Chefs Inspirations Thoughts & Opinions

Chef Julie Frans – A True Inspiration

Julie Frans photo
Chef Julie Frans – Photo courtesy of Essensia Restaurant, Miami Beach

Chef Julie Frans, from the Palms Hotel & Spa, is committed to sharing her knowledge with the community and spreading the message of the importance of eating healthy and putting the rainbow on your plate.

Chef Julie Frans

We all know how crucial it is to cultivate healthy eating habits in kids so that they become second nature once they are adults. That is easier said than done as children are surrounded by fast food outlets and school lunches are often tasteless and carbohydrate-oriented.

The Palms Hotel & Spa is involved in spreading the word about wholesome foods and invited a kid’s yoga camp and scheduled a visit for a garden tour/tasting with Chef Julie Frans. She taught them about eating fresh produce in order to improve brain capacity and overall health… i.e. eating with the rainbow.

Chef Julie letting the children smell herbs from her garden
Teaching the children about the foods in the garden

Kicking off the experience, the group started with a mini-yoga stretching session in the sandy area in front of the Chef’s Organic Garden. Chef Julie then took the kids into the garden for a tour and educational discussion about eating with the rainbow. The children were able to pick, smell, eat and learn about organic produce and herbs growing in the garden and how they are brain boosters.

Chef Julie prepared a yummy tasting of the items picked on their journey of the garden and discussed how to build a rainbow salad, where these foods come from and why it is important to eat with the rainbow.

organic garden
Chef’s Organic Garden at The Palms Hotel & Spa
kid eating salad
Actually enjoying salad!

It was fascinating to see how the kids immersed themselves into the making of the salad and truly enjoyed the experience of mixing vegetables, fruits and herbs together in order to create a veritable feast for all the senses. They got to appreciate the beautiful colors of the produce, the different texture of each ingredient, the aromas of the herbs and finally bite into and taste a crunchy, fresh, wonderful salad that they helped build themselves.

It is such a battle for some of us to get our children to eat their veggies. It also requires patience and time to actually prepare a salad from scratch. Busy schedules, too many hours at work and in traffic are understandable excuses for not doing this and buying food or microwaving frozen dinners just to keep our family’s bellies full. In the long run though, if we do not teach children about the joy of making food at home and the adventure of putting it all together by themselves, they will be missing something very special.

To have food on the table is considered a blessing: good food, health, well-being and beauty are things that are attainable for everyone as long as some thought is put into it. To “eat with the rainbow” is to put as many colors of fresh ingredients on the plate and enjoy the vast array of goodness nature has to offer.

The idea of having an organic garden on the grounds of the Palms Hotel & Spa is very commendable, something that will encourage people to learn and appreciate the food wonderland that is a garden in your own backyard.

Chef Julie Frans is the Director of Culinary Concepts at the Essensia Restaurant located at The Palms and uses ingredients from her garden and from local farms to prepare some really good-looking and healthy dishes.

The Kid’s menu at Essensia, for children 10 years and younger, is also geared towards healthful items like all natural Angus Hamburgers and Beef Hot Dogs served with a side of fruit and French fries. Spaghetti with Ground Turkey and Teriyaki Salmon Filet are featured among other things. The special standout dish is the Breaded Natural Chicken Tenders: Ranch Dressing, Choice of Mashed Potatoes or Yams, Steamed Broccoli with a Cheesy Sauce. These Chicken Tenders are special because 20% of the proceeds from this dish are donated to Common Threads, a charity that teaches low-income children to prepare wholesome and affordable meals.

caprese skewers
Mini “South Florida Summertime Caprese” Skewers – Mamey, Local Fresh Mozzarella, Garden Thai Basil, Prosciutto Dust. Pistachio Oil, Balsami
stuffed peppers & steak
Stuffed peppers and Bistro Steak – part of a special
kid having breakfast
Breakfast at Essensia

The cuisine here is indeed “food for thought”: it made me think again about the importance of using ingredients produced locally instead of importing items that can be obtained right here in Miami.

pool view
View from the dining room at Essensia

Essensia Restaurant

3025 Collins Avenue

Inside The Palms Hotel

Miami Beach, FL 33140

http://www.thepalmshotel.com/dining/essensia-restaurant/

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