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Opulence Spring 2017

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2 3 3 S o u t h F e d e r a l H i g h w a y, B o c a R a t o n , F l o r i d a • Te l : 5 61. 4 7 7. 5 4 4 4 BOCA RATON | NEW YORK | LOS ANGELES | CHICAGO | DALLAS | GENEVA | LONDON | HONG KONG | TEL AVIV | DUBAI | PANAMA | MOSCOW Spring 2017




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102 118

T o p F E AT U R E S


spring 2017


spring 2017



36 ON THE COVER Cover Design: Brazilian illustrator Tullius Heurer blends simulated pencil sketches with the photography of Grace co-founder Michael Muser, creating the remarkable 3D look of Chef Curtis Duffy reaching off the page to serve readers a magical dish.


BLOCKBUSTER FILM & WHISKEY UNITE AT HILHAVEN LODGE The whiskey by film and TV director Brett Ratner


Opulence Spring 2017

The heart-wrenching, inspirational story of how Chef Curtis Duffy overcame a childhood of turmoil and tragedy to become one of only two Chicago chefs ever to earn 3 Michelin Stars and a Best Chef – Great Lakes James Beard Award.



Carrying on his family legacy with IL Borro Winery and medieval Tuscan resort


A night to remember at the iconic home of the “Dean of American Cookery”



Geometric cakes of Ukraine’s architect Dinara Kasko

Paradise Is Waiting We take the headache out of getting there.

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60 40 THE HAVANA CLUB FEUD A brand divided by Castro’s government seizure


60 THE FEW, THE PROUD, THE FEMALE MULTI-CONCEPT RESTAURANT PARTNER Meet Executive Chef and Business Guru Lisabet Summa


WRIST MANAGEMENT Bringing luxury watch leasing to reality





Luxe interior design of Perla Lichi

98 GRANDMASTER TOM An Austrian trialbike trickster performs in a historic abandoned hotel.

BESPOKE BRIDE A look at breathtaking Spring 2017 haute couture wedding gowns

102 GONE WITH THE WIND Kiteboarding with a pro in Anguilla


Opulence Spring 2017

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84 features (continued)

122 THE UNREAL REALISM OF TULLIUS HEUER This issue’s cover design artist Tullius Heuer blends simulated pencil with photography to create dramatic 3D-esque art.

126 QUéBEC CITY & MONTREAL Celebrating 150 years as a living Francophone museum


106 DECORATING ON THE WATERFRONT Carleton Varney on his latest coffee-table-book of iconic design

109 SECRET LUXURY HOTEL WITHIN A HOTEL A story you’ve got to read to believe

114 PAINTING FACES Bridget Roderman’s celebrity portraiture

117 ADVENTURING TO SINGER ISLAND Vacationing on this isle named after the famous sewing-machine family

118 IMAGINE The Imaginary Absurdology of Michael Cheval


Opulence Spring 2017

140 THE MASTERMIND BEHIND THE BLACKLIST An exclusive interview with crimedrama producer Jon Bokencamp

142 TINY HOUSE TREND  chat with the host and design star A of FYI Network’s “Tiny House Nation”

departments Editor’s Letter 22 Gadgets 24 Broadway Across America 26 National Concert Guide 29,31 National Dining Guide 32-33 American Fine Wine Competition Winners 34-35 Dishing With The James Beard Foundation President 54 What Women Want 84 Gentlemen’s Corner 86-87 Art Of Landscape 112 Philanthropy- 134-139 Alex Donner, KidSafe Foundation, Nat King Cole Legacy Lives, Alzheimer’s Assoc. Condo Law 146 Condo Living 150 Real Estate Market Report 152-157 Social Living 160


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editor’s letter

PUBLISHING Executive PUBLISHER & Owner Geoff Hammond, CEO Jayne Hammond, President


t’s 3 a.m. on a Friday morning, just hours before my 21-yearold son departs on a flight to California en route to start his career as a chef at the Ritz-Carlton near Palm Springs.

Ryan completed his last final exam yesterday as a college student and before it seems the ink could even be dry, he’s already prepar-

ing to launch. Right now, I can hear the base of his stereo thumping as he packs his last bag in his bedroom. This time tomorrow, his room will be silent. A very surreal moment for a mother indeed. Seems like just yesterday when he was born – on the night of the Academy Awards in 1995. At the time, I was perplexed at how the nurses and my husband couldn’t take their gaze off the television screen, sipping their warm and sweet coffee, anticipating who would win the Oscar for Best Actor or Best Actress. I remember thinking, “Hello! I’m about to have a baby over here – can you please put down your delicious creamy coffee for a second and go get me something more thirst quenching than ice chips?!” Nearly 22 years later, I now understand the captivating anticipation of an Academy Award being announced. For me, however, I daydream about what it would be like to anticipate the announcement of a different kind of Oscar – the sort awarded to American star chefs in the culinary world – the James Beard Awards. The mere nomination of a James Beard Award can forever change the trajectory of a budding culinary entrepreneur.

Associate PUBLISHER David Hammond EDITOR IN CHIEF Robin Jay SENIOR CREATIVE ART DIRECTOR Adriana Naylor 954-331-3912 Marketing & Events director Chantal Forster 954-331-3390 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER Jennifer Garcia 954-663-1786 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CONSULTANT Michael Jay 954-593-5060 Contributing Writers:

Ryan has aspired to be a great chef since before he could drive a car. I laugh to myself that maybe he went into the culinary field out of necessity – because his mother, yours truly, has literally burned water, melted metal teapots to the stove, and caught the inside guts of two (no, three!) microwaves on fire by attempting to pop corn in a dry paper bag or forgetting to put water in the oatmeal bowl before pressing start. I sit here quietly thinking about what Ryan’s future may hold for him as he prepares to move about as far from his childhood home as the United States is wide. I wonder if maybe – just maybe – my husband and I might some day be sitting at the Lyric Opera House in Chicago on an early May evening, decked out in our Sunday best, sipping sweet coffee and anticipating at the edge of our seats the announcement of the next James Beard Awardee. A mother of a budding young culinary professional can only dream of such a day! Our cover story for this issue is about a very special chef, Mr. Curtis Duffy, who as the co-proprietor of his first fine dining restaurant in Chicago – Grace – has achieved the pinnacle of culinary success, earning a very rare and coveted 3 Michelin stars and a 2016 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Great Lakes. Don’t miss our compelling, heartfelt interview with Curtis on page 48 – but grab a tissue first. As a member of the James Beard Foundation, International Opulence is pleased to welcome Chef Curtis Duffy as our special guest of honor at this issue’s launch party. Stay tuned for details!

