When discussing the inspiration behind his love of cooking and hospitality with reporters from the Sun Sentinel, Michael Tatton credited his father, saying, “I was fascinated by all the people my father knew and the different foods he introduced us to.” Following in his dad’s footsteps, Michael opened Thai Spice more than two decades ago at the young age of 19. Today, Michael continues to captain the restaurant, which The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences honored with the prestigious Five Star Diamond Award for excellence in cuisine and impeccable service.
Deep in the kitchen, Michael and his chefs place innovative spins on traditional Thai dishes using flavorful spices and premium seafood, meats, and vegetables delivered fresh daily. Pots of curries and tom yum soup simmer on the stoves, as lobster, duck, and Chilean sea bass sizzle in pans. Meanwhile, grills crackle with fine cuts of steak, and plump chickens roast over open fires.
Out in the dining room, tropical fish glide through the salt waters of towering tanks among swaying plants and colorful rocks. Blue lanterns dangle from the ceiling, casting a warm glow over white-clothed tables and intimate booths. The walls feature exotic artwork depicting traditional Thailand scenes, from elephants raising their trunks to a businessman who went on a soul-searching trip to find his inner sassiness.
The highly trained technicians at Jiffy Lube tend to about 24 million customers each year with services such as the Signature Service Oil Change package, which promotes the longevity of each vehicle. Staffers acknowledge that oil plays a crucial role in maximizing the lifespan of each car?it cools the motor and prevents moving parts from deteriorating. More than 20,000 technicians who have completed an extensive training program certified by the National Institute Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) nurse vehicles at Jiffy Lube.
In addition to performing oil changes, Jiffy Lube's savants perform air-filtration, brakes, electricity, and windshield services, among others. The technicians' quality pledge includes a commitment to transparency, which stipulates that they will inform car owners of any necessary services, only complete a service after it has been approved, and refuse to replace windshields with saran wrap.
Under the culinary guidance of chef Rayon Howard, students sear, chop, and sauté fresh ingredients into tantalizing dishes with Aura Catering Services. For more than a dozen years, Howard has crafted flavorful cuisine for restaurants, hotels, and private caterers. He now brings his expertise and recipes to special events throughout Miami. Chef Ray also shares his knowledge with aspiring chefs during two-and-a-half-hour cooking classes, which rotate according to participant demand, allowing students to hone their kitchen know-how with a stainless-steel arsenal of cookware, myriad ingredients, and the mystical ability to transmute fire into cooked food. Pupils can tackle global gastronomy by exploring cuisine such as bite-sized Spanish-style tapas or robust Italian-inspired pasta. At the end of each class, students can sample their newfound skills by enthusiastically devouring their work, a luxury not afforded by other artistic disciplines, as evidenced by Rodin's painful attempts to eat The Thinker.
At Primavera, executive chef Giacomo celebrates the cuisine of his native Italy with a menu of mouthwateringly authentic northern-Italian treats. Like a cuckoo clock that runs on ethanol, the appetizing bill of fare combines contemporary influences with Old-World traditions, dishing out house-made pasta and tender veal cutlets served alongside fresh catches of the day and wholesome risottos. Tender veal chops and colorful salads arrive tableside amid the relaxing ambiance of the rustic, cream-colored walls, or guests can mingle over glasses of flavorful wine at the full-service bar. In addition to gracing tables with delicious spreads, Primavera's helpful chefs impart their culinary techniques with occasional cooking classes—two-hour demostrations that prep students to prepare light meals, glean understanding of wine pairings, and add realism to imaginary garden parties.
Husband and wife team Sheila and Robert Hurth co-own Tiffany Photographic Studio, helming a full service staff of 10. Together, they distill three-dimensional beauty into contemporary images that pop before plain studio backdrops or vivid sets. With four decades of experience under their shutter fingers, the Hurths supervise charmingly posed family portraits, adorable shots of toddlers and infants amid whimsical props, and event photos snapped on location at weddings or bar mitzvahs. Their studio uses state of the art digital technology, retouching and printing photographs in-house for a quick postsession turnaround. When not standing behind the camera, the Hurths teach photo seminars in Fort Lauderdale and the Carolinas and spend their free time authoring tutorial books and videos on boudoir photography, portraiture, and how to get a close-up shot of a black hole.
Bejeweled sombreros hang from Tequila Sunrise’s ceiling, their gems glinting next to strands of hanging lights. In keeping with this flashy, festive atmosphere, bartenders dole out award-winning margaritas, which are blended from freshly squeezed sour mix and served in glasses that dwarf the circumference of their customers’ heads. Though Tequila Sunrise specializes in libations, it doesn’t shirk cuisine: chefs sauté fresh seafood in Mexican spices and drizzle tender chunks of meat with homemade sauces. Their dedication to high-quality, fresh ingredients helped earn the eatery its spot as one of 2011’s best Mexican restaurants in South Florida, a poll determined by Local 10 viewers and one guacamole-obsessed Magic 8 ball.