaurant was a risky decision, but it sure did pay off. Swiftly, the restaurant grew and gained widespread notarization due to Chef Adrianne’s signature Maximum Flavor.
Guests and Critics alike fell in love with her cooking; and Chef Adrianne’s was awarded Best Restaurant by Miami New Times’ Readers’ Choice Awards in 2014 and 2017. Continuing to receive praise by being named one of the 17 Most Important Restaurants in Miami by Thrillist, Chef Adrianne was only just beginning her career.
Chef Adrianne has cooked for the United Nations and its ambassadors, competed on Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay via Food Network and has been acknowledged for her cooking in Bon Appétit, Better Homes & Gardens, USA Today and Saveur.
Her passion for the culinary world and spirit of adventure inspired her to launch Emmy Nominated YouTube series “Searching for Maximum Flavor,” which has been nominated for an Emmy Award. In the show, Chef Adrianne meets with creators while reviewing iconic dishes and adding in her namesake Maximum Flavor.
360 had the opportunity to chat with Chef Adrianne about her success thus far, what made her interested in becoming a chef, and what we can expect to come in the future.
Q: When did you start dabbling in cooking and when did you know you wanted to pursue a career in the field?
A: I have always loved food. I used to come home from school and watch Great Chefs of The World, followed by more cooking shows. But at that time, I thought I wanted to be a journalist. Watching cooking shows was just entertaining until my junior year of high school. I was placed in home ec by mistake, and I had to wait two weeks for schedule to change. During those two weeks, Johnson and Wales University came to do a demo and talk about how they’re the leading culinary school. It was what I call the lightning strike. From then on, I knew I wanted to be a chef.
Q: What was the most difficult part in opening your own restaurant at such a young age?
A: 22 is too young to open anything much less a restaurant. Restaurants are equally demanding as they are rewarding (if successful). I didn’t have normal 20’s. I didn’t have my first real drink till I was 25. I didn’t go on a vacation for 8 years and I spent every day working the line for 11 years straight. I had to stay focused and determined. Looking back at that exchange to where I am today, it was all worth it.
Q: What has it been like receiving so much praise from critics, social media all the way to your beloved customers?
It’s a beautiful thing. I thank God for it every day. I believe I don’t deserve it which is why I keep working harder and harder. This industry doesn’t stop. And want to feel like have earned their love.
Q: How did the pandemic affect your businesses?
A: Thank the good Lord, our loyal customers kept us afloat doing take out.
Q: Tell us a little bit more about your signature maximum flavor.
A: When I decided to go to culinary school, I entered culinary competitions to raise money for college. I started winning, a year later I kept winning. By this time, the judges were talking amongst themselves about how I was winning. The answer was – Flavor. One judge advised me to write a cookbook with all my winning recipes. I took his advice and thus was born my first cookbook, ‘MAXIMUM FLAVOR,’ making me the youngest cookbook author at the time. That lead me to be on the Montel Williams show. He held my cookbook in the air and told his audience and all of the country glued to their TV screens, that they had to buy my cookbook because the scallop recipe he tried from [the book] changed him. He spent all his life hating scallops until he had them Maximum Flavor Style. The book sold like crazy.
Q: Tell us about “Baked,” one of your newest concepts, and what more we can expect from this expansion.
A: Baked by Chef Adrianne started as a Bakehouse I acquired to make bread and desserts for all my restaurants- an internal operation. I’ve always been in love with everything from scratch. I think you can just tell when something is made by hand, or chemically doused. I could buy desserts from any vendor and just defrost, slice, and throw on a plate. But that’s not Maximum Flavor. I am currently working with GoldBelly on a national direct to consumer campaign.
Q: What can we expect next from Chef Adrianne?
A: God willing, I hope to expand my wine label “A Family Vineyards.” After the wild success of “A Cabernet,” I think a Rose’ or Sauvi B is next.
Article by: McKinley Franklin