John D. Adams Roberto C. Blanch Stephanie Bonilla Michael Campea Jana Soeldner Danger Chantal Forster Ryan Jay Steven Joseph Dale King & Julia Hebert Kristen Mager Alona Abbady Martinez

Evan Netsch Jill Patterson Andrew Rand Lisa-Marie Reiter Erick Rodriguez Ava Roosevelt Todd R. Sciore Susan Ungaro Carleton Varney Kelly Villasuso Mary & Hugh Williamson

Photographers Douglas Lance Michael Muser Silvia Pangaro Raul Villasuso Contributing Designers: Tullius Heuer Michael Muscarella PROOFREADER Suzanne Shaw


General Counsel Barry Weiss International Opulence Magazine is published quarterly by Horizon Publishing LLC. Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. Horizon Publishing LLC, 6700 North Andrews Avenue, Suite 400, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309 – Vol. 7, No. 1, Spring 2017 (ISSN # 2157-5274)


2016 Charlie Awards by the Florida Magazine Association: Best Cover (Spring)



Spring 2017

International Opulence is a proud member of the James Beard Foundation.

International Opulence is a proud media sponsor of these two philanthropies.

Subscription Rates: $40 per year, $10 per issue. For subscription inquiries or change of address, contact the subscription department, (954) 308-4300 Ext. 4312, Fax: (954) 331-6028. Horizon Publishing, LLC, its affiliates and contributing writers have exercised due care in compiling the information contained herein, but with the possibility of human or mechanical error, cannot assume liability for the accuracy of this data. This publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in part or in full in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording and any information storage and retrieval system without first obtaining permission from the publisher.




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The Only Seven Person Tricycle The Beatles Drum Clock

This is the wall clock inspired by legendary Beatle Ringo Starr’s snare drum. A unique gift for one who still suffers from bouts of Beatlemania, the clock features the group’s famous dropped-T logo as it first appeared on front of the iconic percussionist’s Ludwig bass drum in 1963 and more famously on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964. The drum’s shell retains the same oyster black pearl finish of the original drum kit while electroplated hoops, lugs, and tension rod castings yield a gleaming finish. Keeping impeccable time with one (required) AA battery. $129.95.

Accommodates seven adults. The seven seats each have a set of pedals that riders can operate simultaneously to propel the tricycle up to 10 mph, encouraging social interaction and team-building while pedaling. One of the seven riders steers the tricycle and controls the dual independent hydraulic brake systems (one hand lever and a foot pedal). Handmade in Germany for the likes of Cirque du Soleil and Google, the tricycle has a circular jointed drive-shaft, Porsche-engineered rack-and-pinion steering, and a completely covered drivetrain to protect the mechanism from dirt and dust. Price $20,000.

The Pulsing Plasma Wireless Speaker

This a Bluetooth speaker that generates a show of kinetic light inside a desktop plasma globe. A smartphone connects to the speaker via Bluetooth from up to 32’ away and the integrated plasma globe produces a synchronized light show across its interior with dancing red, pink, and violet plumes. Price $49.95.

Ricoh WG-M1

Ruggedly designed the camera is waterproof at depths of 32 feet, shockproof at drops up to 6.5 feet, cold-resistant at temperatures down to 14°F and dustproof. It features a 1/2.3 CMOS sensor that captures up to 14-Megapixel still images and Full HD 1080p video at 30 fps to microSD/SDHC memory cards. Sporting an ultra-wide angle lens with 160° viewing angle in photo mode and up to 137° in video mode the WG-M1 is ready to capture a wide array of indoor, outdoor and below-the-surface activities. $296.95. The Ultimate Stress Relieving Cube

An unusually addicting, high-quality desk toy designed for all ages to help you focus. Fidget at work, in class, and at home in style. It has six sides with each side featuring something to fidget with: Flip, Glide, Click, Spin, Roll, Breathe. $29.95.


Opulence Spring 2017


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Broadway 2017-18 Season





Eisenhower Theater July 11-Aug. 6, 2017




Washington, DC







ADRIENNE ARSHT CENTER Oct. 5- Oct. 15, 2017











New York



Richard Rodgers Theatre ongoing

San Francisco SHN Orpheum Theatre starting March 17, 2017

Washington, DC Kennedy Center Coming SEPT. 2018

Fort Lauderdale


Broward Center April 25-May 7, 2017

Oriental Theatre June 14-July 9, 2017

Los Angeles

Miami Adrienne Arsht Center May 9-14, 2017

Washington, DC Kennedy Center July 11-16, 2017

The Pantages 5/30 - 7/09/17

Fort Lauderdale Broward Center May 19-21, 2017




Chicago VENUE TBD MAY 9-14, 2017





Spring 2017

THE National Theatre June 20-JULY 2, 2017

Fort Lauderdale Broward Center March 21-April 2, 2017


Winter 2016/17



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Chicago, IL

Los Angeles, CA

TobyMac HITS DEEP Tour

Jason Mraz

March 30

June 2

Hollywood Bowl 2301 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA

NYC Bon Jovi This House Is Not for Sale Tour

April 7 & April 8

The Total Package Tour: NKOTB with Paula Abdul and Boyz II Men

June 27

Madison Square Garden 4 Pennsylvania Plaza, New York, NY

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers 40th Anniversary Tour

June 16 at 8PM

Sears Centre Arena 5333 Prairie Stone Pkwy, Hoffman Estates, IL

Lionel Richie: All The Hits With Very Special Guest Mariah Carey

May 5 & 6

U2: The Joshua Tree Tour

June 3

Barclays Center 620 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY

Dave MatThews and Tim Reynolds 2017 Summer Tour

June 6

Hollywood Bowl 2301 Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA Soldier Field 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, IL

