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In the latest edition of #BHSLovesToEat, we catch up with Rachel Samson, Valentina Mussi, Sebastian Genta and Yanni Georgoulakis. Each of these content creators share what they’ve been cooking up, eating up and sipping on this summer. And if you can’t decide what to order at your favorite Bal Harbour Shops restaurant, we’ve asked this group of pros to give us their faves for a little inspiration.

Woman smiles with a Le Zoo menu

Rachel Samson’s favorite summer dishes at Le Zoo include the chilled cucumber soup, hamachi crudo and grilled salmon.

Rachel Samson/@StickAForkInMe

Describe your favorite Summer Dish from Le Zoo.
I will never stop eating soup in the Summer, so French onion is still first on my list, but Le Zoo offers a chilled cucumber soup that is insanely delicious. The hamachi crudo and grilled salmon both top my list when I’m trying to eat lighter and stay cool for Summer. You know my motto though, “never skip dessert.”

How do you keep fit with such a high-caloric career?
I’ve always said it’s all about balance. Number one, I’ve got great genes and a fast metabolism. I am forever grateful for this. But I am extremely active and usually work out five days a week. Spin classes with a side of hot yoga when I need a change. I also try and walk a ton. Usually when I’m at a shoot I’m sharing with those I’m with, sample different dishes and expect to bring leftovers to friends and people who may be in need of a meal. But I’m a true eater, it’s always been my thing and why I started this page!

What’s your favorite meal to make for a summertime dinner party?
One of the really viral trends right now is cowboy caviar—which I’ve always loved just because I thought the name was so ridiculous. I actually have it on deck to make again this week. It’s basically a dip, almost like a pico de gallo salsa, but more fun because it’s loaded with beans, avocado and corn in a vinaigrette-style dressing and served cold. It’s been around for decades and works so well for a summer soirée because it can be made ahead of time.

What was the first recipe you remember really perfecting as you were honing your kitchen skills?
I’ve never considered myself a chef or cook and had never personally recorded recipe content until the pandemic when restaurants were closed and it was the only option. I’ve always tried to keep it fun and light, my most successful posts were always creative and easy recipes like two-ingredient bagels, rainbow mini pancakes, no-churn ice cream and fun kitchen hacks like crescent roll babka. The ice cream was definitely a favorite! Now I mix it up with culinary travel and local restaurant features along with the home content.


Valentina Mussi smiles with a table of dishes at Makoto

Valentina Mussi’s go-to summer dish is grilled avocado from Makoto.

Valentina Mussi/@SweetPortfolio

Describe your favorite dish from Makoto.
This is a side dish, but it’s so incredible it should be considered a main. Makoto’s grilled robata perfectly ripe avocado is a must-order summery dish. It’s cooked in a deliciously sweet ponzu sauce with a bit of a kick from the chili oil. I eat it by the spoonful!

What do you consider your greatest indulgence?
As my handle states, it’s sweets. Most specifically, ice cream. I love a good pint (or two) of ice cream. Hence why I made my own ice cream flavor with Bal Harbour’s Bianco Gelato. I can’t get enough of ice cream, especially the custardy-milky flavors like dulce de leche.

What’s your favorite meal to make at home?
This may sound a little weird coming from me, but it’s a salad. I love making my own salads and experimenting with toppings and dressings. My current obsession is making my own breadcrumbs using day-old sourdough bread (full recipe available on my page) and drizzling Nonna Pia’s balsamic glaze. The texture/flavor combo is divine.

Can you share a childhood dish that you’ve put your own spin on or continue to prepare like nonna abuela?
My Colombian grandma, Carmenza, makes the best ajiaco soup! While ajico is a soup from Bogota, and my grandma is from the coast, she’s been living in Bogota for over 40 years and has perfected her recipe. This is a thick potato, chicken soup, but she makes it using a vegetarian base, focusing solemnly on the rich potato flavor. Andean potatoes have a more robust flavor, and ajiaco uses three different varieties: Criolla, pastusa, and sabanera. These are a little hard to find in the US, so I usually look for them in the frozen section of Latin grocery stores. This is my all-time favorite soup, and it makes me feel a little homesick.


Sebastian Genta smiles while holding up a fork of pasta from Carpaccio

Sebastian Genta pictured with the rigatoni del divino from Carpaccio.

Sebastian Genta/@SebastianGenta

Describe your favorite Summer Dish from your favorite Bal Harbour Shops restaurant.
My favorite summer dish from Bal Harbour Shops would have to be the linguine vongole from Carpaccio. I grew up eating this dish every summer throughout my childhood, so its flavor reminds me of a hot Sunday afternoon with my family. The briny juices from the clams and the unique wine flavored sauce are unmatched – plus my absolute adoration for carbs in general. A must have!

What’s the greatest lesson learned from your sister, @ValeGenta?
To always be kind and selfless!

What’s your favorite summer cocktail?
My favorite summer cocktail would have to be a vodka lemonade. I love lemonade in general and it’s super refreshing in the Miami heat. I also love the fact it’s just two ingredients to whip these up, but for a little extra punch, I add some fresh mint and lemon slices.

How would you describe your personal style?
I feel like my personal style has evolved with age. As a Miami teenager, I would say I loved a beachy, laidback and comfortable aesthetic. As I have gotten older, while I still consider myself to be monochromatic and simple, I have definitely become more adventurous in terms of my piece selections, footwear and accessories. I’ve begun to look at fashion as a way of expressing myself and feeling comfortable in my own skin—whether that’s preppy, casual or glam. It has been so fun to experiment with different looks and see what works and what doesn’t.


Yanni Georgoulakis photographed taking a picture of a dish at Hillstone

Yanni Georgoulakis credits Hillstone’s ahi tuna tartare as his favorite summer dish.

Yanni Georgoulakis/@FoodyFetish

Describe your favorite Summer Dish from Hillstone.
The ahi tuna tartare. The tuna is always so fresh and chilled and it’s paired perfectly with thinly sliced avocado and toasted baguette. It makes for the most delicious bite.

What do you consider your greatest indulgence?
French Fries! Whenever they are on the menu I have to get a side of them.

What’s your favorite meal to make at home?
I love grilling ribeye or picanha steaks at home on my bbq and pairing it with grilled asparagus and a loaded baked potato.

As the co-founder of Miss Crispy Rice, what’s your favorite way to top crispy rice?
Hands down, my favorite way to pair crispy rice is with scallop and torched Japanese A5 Wagyu and Uni. It’s a bite that will send your tastebuds to heaven!

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