Articles Written By: jenn

Chef Johana Faraldo



Johana Faraldos passion for food comes from her grandmother. From an early age on she helped to prepare all kinds of different dishes for large parties from scratch.

So little by little Johana grew in the industry. While she has experience in French, Mediterranean, Greek, Asian and Latin cuisine the french mediterranean is her favorite because its simple and contains healthy ingredients.

With excellent quality products, her passion and the pinch of love she creates creative as well as classic but most important delicous dishes at Downtown Bistro.


Sommelier Sebastien Benchabi

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In 17 years of experience, Sébastien had the chance to travel the world sharing his passion for the wine. In France he attended many Michelin-starred restaurants like La Pinède in Saint-Tropez, Pierre Reboul’s restaurant in Aix en Provence and Le Vallon de Valrugues in the Luberon to name a few.

His career was distinguished by 8 great years in San Francisco at the Rosenblum Cellars and in Sacramento in Davis University where he earned a biochemistry exam. From France to the West Coast passing by the Dominican Republic, Sébastien who loves and controls all areas of the wine field, has settled in Miami where he shares his knowledge at Villa Azur Restaurant Lounge and for PG Fine Wines Distributor for which he developed a rare selection of wines.

C’est avec une pointe d’accent du midi, conviviale comme un bon vin qu’il résume son riche parcours professionnel. L’humble fierté de l’artisan soucieux du travail bien fait. Il a la mémoire des dates, des établissements, des chefs, des macarons Michelins aussi. Car en 17 ans de métier, Sébastien a fréquenté beaucoup de très belles maisons. De nombreux étoilés au Guide Rouge La Pinède à Saint-Tropez, le restaurant de Pierre Reboul à Aix en Provence, Le Vallon de Valrugues dans le Lubéron… Tout à tour caviste, sommelier, responsable des ventes, Sébastien aime et maîtrise tous les secteurs de son domaine d’activité. Sa carrière se distingue par une superbe parenthèse américaine de 8 ans, San Francisco et la cave du Rosenblum Cellars, l’université de Davis à Sacramento où il décroche un examen de biochimie, un passage dans plusieurs restaurants gastronomiques… Pourtant, c’est bel et bien à Saint-Tropez qu’il est « approché à La Villa Romana  » quelques années plus tard par Jack Penrod de Nikki Beach qui l’envoie à Miami, à Las Vegas, puis à Cabarete en République Dominicaine. De retour en France en 2011, il revient à Miami  apres  deux  très belle saisons d’hiver à La Mangeoire de Courchevel », prêt à mettre tout son savoir faire au service du restaurant Lounge Villa Azur et de la Wine  Company PG Fine Wines Distributor dont lequel il a mis au point une selection rare  des vins digne de ce nom.


Axiom Brass Quintet


Axiom BrassPraised for their “high level of musicality and technical ability” and  for their “clean, clear and precise sound”, the award-winning Axiom Brass Quintet has quickly established itself as “one of the major art music groups in brass chamber music.” As the only Brass Quintet in 27 years to ever win the prestigious Chamber Music Yellow Springs Competition (2012), and the only American ensemble to ever win the Preis der Europa-Stadt Passau in Germany (2012), Axiom has also been named winners of the 2008 International Chamber Brass Competition and prize-winners of the 2010 Fischoff Chamber Music Competition, the Plowman Chamber Music Competition, and the Jeju City International Brass Quintet Competition in South Korea.  The Axiom Brass is dedicated to enhancing the musical life of communities across the globe and educating the next generation of musicians.

Axiom’s commitment to education and their blend of virtuosic performances and dynamic teaching have inspired young audiences around the nation, earning the ensemble the 2011 Fischoff Educator Award.  Their educational concert “Let’s Make Music” has captivated thousands of elementary and middle school students in the U.S.  Since 2011 the ensemble has been featured as brass quintet-in-residence for the National Brass Symposium, sharing the stage with principal brass players from the Chicago Symphony, Boston Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Atlanta Symphony.

Internationally recognized for their groundbreaking programming, their repertoire ranges from jazz and Latin music to string quartet transcriptions, as well as original compositions for brass quintet.  Axiom Brass’ performances have captured the hearts and imaginations of their audiences, leading the ensemble to national radio and television appearances as well as concerts in Asia, Europe and across the U.S.  Axiom’s dedication to brass repertoire has led the ensemble to commission and premiere several new works, including recent premieres of Celestial Suite by James Stephenson and For Then and Now by Laurence Bitensky. For Celestial Suite, Axiom Brass partnered with the New York Philharmonic Brass Quintet, the Chicago Symphony Brass Quintet, the Chicago Chamber Musicians and the Fischoff Chamber Music Society, as well as with the Digital Visualization Theater of the University of Notre Dame and Professor Keith Davis.