Billy Crystal

April 1 & April 2

Special Guests To Include Joe Walsh and Chris Stapleton Prudential Center 25 Lafayette St, Newark, NJ

Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater 1000 Ocean Pkwy, Wantagh, NY

Billy Joel

May 13

The Chicago Theatre 175 N State St, Chicago, IL

Dodger Stadium 1000 Vin Scully Ave, Los Angeles, CA ballpark/

Spring 2017







Main Image - Natural and cut aquamarine crystals Close-up images of fine crystals - Kunzite, Pyrite-Replaced Fossil, Azurite, Gold, Aquamarine - Joe Budd Photos

2017 NATIONAL CALENDAR OF CONCERTS & COMICS Kathy Griffin: Celebrity Run-In Tour

Washington, DC

John Legend

May 12

April 7


March 17-26

Klipsch Amphitheater at Bayfront Park 301 Biscayne Blvd, Miami

Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric 140 W Mt Royal Ave, Baltimore, MD

Rod Stewart and Cyndi Lauper

July 6

Miami, FL Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Tour

April 14

The Theater at MGM National Harbor 10 MGM National Avenue, Oxon Hill, MD

American Airlines Arena 601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami

Eric Church: Holdin’ My Own Tour

Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton

Red Hot Chili Peppers

May 19

Hard Rock Live 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood

July 14

April 29

Hard Rock Live 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood

John Mayer: The Search for Everything Tour

American Airlines Arena 601 Biscayne Blvd, Miami

April 6 Verizon Center Washington DC 601 F St NW, Washington, DC

Verizon Center Washington DC 601 F St NW, Washington, DC

Ariana Grande: Dangerous Woman Tour

April 14 Miami, FL

Spring 2017





National Dining Guide International Opulence 2017

AND THE JAMES BEARD AWARD 2017 GOES TO…. The annual James Beard Awards, “The Oscars of Food,” celebrates the crème de la crème of the culinary world in the United States. International Opulence is a proud member of the James Beard Foundation and shares in the enthusiasm for the exalted nominees. Following is a partial list of 2017 nominations – winners will be announced on May 2. Find a complete list of nominees at


350 S. County Rd., Palm Beach, FL (561) 833-3450 • James Beard Nom: Best Chef: South, Clay Conley Chef Clay Conley incorporates culinary techniques discovered in his global travels. This is Conley’s third nomination.

2. KYU

251 N.W. 25th St., Miami, FL (786) 577-0150 • James Beard Nom: Best New Restaurant This modern Asian-inspired restaurant echoes Wabi-sabi, the art of finding perfection in something imperfect.


295 NW 26th St., Miami, Florida (786) 294-0876 and 405 N.W. 26th St., Miami, FL (786) 347-7100 • James Beard Nom: Outstanding Baker Zak Stern went from baking breads in his garage to creating a bread empire.

4. RICHARD GONZMART James Beard Nom: Outstanding Restaurateur for the following three venues:

• The Columbia

Locations in Tampa, Sarasota, St. Augustine, Clearwater, Orlando. This is Florida’s oldest and the largest Spanish restaurant in the world.

• Ulele

1810 N. Highland Ave., Tampa (813)999-4952 • Named after the Native American princess, Ulele celebrates ingredients from the region once home to the Tocobaga tribe.

• Goody Goody

Hyde Park Village, 1601 W. Swann Ave, Tampa, FL (813) 308-1925 • This Tampa landmark offers classic diner fare.


Opulence Spring 2017


223 N.W. 23rd St., Miami, FL (305) 573-5996 • James Beard Nom: Brad Kilgore, Rising Star Chef of the Year Inventive fine-dining using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. This is Alter’s second nomination.

6. LUMA ON THE PARK 290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, FL (407) 599-4111 • James Beard Nom: Brandon McGlamery, Best Chef: South Menu focuses on local, seasonal ingredients, responsibly farmed meats, and sustainable seafood.


2419 W 14th St., Chicago, IL (312) 226-8144 • James Beard Nom: Phillip Foss, Best Chef: Great Lakes Phillip Foss delivers a unique, unpretentious dinner party by cutting out all the fuss: one seating, simultaneous serving, and meals prepaid so guests can linger or leave. The Michelin-starred eatery is BYO.


661 W Walnut St., Chicago, IL (312) 877-5339 • James Beard Nom: Best New Restaurant Oriole presents a 15-course degustation that has earned two coveted Michelin stars.


500 N Clark St., Chicago, IL (312) 321-6242 • James Beard Nom: Carrie Nahabedian, Outstanding Chef Nahabedian’s seasonal Mediterranean cuisine keeps fans coming back to this Michelin star eatery.







8 W Maple St., Chicago, IL (312) 944-8888 • James Beard Nom: Aya Fukai, Outstanding Pastry Chef Fukai executes classic desserts with a contemporary spin.


138 Lafayette St., New York, NY (212) 271-4252 • James Beard Nom: Best New Restaurant Acclaimed restaurateur Stephen Starr has teamed up with Paris-trained chef Daniel Rose to offer classic French fare.


30 Water St., New York, NY (646) 422-7906 • James Beard Nom: Outstanding Bar Program The “World’s Best Bar” lures hundreds of cocktail enthusiasts weekly for its vintage cocktails and small plates.


54 E. 1st St. #1, New York, NY (212) 677-6221 • James Beard Nom: Gabrielle Hamilton, Outstanding Chef The brunch menu offers 15 different Bloody Marys and Dutch-style pancakes. New American fare is also impressive.


