Young and Hungry

Mike Isabella Goes Nuts In South Beach

Washington City Paper cover boy Mike Isabella rolled into the South Beach Wine & Food Festival on Thursday with a pretty nutty posse. Really nutty. We're talking about the California Walnut Board, one of the festival's exhibitors. That's right, D.C.'s superstar chef is right now strutting around one of the most fashionable places on the earth as a virtual walnut mascot.

A few weeks back, the walnut folks were here in Washington filming a series of videos in which Isabella demonstrates all sorts of walnut recipes at his D.C. restaurant Graffiato. "I’m just kind of showing people different techniques and how to work a walnut in different ways than the average person and also coming from a chef’s vision," Isabella said at the time. "Walnuts are really big in Greek cuisine, so I've done a ton of that stuff," continued the former Zaytinya toque, mentioning baklava and walnut-braised chicken as examples.

It's probably a safe bet then to expect some walnut-y flavors if and when Isabella's long-rumored third project, the yet unnamed Greek concept, eventually gets up and running at 14th and W Streets NW, or wherever it ultimately ends up.

Watch Isabella whip up some walnut-crusted halibut below:

Cover photo by Darrow Montgomery

  • Dan

    Isn't it time for these chefs to get off the fucking top chef band wagon. Graffiato is terrible and loud. A chef is not a PR drive it's a position of respect and dedication to craft.

    Fuck off Mike Isabella! He is bad for this cities dining scene.

  • Giorgio


  • Dan Riley

    Chefs know that in general they have a limited time to rake it in before people get sick of them - so they go for it. You don't know how long you're going to be hot shit. They have a responsibility to themselves and their families to cash in before their back and knees give out.

    I say go for it - he doesn't owe anything to anyone's "scene" - whatever the fuck that is. Get yours, Mike.