Highlights of Axiom’s past seasons have included: concerts in Dominican Republic, Germany, Portugal, Spain, South Korea and Japan, a four-week residency at the Grand Tetons Music Festival, the release of their debut album New Standards, clinics and performances at the 2010 and 2012 Midwest Clinic, their New York debuts at Symphony Space and Merkin Hall,  masterclasses at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music, as well as recitals, masterclasses and solo appearances with orchestras and bands around the U.S. In October of 2013, Axiom gave the American premier of Fantasia Flamenca and the world premier of Raimundo Penaforte’s Concertice for brass quintet and orchestra under the baton of David Lockington and the Modesto Symphony.  For the 2014-15 season  Axiom will continue its rigorous concert schedule, taking the ensemble on a tour of South America, as well as concerts in Europe and around the USA.  In March of 2015, Axiom will make its debut with the Grand Rapids Symphony performing the world premier of a new concerto for Brass Quintet and Orchestra by Kyle Werner.  The 2014-15 season will also mark the release of two new albums, Sacred Brass, which will include the world premiere recording of Celestial Suite, and Astor, featuring original arrangements of Astor Piazzolla’s music.

Axiom Brass is an Ensemble-in-Residence at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and Rush Hour Concerts’ Back of the Yards program.

Axiom performs exclusively on Mutec Mutes and S. E. Shires Trumpets and Trombones.

Frederic Joulin

Frederic Joulin

Chef Frederic Joulin is no stranger to the restaurant business. Growing up in Paris, Joulin’s father worked as a sales representative in the food industry, which introduced him early to the culinary world. By age 13, Joulin’s career path was clear.

Joulin then met notable Parisian chef Jean-Claude Ferrero, who took the young chef under his wing. Joulin completed a four-month training course with Jean Millet. Every night after school, Joulin went to restaurants in Paris to begin training. At age 15, he enrolled at the Belliard College for hospitality. From then he went on to work for reputable restaurants such as Le Divellac, Jules Verne and Jean Millet.

After earning his degree, Joulin began creating cuisine with some of Paris’ most notable chefs, including three Michelin star chef Guy Savoy. He also served as the private chef to President Jacques Chirac of France for two years. From ages 20-25, Joulin worked for Yvan Restaurant, a star studded era where he cooked and hosted for the likes of notables like Madonna, Johnny Holiday and Eddie Barclay. This experience rounded out his skills to include hosting as well as his role as a chef. It was during this time period when he learned the balance of cuisine, service and overall experience for both A-listers and everyday clients.

But Joulin wanted to take it a step further.

“When I start in the kitchen, I just want to become the number one,” he said. “At 25 years old, I decided to open my own place.”

Joulin opened his first restaurant in Paris, Le Clos Saint-Honoré. Everything in the eatery was homemade, a standard that would become integral to his cooking philosophy. Though successful, Joulin continued his quest to the top.

“I decided to change and to open a bistro,” Joulin said. “In Paris, I didn’t want to open a bistro because it was too expensive for me.” But Miami was a different story. Joulin opened the French-American bistro, Le Café des Arts in South Beach.

Settled in Miami, Joulin operated Le Café des Arts while also doing private catering for the city’s elite.

But he still wasn’t finished. Six months ago, Joulin sold his Miami bistro to begin his latest culinary venture, Villa Mayfair.

Owned by Timo Kipp and supported by a small, diverse team of locals, Villa Mayfair, which opened in December 2011, seeks to bring a little glamour back to Coconut Grove. With such an experienced team behind the new Miami eatery, who better to head the 4,000-square-foot kitchen than Joulin? The restaurant itself was designed by Francois Frossard and reflects the super chic South of France, with a hammered brass bar and Murano glass chandeliers.

In September 2011, Joulin began organizing the kitchen and, of course, creating the menu.

“The menu is American,” he said. “I use a lot of American products and Floridian products. My touch is like a Mediterranean touch.”

Although the restaurant is still relatively new to Miami’s culinary scene, customers have already determined the most popular menu items–the Truffle Artichoke Soup with Wild Mushroom Brioche and the Alaskan King Crab “Cannelloni” with Yellow Tomato Concasse.

Drawing on the principals he established in his first restaurant, Joulin chooses only the best products to create his decadent dishes.

“Every restaurant has the same product,” he said. “I just want the best product.” He also still believes in the importance of homemade dishes, as evident in his Villa Mayfair Raspberry Macaron. “It’s homemade fresh every day,” he said. As a testament to his philosophy, Joulin only uses Waygu beef for his Beef Carpaccio.

“It’s the best beef in the United States,” he said. “It’s organic. I use a lot of produce products [that are] organic. That is very important.”

Also important to Joulin is changing his menu every week. In order for Villa Mayfair to be a successful restaurant and attract notable guests, Joulin changes two or three appetizers and entrees each week to keep gastronomes guessing. On Tuesdays, Joulin also offers a small bites menu and on Wednesdays, he creates a special menu for ladies.