240 Central Park S., New York, NY (212) 582-5100 • James Beard Nom: Outstanding Service Meaning “tide” in Italian, Marea provides seamless service and coastal seafood in a chic Central Park South setting.

WASHINGTON, D.C. 15. PINEAPPLE AND PEARLS 715 8th St. SE, Washington, DC (202) 595-7375 • James Beard Nom: Best New Restaurant Playful and inventive American tasting menu awarded 2 Michelin stars.

1015 7th St. NW, Washington, DC (202) 737-7700 • James Beard Nom: Eric Ziebold, Outstanding Chef Nouvea American cuisine has loyal followers returning to this minimalist-chic, Michelin-star spot.

480 7th St. NW, Washington, DC (202) 628-7949 • James Beard Nom: Outstanding Restaurant Super-star Chef José Andrés wows diners, bringing flavors of Spain to D.C. with both cutting-edge tapas, savory paellas and sangrias.


595 Alabama St., San Francisco, CA (415) 757-0007 • James Beard Nom: Best New Restaurant This warehouse setting redefines openkitchen. Diners can view bread making and coffee roasting.


10100 Constellation Blvd., Los Angeles, CA (310) 279-4180 • James Beard Nom: Shannon Swindle, Outstanding Pastry Chef Pastry delicacies like Funnel Cake with Rhubarb Jam and Vanilla Crème Fraîche.


587 St Helena Hwy., St Helena, CA (707) 967-0550 • James Beard Nom: Outstanding Wine Program This country-chic eatery set in a farmhouse offers phenomenal steaks and impressive Napa wine list.

Spring 2017



American Fine Wine

Winners of the 10th Annual American Fine Wine Competition BEST OF SHOW












BEST OF SHOW 1. Sparkling: NV Mumm Napa, “Santana” Brut, Napa


2. Dessert Wine:  ’11 John Anthony Vineyards Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, Napa


3. White:  


’15 Chehalem Vineyards, Gruner Veltliner, Ribbon Ridge, OR

4. Red: ’13 Baldacci Family, Cabernet Sauvignon “Ruppert”, Napa


BEST IN CLASS 5. Sauvignon Blanc: 2014 Marston Family Vineyard, “Albion”, Yountville 6. Chardonnay:

2013 Mi Sueno, Sonoma Mountain

7. Riesling:

2015  Glenora Wine Cellars, Finger Lakes, NY



Spring 2017

$50 $54











8. Dry Rose: 2015 Fulcrum, “Cloisonne” Lake County


9. Pinot Noir:  2014 Benovia Winery, Tilton Hill, Sonoma Coast


10. Malbec:

2013 Kestrel Vintners, Yakima, WA


11. Merlot:

2013 Tenor Columbia Valley, WA


12. Other Red Blend: 2013 Maldonado Family Vineyards, Proprietary Red, Napa 13. Zinfandel:

 2013 Jeff Cohn Cellars, Cassata Vineyard, Sonoma



14. Sangiovese: 2014 Luna Vineyards, Napa 15. Grenache:

2015 Oak Farm Vineyards, Lodi



16. Red Bordeaux Style Blend: 2  013 Alpha Omega Proprietary Red Blend, Napa 17. Cabernet Franc: 2013 Vinoce Vineyards, Mt. Veeder


18. Petite Sirah:

2013 Robert Biale “E.B.A.”, Napa

19. Syrah:

 2013 VIE Las Madres Vineyard, Los Carneros

$75 $75

$49 Spring 2017




Opulence Spring 2017



Spring 2017





alvatore Ferragamo II, whose family name is most widely known for luxury Italian leather shoes and purses, proudly carries his grandfather’s legacy of excellence into the realm of fine wines. Ferragamo II runs the family resort and vineyard of IL Borro, a mere 45 minutes south of Tuscany, and explains that his family’s expansion into the world of winemaking came by happenstance. “IL Borro is a unique story in the sense that my father, my brother and I enjoy hunting birds,” Ferragamo II explained to Robin Jay, Editor-in-Chief of International Opulence. “We actually rented the property [to hunt] for 5-6 years before we purchased it.” When the opportunity to acquire the land arose, his father, Ferruccio Ferragamo, saw an opportunity. “My father got the family together and said, ‘I don’t want to purchase a property like this just to go hunting. I think we should turn it into an activity, a viable business activity.’”

The Vision A vineyard seemed the logical viable business activity in the rolling hills of Tuscany. There was also an abandoned medieval village, which the family decided to restore. “It’s beautiful! You get this amazing cultural experience staying in a medieval village. It’s completely authentic and dates back to 1039,” Ferragamo II added, his radiant blue eyes brightening. The property, which was purchased in 1993, still bore the scars of World War II and required extensive reparation and restoration. “It took a lot of work, we’re very fortunate to have the artisans in Italy – they are very good at what they do. The restoration was impeccable,” Ferragamo II said.

The Wine Keeping in line with the family’s philosophy of excellence, wine production at IL Borro has been a carefully planned and meticulously executed endeavor. “The property stretches for about 2,000 acres and according to the different altitude, we have different types of soils and we match the vine according to the soil. We make wines according to the terroir, so they are unique to this place, and this part of the world,” Ferragamo II, who is a certified sommelier, explained.


Opulence Spring 2017

Every variety is able to find its ideal terroir. Merlot, Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Chardonnay grapes are grown organically and hand-harvested with extreme care under the guidance of the most experienced oenologists. “The way I like to describe the bottle is that it’s a completely authentic experience because everything that we farm is done organically,” Ferragamo II stated proudly. In 2012, the vineyard began biodynamic cultivation, a form of alternative farming focusing on using natural fertilizers and organic pesticides for cultivation.

