And now for something completely different…

Four-time James Beard Award nominee Chef Niven Patel, acclaimed Food and Wine Magazine’s top best new chefs of 2020, and Bib Gourmand winner, is a visit to Rancho Patel and is the embodiment of farm-to-table. He grows most of the produce for his four restaurants, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Mamey, Orno, and Erba (soon to open), at his two-acre home farm. He sources what he does not produce from nearby farms in Homestead, where he lives. 

Once a month on Sundays, he hosts a unique culinary event on his farm, located at 16800 SW 296th street. He has these events down to a science. He employs multiple friendly and capable staff, mainly taken from his restaurants. The day begins at 3pm. It was about a 1-hour drive from Miami on a Sunday, less if you live in Coral Gables or South Miami. 

We were welcomed with a delicious cocktail called a Rancho Siesta, made with Maestro Dobel Tequila, Aperol, holy basil, and the sweetest strawberries from Knaus Berry farm (nearby) and some Rancho Patel lime. You have the chance to wander around the farm, drink in hand, viewing the homegrown fruits and vegetables, like mangoes, lychees, eggplant, kale, heirloom tomatoes, herbs, and edible flowers, or see the chefs at work preparing your dinner for 80 guests. Yes, 80 guests at two long tables, covered from the elements. We saw a chef tossing pizza dough, forming the pizza, and then placing it in a wood fire oven. One minute later, we got to try some amazing pies. Ours was made with kale we had just seen growing, as well as leeks, Parmesan, and lemon zest. 

Just before 4pm, guests were asked to take a seat. There were place cards for all, and doing those must have been a feat in itself. We had some very friendly, interesting, fellow foodies across from us and beside us. 

We enjoyed a 3-course meal served family style. On our particular Sunday, our first course consisted of a BLT salad, composed of butter lettuce, house bacon, and heirloom tomatoes in a thousand island dressing. An incredible dish of squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta and mozzarella on a bed of thinly sliced zucchini with pesto (we saw sliced earlier) and sprinkled with toasted pine nuts. Next, a large, merguez sausage was served alongside a crusty baguette. This was followed by a tuna crudo wrapped around sliced kohlrabi, with a sizzling ponzu and scallions.

Our second course began with wagyu Denver kebabs over Moroccan basmati rice, almonds, barberries, and zchoug. Alongside this was bright green, grilled, green beans topped with chopped tomatoes and saffron. But my favorite two dishes came next. Quite possibly the best chicken I have ever tasted. Coming from Joyce Farms in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, it was brined in a rosemary, thyme, and lemon jus, then thrown on a large grill and cooked to juicy, tender perfection. Served with a side of delectable heirloom carrots, from Tiny Farms in Homestead, and made with miso butter, soy, and house-made furikake. Our final course of dessert was a yuzu trifle, made with yuzu chocolate custard, strawberries, and matcha. 

The meal was accompanied by bottomless white or red, sparkling wine. You could also try some of the newly launched Forager Beer, an Indian pale ale made with cashmere, citron, and amaryllis, made especially for the AL.PA.RE.NO restaurant group and will be served in all Chef Patels restaurants. 

The day came to an end by 6pm. Everything was set in this charming, rustic backdrop of Chef Niven Patel’s farm and home and was filled with music, laughter, and lively chatter. 

This was a special experience that cost $175 per person all in and can now be booked via Resy. 

Highly recommended.

Happy dining,




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