Matthew Kenney on Opening Plant Food + Wine in Miami & More

By Carla Torres | Ocean Drive


Raw food guru Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food + Wine springs to life at the sacred space Miami.


Raw food doesn’t mean getting a raw deal in terms of flavor or heartiness, as chef Matthew Kenney proves in dishes like his coconut ceviche tacos.


“I love that you have to go down a dead end to find us,” says two-time James Beard Award nominee Matthew Kenney of Plant Food + Wine, a sprawling vegan sanctuary nestled on the edge of Wynwood inside the Sacred Space Miami. At his temple of raw eating, Kenney—a past Food & Wine Best New Chef award winner, the author of 12 cookbooks, and a vegan authority—serves standout dishes like watermelon poke, cacio e pepe, and coconut ceviche tacos. The restaurant also features a reflecting pool, a culinary academy, and (coming soon) yoga classes. Kenney gives us the skinny on journeying through the plant kingdom.


Your first restaurant focused on meat and fish. What caused your shift?
A friend invited me to a vegetarian restaurant. I didn’t really get raw food, but it was so extremely flavorful and the restaurant was full of glowing people on a Monday night. It was a light bulb moment.


Why Miami?
I do things in places where I love to spend time. I love the warmer climate, the sun, and the palm trees. And there’s so much knowledge about health and nutrition, it’s exciting.


How do you come up with the restaurant’s menu?
It’s a balancing act of utilizing components of advanced plant-based cuisine and taking influences from the local area to turn non-vegetarian dishes on their head.


James Beard nominee Horacio Rivadero is chef de cuisine. Tell us more about that collaboration.
Scott Winegard, our director of culinary, cultivates talented and passionate teams locally wherever we are. There’s a deep story behind every dish, and the menu conveys that. I spent time in Brazil and fell in love with moqueca, which we do sous vide with mushrooms and sesame plantain quinoa. Horacio’s Latin influence is incredible.


Food is just one component of what’s going on at Plant Food + Wine.
The flagship [Matthew Kenney] Culinary Academy is in Miami. Educating people is a really important part of what we do.


What is the biggest misconception about eating raw?
That you can’t get enough protein or [feel] full from eating raw. People were prepared to go to Taco Bell after. Our food isn’t heavy, but it’s nutrient-dense.

105 NE 24th St., Miami, 305-814-5365.

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