Organic Through and Through This organic philosophy extends to the property as a whole. “We have a negative carbon footprint property because we produce three times as much solar energy as we consume. We transformed the land to produce excellent extra virgin olive oil and produce honey from our bees, again, all organically: chicken, eggs, vegetables, cattle. It is almost a completely self-sustainable farm. Then there is the cultural element of staying in a medieval village. If you’ve seen the movie Chocolat, it looks very much like that: This little village perched on top of a hill. It is really quite unique.”

A Luxury Resort As if that weren’t alluring enough, in 2013 IL Borro became part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, an exclusive organization of the world’s finest resorts, hotels, villas and restaurants. “We have three restaurants, a spa, different activities from horseback riding to mountain bikes to golf to tennis; sightseeing and many others,” Ferragamo II said. “It’s just a beautiful property.” IL Borro wines are known all over the world and have received numerous rankings and awards from Italian and international wine guides, so it is understandable that Salvatore Ferragamo II would have a hard time picking just one favorite. “I like the white wine called Lamelle. It’s 100 percent Chardonnay and is a fantastic wine. For the reds, the Pian Di Nova, which is a Syrah and Sangiovese blend.” He pauses for a bit as his mind, ever brimming with ideas, has one final thought: “Of course my absolute favorite would be the IL Borro Toscana, which is our flagship wine. That is Merlot, Cabernet, Syrah and Petit Verdot: big wine!”

Spring 2017



Havana Club: A Brand Divided by Government Seizure By Ryan Jay



ince the day former President Barack Obama ended the travel restrictions between the United States and Cuba, the tourism business in the communist island-state has resulted in an influx of American visitors, changing the dynamic of U.S.-Cuba relations. The phenomenon has led to unforeseen economic consequences that have manifested themselves throughout the American corporate world. The end of the stalemate between the United States and Cuba has spawned a debate characterized by salient opinions. Optimists see the move as a new opportunity for the impoverished Cuban state, which has suffered from the despotic rule of the authoritarian Castro regime. Realists with a grasp of Cuba’s government are conflicted between supporting a meager hope for disenfranchised Cubans and denouncing autocratic governance. Those who understand the legal implications, including the international spirits producer Bacardi U.S.A., Inc., see the move as an obstacle to protecting the sanctity of their brand’s trademark. You may be asking yourself, “How could opening relations with another country pose a threat to American businesses?” The turbulent history of Bacardi, a company founded in Cuba in 1862 by Don Facundo Bacardi Massó sheds some light on the story.

THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY Bacardi’s usual change in location is no mere coincidence. The contemporary spirits giant has a history that begins on the island of Cuba long before communism


Opulence Spring 2017

Bacardi worker numbering barrels in 1962

revolutionize spirit consumption for the next century and a half through the development of the first clear rum. The distillation process that distinguished Bacardi’s quality over the available alternatives at the time was the charcoal that founder Facundo Bacardi used to filter out impurities, giving the rum its clear color. Furthermore, the visionary founder developed a fermentation process that required a proprietary strain of yeast in order to produce the desired flavor profile that was characterisBacardi founder Don Facundo Bacardi Massó completely changed the power dynamic of the governing body. Bacardi’s prominence in the spirits market is not limited to its name brand rum, but also expands to include various aged rums and diverse brands including Bombay Sapphire, Dewar’s, Grey Goose, Martini, and numerous others. The company acquired a diverse portfolio of brands that remain under the umbrella of a single, iconic rum brand.

THE SPANISH CONNECTION The tale of Bacardi is that of a wine merchant from Sitges, Spain, who left the comfort of his home in 1830 to reach Cuba and develop a distillation process that would

Workers bottling Bacardi Superior Spring 2017



The U.S. recognizes Bacardi as owner of Havana Club Rum, but the Castro regime sold the trademark to Pernod Ricard (a French company) after ousting the original founders during the Cuban Revolution. As the U.S. establishes better relations with Cuba, will the legislature continue to stand up against autocracy? tic of his rum. It has won over 550 awards worldwide, and the rum inspired the creation of cocktails including the daiquiri, mojito, and the classic Cuba Libre. The insignia of the bat imprinted on the front of the bottle is representative of the fruit bats that were attracted to Don Facundo’s distillery and continues to adorn the label of the Bacardi bottle today. Despite its success as a brand and a company for an extended period of time, the path to glory became significantly more difficult for the company when international relations played a role in the Bacardi family’s life. During the 1880s and 1890s, the Cuban War of Independence was a historic moment for the island as it gained its freedom with the help of American intervention. Consequentially, Emilio Bacardi, Facundo’s oldest son, was imprisoned and exiled from Cuba after fighting in the rebel army against Spain.


Opulence Spring 2017

The family business was left in the hands

ing the repeal of prohibition, Bacardi began

of Emilio’s brothers, Facundo and Jose, and

selling under the brand name Ron (rum)

his brother-in-law Henri Schueg. After the

Bacardi in the United States from Puerto Rico

freeing of the country from colonial power,

and expanded into the United States in 1944.

the Cuba Libre and daiquiri drinks were created with Bacardi rum, which began the expansion of the company into an international sensation. Shortly after in 1912, Emilio Bacardi opened another distillery in Santiago, Cuba, and bottling plants in Barcelona and New York City shortly after.