Villa Mayfair also boasts a craft cocktail program, led by mixologist John Lermayer and Nick Nistico. Using innovative ingredients such as Pumpkin Butter, Cherry-Rose Hip Tea and Créme de Cacao, all of which are fresh and seasonal, the pair have created their own twists on American and European classics, as well as Miami staples.

Managing his 12-member kitchen staff, along with a team of 15 on the dining room floor, Joulin hopes to make the restaurant a successful and unique dining destination. And it seems as though his culinary quest to be number one might end at Villa Mayfair.

“What’s next is just to stay focused on Villa Mayfair because it’s a huge restaurant, you know, and we have too many things to do,” he said. “Me? I just want to hear, ‘Thank you so much, it was so good and see you soon.’ That is most important.”


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January 19th, 2015 @ 7:30pm | "Interactive Blues"

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Act 1: a wine presentation by Sebastien Benchabi from PG Fine Wines & hors d’oeuvres by Downtown Bistro.

Act 2: The Lotus Trio

~ Corky Siegel, piano & harmonica – Chihsuan Yang, erhu & violin – Matthew Santos, guitar & voice ~

and an appearance of Daniel Andai

Act 3: Enjoy the company of the artists while indulging in a chocolate mousses by Downtown Bistro.

`* Hors D’oeuvres and desserts generously sponsored by Downtown Bistro

** Wine generously sponsored by PG FIne Wines.

*** Piano sponsored by Euro Pianos Naples

sponsor 150119

Past musMINI

 IMG_2240 Feb_Musi_web Oct_Musi_web Final Musimini 04.11.15

April 28th, 2014 | At The Crossroad

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musimelange presented singer Susana Behar and guitarist Jose Luis Rodriguez at The M Building for an evening of intertwined Flamenco, Sephardic music and Latin American songs to meet “At The Crossroad.”

Susana and Jose Luis brought you the finest of the three genres in a journey of traditional and contemporary aesthetics. The evening also included a collaboration with Nu Flamenco choreographer, Niurca Marquez.

Act 1: Spanish Wine  Tasting &  Sephardic Tapas by MG Events

Act 2: Flamenco, Sephardic music and Latin American songs ~ Susana Behar  voice – Jose Luis Rodriguez, guitar –  Niurca Marquez, dance ~

dessertAct 3: Sweet Art by Lucila Desserts

musimelange At The Crossroad: April 28th, 2014 – 7:30pm @ The M Building from anne chicheportiche on Vimeo.

March 31st, 2014 | An Unfinished Evening @ The M Building

An Unfinished Evening

On Monday, March 31st at 7:30pm, musimelange hosted the Amernet String Quartet for an intimate chamber music concert, paired with food and wine tasting. You surely were taken on a journey from the moment you walked through the doors of the M Building showroom, comfortably nestled within the  Wynwood Art District.

The evening featured works that were unfinished, or unpublished, at the time of a composer’s life.

Act 1: a wine & hors d’oeuvre tasting, specially chosen to pair the Grieg and Mendelssohn String Quartets.

Act 2: A fantastic redemption of Edvard Grieg’s String Quartet No.2, EG 117. and Felix Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80 performed by The Amernet String Quartet. “Lauded for their “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” playing by the New York Times, the [ensemble] has garnered worldwide praise and recognition as one of today’s exceptional string quartets”.

Act 3: We enjoyed company of the artists while indulging in a dessert that complements the evening.


The Amernet String Quartet

Amernet String Quartet

Lauded for their “intelligence” and “immensely satisfying” playing by the New York Times, the AMERNET STRING QUARTET has garnered worldwide praise and recognition as one of today’s exceptional string quartets.  Ensemble-in-Residence at Florida International University since 2004, the group was formed in 1991 while its founding members were students at the Juilliard School.  The Amernet rose to international attention after their first season, winning the gold medal at the Tokyo International Music Competition in 1992, followed by the grand prize at the prestigious Banff International String Quartet Competition in 1995.  Their busy performance schedule has taken the quartet across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and they have collaborated with many of today’s most prominent artists.  Prior to their current position at Florida International University, the Amernet held posts as Corbett String Quartet-in-Residence at Northern Kentucky University and at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.  Additionally, during 2004-2005 the ensemble served as the Ernst Stiefel Quartet-in-Residence at the Caramoor Center for the Arts.  The Amernet has always been committed to the music of our time and has commissioned works from many of today’s leading composers, working closely with composers including John Corigliano, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Harold Meltzer, Morton Subotnick, and Dmitri Tymoczko.  In addition, the Amernet is keen on exploring collaborative projects, and has recently appeared with famed cantor Netanel Hershtik, jazz pianist Steve Allee, Josée Garant Dance, and the Kruger Brothers. The Amernet actively advocates for neglected works of the past, particularly those by composers of the Jewish diaspora, and aims to enliven the concert experience through its innovative programming.  Please visit for more information.


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