Although the 1940s foreshadowed a positive future for Bacardi, the Cuban Revolution in the 1960s led by Fidel Castro forced the company to nationalize and seized the Bacardi family’s financial assets, banning all private property on the island and bank accounts. The members of the family dispersed without compen-


sation from the Cuban government, relying on

Prohibition made Cuba a hot destination

marks and formulas that would later be used

for American tourists, and it was during this

in the plants built in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

period that Bacardi attained the reputation

Connections with political elites and the CIA

of being the iconic rum of Cuba. Despite the

allowed the family to become influential

effects of prohibition in the United States,

in its lobbying, which culminated in the

Bacardi continued to expand by launching

Helms-Burton Act of 1996. The act extended

its Hatuey beer and expanding to Mexico in

the scope of the United States Embargo

1930 as well as Puerto Rico in 1936. Follow-

and was followed by another bill that is

the Bahamas to safeguard their valued trade-

Havana Club Rum ads produced by Bacardi to show the strength of their brand despite Castro’s attempt to sell the brand to a French company. now known as the Bacardi Act. The Bacardi Act denied protection to the trademarks of Cuban businesses that were expropriated following the Cuban revolution and Bacardi’s lobbyist Otto Reich helped in the implementation of this law. The passage of the bill and its support by Bacardi stems from the presence of the Havana Club brand in the United States. Havana Club is a brand that was created following nationalization in the Cuban revolution and was seized without compensation from the Arechabala family, which left Cuba, stopped producing the rum, and sold the brand to Bacardi. After allowing the trademark registered under “Havana Club” to lapse in 1973, the Cuban government registered the brand in the United States in 1976. Thus, the Bacardi Act was meant to invalidate the trademark registered by the Cuban government and has been fought in American courts by the Cuban government as well as the European Union. However,

the World Trade Organization ruled that the Bacardi Act was contrary to international agreements that grant the European Community most favored nation status because the Cuban government has entered into a partnership with French company Pernod Ricard, which sells its Havana Club Rum internationally, except in the United States.

THE RULING OUTCOME? Although the government has yet to make a conclusive decision on the issue, this story reveals how the newly established diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba have brought the issue of the trademark ban into relevance once again. As American tourists continue to visit Cuba and return with bottles of the Cuban Havana Club, the sanctity of the trademark is threatened by an impending legal battle over the rights to sell Havana Club. Bacardi maintains that it is the rightful owner of the brand, yet Pernod Ricard has exhausted a plethora of plausible

remedies in its attempt to access the American market. The Office of Foreign Assets Control denied permission to renew the trademark registered under Havana Club by the Cuban government in 2006. Even more recently, a 2011 decision by the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals at the federal level came to the same conclusion and denied an appeal by Pernod Ricard USA, LLC for a district court’s decision that the Havana Club label was not a false advertisement of the rum’s geographic origin. Despite the attempts under international law to allow Pernod Ricard access to the American market, the United States legislature and judiciary have held steadfast to the policy of not recognizing the ownership of businesses seized during the Cuban Revolution. Up until today, the story remains a symbolic representation of how the United States continues to espouse the idea of retributive justice and standing up to autocracy. Spring 2017



T Film Director Brett Ratner

ucked away amidst the glitz and glamour of Beverly Hills sits Hilhaven Lodge, an adult playground since 1927.

Built by Hoover Dam architect Gordon B. Kaufmann, the lodge eventually passed into the hands of a string of celebrity owners and renters from the burgeoning Hollywood cinema industry beginning with Ingrid Bergman during World War II, and which included Kim Novak and Richard Quine, and eventually Allan Carr. In 1999, the house changed owners again when it was purchased by director Brett Ratner. “As soon as it came on the market I knew I had to have it,” Ratner recalled. “Everyone I’ve ever met in Hollywood has partied in this house. Everyone wants to hang out there.”

Recently, Ratner partnered with renowned spirits company Diageo to release The Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey, a spirit which embodies the lifestyle represented by the house. “It’s an iconic house, it should have its own spirit,” said Ratner. The Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey was first conceived 9 years ago, when the show Mad Men was at its peak. Ratner said, “Everything from the ’50s and ’60s was coming back. And everyone that I know that’s cool drinks whiskey. They drank whiskey on the show. Sinatra drank whiskey. I loved the spirits business and I wanted to get involved.”



Opulence Spring 2017

“My house was built in 1927. Just for parties.” — Brett Ratner

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But the idea of pairing a spirit with the rich history of his home didn’t happen right away. ”I saw what (long-time friend, and one of his many party guests) Sean (”Diddy” Combs) did with Cîroc, and I thought, They’re never going to give me my own brand. So I was hoping to just get involved with an established spirit like (Haig) Pinch.” Ratner then saw the explosion of Patrón as a sign that traditional male spirits could be universally marketed, as well. ”When I was growing up, women didn’t drink tequila

”When I first moved into the house, there was stuff there dating all the way back to the ’20s,” Ratner elaborated. ”I found this old whiskey decanter that was made of leather and wood, and the bar itself is made of copper and brick. That’s why the bottle is topped with a wood cork,” Ratner explained. The bottle is representative to the iconic bay windows that adorn the house. And the labels on the bottle are positioned so that the negative space creates the letter ‘H.’ “It’s very high-end. The bottle is a living, breathing thing.” Brett Ratner receives a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. because it had a worm in it and burned your throat. Patrón changed all that.” So Ratner met with the Diageo representatives and pitched a whiskey that was so smooth, ”it didn’t need a mixer, it didn’t need an ice cube, you could just sip it.” Up for the challenge, Diageo responded by creating an entirely new category. The Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey is a blend of Tennessee Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, and Bourbon, each from a distinct time period. ”It’s three decades of liquids. It’s from the ’80s, the ’90s, and the millennium,” explained Ratner. The end result was an 80 proof liquor,” said Brett. The whiskeys are mingled and bottled at Stitzel-Weller in Louisville, Kentucky. Speaking of the bottle, everything about it is an homage to its namesake.

THE NOSE OF WHISKEY Throughout the conception process, Ratner was amazed by the attention to detail that was paid to every facet of the whiskey’s creation, even down to the smells. ”So much of the decision-making with whiskey is done through the nose,” he said. ”They captured the scents from the garden, from the wood, from the bar. We have a liquid that’s authentic to the house.” Recently, The Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey won Double Gold at the World Spirit Awards. ”It’s the only competition that’s a blind taste test, it’s not a popularity contest,” boasted Ratner. Ratner may be proud of the whiskey, but he is always quick to deflect attention away from himself. ”This isn’t Brett Ratner’s whiskey. This is Hilhaven Lodge’s whiskey,” explained Brett. ”The house has 90 years of history, I’m just the owner for my generation.” Indeed, the pairing of the legendary house with the iconic director seems to be a perfect match. ”At the heart of it, I’m a storyteller. That’s the only thing I really know how to do. Having the whiskey is the spirit of the house. It’s the story that the house is telling.”

“At the heart of it, I’m a story-teller. That’s the only thing I really know how to do. Having the whiskey is the spirit of the house. It’s the story that the house is telling.” – Brett Ratner 46

Opulence Spring 2017

AmazingGrace Written by Jana Soeldner Danger; interview by Robin Jay

The heart-wrenching, yet inspirational, story of how Curtis Duffy harnessed lessons from a childhood of turmoil and tragedy to become one of the most beloved and decorated chefs in Chicago and the United States today. 48

Opulence Spring 2017


hen Ernest Hemingway told The New Yorker in 1929, ‘Courage Is Grace Under Pressure,’ he was referring to the test of character that allows a person the strength to remain calm in times of chaos and fear, to think clearly and respond compassionately. Had Hemingway lived to see the 2015 film documentary “For Grace,” about the life of Chef Curtis Duffy, he’d no doubt agree the culinary visionary displayed extreme courage under pressure in his triumph to overcome childhood adversity and achieve greatness at his Chicago restaurant named, quite appropriately, Grace.

The Story of Curtis Duffy When unspeakable tragedy struck Curtis Duffy’s family when he was just 19 in Johnstown, Ohio, the young man took refuge in cooking. He escaped a difficult home life by finding comfort in the most unlikely of places – a middle school home economics class and the caring teacher who mentored him. His first restaurant job at age 14 was washing dishes in a tiny neighborhood diner, the first of many steppingstones on a quest to become the best chef he could be and to make a lasting mark on the American culinary map. Today, Chef Curtis Duffy is the co-founder and owner of Grace, a world-class Chicago restaurant that debuted in the winter of 2012. Remarkably, it has already earned three coveted Michelin stars. Many chefs would be grateful for just one of those stars, which designates a very good restaurant. Two stars denote excellent cooking well worth a detour. But attaining the rarely awarded three stars means the restaurant offers exceptional cooking worthy of a special journey. Michelin Guide inspectors say ‘the highest award is given for the superlative cooking of chefs at the peak of their profession. The ingredients are exemplary, the cooking is elevated to an art form and their dishes are often destined to become classics.’ Only 13 chefs in the United States have ever received three Michelin stars since that award-level’s inception in 1933. Curtis Duffy is one of them

– and it’s a milestone he achieved against all odds. “Curtis Duffy is undeniably one of the pillars of the Chicago culinary landscape, having worked with several of the city’s top chefs. His cuisine is elegant and refined, showing a mastery of technique and an extraordinary harmony in textures and flavors. With the award of the third Michelin star, Curtis Duffy confirms his position as a member of the culinary elite in the country,” said Michael Ellis, the Michelin Guide’s International Director. This room, [Grace], is ‘as handsome as it is urbane and provides a supremely comfortable environment for those spending an evening discovering the culinary wizardry of Curtis Duffy,’ the Michelin Guide reads. ‘You’ll be presented with a choice between two seasonally changing menus: “Fauna” or, for vegetarians, “Flora.” Trying to keep track of the ingredients of each dish will nullify the benefit of the wine, so instead just marvel at the clever presentation and dig in - because taste is “The Alaskan King Crab dish was a really beautiful presentation. We had to crack through a creme brulee-type top and then the flavors took you straight to summer. It had a really bright citrusy flavor perfect for the middle of winter in the Windy City,” said Kyle Kayson on behalf of International Opulence.

what this food is all about. This style of cooking is very labor-intensive and if you want to learn more, then take their postprandial kitchen tour.’

Four Pillars of Success What makes Grace so successful? “It’s not just about the food,” Curtis told International Opulence. “It has to be the entire package, and I’ve always preached that to my staff. The four pillars we built this restaurant on are the service, the wine, the ambiance and the food. All four of those have to be equally exceptional.” It’s also about paying close attention to his guests. When a reservation comes in, staff will actually research the individual on social media to learn about him or her. “Everybody has to feel special,” Curtis said. “That’s what they’re coming here for, and we have a responsibility to deliver that. If we’re able to find something that’s unique about you on Facebook, then we’re going to try to use it within your dining experience. Say there was a picture of you throwing a baseball with your left hand. We’d say, ‘okay, maybe she’s left-handed, let’s pay attention to that.’ We change everything on the table so it’s easier for you as a left-handed diner.” Chicago natives Kyle Kayson and Nicole DiGiacomo are doctors by day and foodies by night. They dined at Grace for the first time in February. “The level of customer care we received was unreal:

Spring 2017



The friendly staff greeted us by first name; at our table, they had placed a 2016 World Series Chicago Cubs baseball cap for me and a White Sox baseball cap for Nicole. We were blown away. It was like being at a dinner party with old friends.”

The Dining Differentials At Grace, Curtis Duffy creates seasonal menus featuring the best ingredients available each week. “We look at it as if we have 52 seasons a year,” he said. “Ingredients go in and out of season so quickly. We have deep relationships with our farmers, our foragers, the fishmongers. They’ll tell me things like, ‘Listen, this is going to be the last week of fennel, or maybe we’ve got two weeks left of truffles’. They know their products will be turned into works of art and they get excited about that and make sure we receive the best produce.” Examples of this master chef’s creativity: capturing something delicious – whether savory or sweet – such as in a flavored sleeve of ice. Or preserving fresh strawberries by dipping them in beeswax. “Beeswax melts at around 139 degrees,” Duffy explained. “So if we cook below that, the beeswax never melts. It encapsulates the strawberry inside and creates a little pouch of its own.” One creative idea came to fruition when Curtis was working at Charlie Trotter’s. “On my day off, I rode my motorcycle to Lake Michigan and sat by the water to jot down ideas. I remember drawing this picture of an edible, see-through hollow tube that you could build something inside. I wanted it to be frozen, but I had no idea how to make a mold that would create a cylinder thin enough to freeze quickly in order to serve dozens of guests. So I tabled the idea. “When I started planning the first menu at Grace in 2012, I revisited the notion of the ice cylinder. I asked a friend who worked at a silicone mold company to come up with a mold with an easy way to extract the ice cylinder without breaking it. I was thrilled when he unveiled the prototype,” Curtis said with a chuckle, “but when I learned the tool he used to make it was a condom, I said, ‘whoa!’ I can’t serve my guests a dish formed in a prophylactic! Fortunately, he came up with a way to fabricate a silicone mold.” Ever since, the hollow ice cylinder has been a hit with guests at Grace, having been on the menu in several forms – such as to hold a savory layered Thai fish and lime rice dish, Ice cylinder with chocolate, as well as a sweet flavored-ice dessert pistachios, lemon and mint (see photo right).

Difficult Early Days

The elegant dining room at Grace allows guests to peer into the kitchen and watch their artful dishes being prepared. 50

Opulence Spring 2017

Curtis Duffy was born in Colorado Springs and lived there until he was 10, when his father, Robert “Bear” Duffy (the nickname given to the Vietnam veteran by his biker friends) suddenly uprooted the family and moved Curtis, his siblings “Tig” Robert Jr. and Trisha, and his mother Jan, to Johnstown, Ohio. In Colorado Springs, the family had lived in a spacious, five-bedroom house. Now, in Ohio, they crowded together in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment where Curtis slept on the closet floor.

Curtis with his preferred mode of transportation – his Harley Davidson motorcycle

“When we moved to Ohio, everything in our family structure changed and became dysfunctional,” Curtis said. “Even though I was very young, I sensed that I wanted more for my life.”

A Life-Changing Classroom Feeling trapped and bored in Johnstown, with a population of a little more than 3,000, Curtis went looking for trouble and found plenty of it, regularly getting into fights and having at least one serious brush with the law. In school, he was a C student – until he entered a home economics class that was mandatory for all sixth graders. His teacher, Ruth Snider, would become a motivating force for the rest of his life. On the first day of the class, Ms. Snider announced they would be making pizza. It was an epiphany for Curtis. He and the class formed rounds of dough and topped them with tomato sauce, pepperoni and cheese. “I felt comfortable in the home-ec class and with Ruth,” he recalled. “Something about going into a kitchen was very comforting to me.” Curtis took Snider’s class for two years after that, wanting to maintain his special connection. “In a sense, it was because family life at home was very tough,” Curtis said. “It wasn’t a very loving environment. I felt like Ruth cared about me more than anybody else. I felt happy when I was in her class.” Snider, who had taught hundreds of kids during her career, saw something unique and special in Curtis and kept in touch with him as he struggled with the difficulties life brought to him. Years later, she would be guest of honor on the opening night at Grace.

Family Tragedy

Before his father passed, Bear wrote in a letter that some day Curtis would be a great chef. “I had no idea, but somehow he did. It gives me chills thinking about it,” Curtis said.

When Curtis got his first restaurant job washing dishes at a neighborhood greasy spoon, he once again found comfort. “I wasn’t really cooking, but I was in the kitchen. It felt like home to me.” Meanwhile, his family life went from bad to worse. Bear, who had once been a boxer, was physically abusive to Jan. Curtis found refuge in a series of restaurant jobs, including one at a prestigious country club with a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus. There he began to see cooking as an art, a way of expressing himself and his own creativity. When for the first time he cooked dinner at home for his parents, a pasta dish with tomatoes, garlic, olives, and chilies that he’d seen prepared at the club, Jan and Bear stopped fighting long enough to enjoy the food and express their surprise and pleasure at their son’s talent. Soon, fighting started again. Curtis moved out of his parents’ home and into an apartment. Jan filed for divorce and left with Trisha. Desperate to win back his wife, Bear lost weight and began working out, thinking it would make him more attractive to Jan. He also began taking an antidepressant, hoping to control his continuing rages, but he quit the medication cold turkey. On the 18th anniversary of their wedding, Bear appeared at the door of his wife’s apartment carrying a rose and a card – his last attempt to reconcile their marriage. Jan remained adamant: She was going to continue with the divorce proceedings and she left for work at a supermarket. Shortly after noon, when Jan and a friend were walking to lunch, Bear pulled up in a car beside them, pointed a rifle at his wife and ordered

her to get into the car. She did, while her friend escaped. Bear roared away, taking his wife to his home where he held her hostage. Police were called, but after several desperate hours of negotiation, Bear shot his wife and then himself. Naturally, Curtis was devastated. The man who was supposed to protect his family had taken his own life and the life of the only mother Curtis had ever known. It brought back memories of when he was 5, when Jan told Curtis and his brother Tig that she wasn’t their birth mother. Their biological mother had abandoned the children when Curtis was 6 months old, but when Jan married Bear, she cared for and loved the boys like they were her own.

The Haunting Notebook The day after the murder/suicide, Curtis went back to his father’s home, the teargas still lingering, where he found a blue notebook. In it were pages headed with the names of each family member. Apparently, he had intended to write each one a letter, but only Curtis’ page contained a message from his father. The letter warned Curtis not to

A young Curtis “Bones” Duffy (front right) with his family: mother Jan, father “Bear” Robert, sister Trisha and brother “Tig” Robert Jr.

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In November 2016, Chef Curtis Duffy was inducted into the Disciples d’Escoffier in an event at Grace hosted by the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. The Disciples d’Escoffier is a prestigious global society and premier gastronomic organization focused on the promotion and preservation of excellence in cuisine, culinary education, wine culture, spirits and hospitality.

make the same mistakes his father had, and expressed his belief that some day Curtis would be a great chef. “I’ve thought about and wondered why my dad wrote a letter only to me,” Curtis said. “Maybe I stuck by his side more than everybody else. It wasn’t until recently that the words my dad wrote really meant anything to me, because I never thought I was going to be a great chef,” he said. “I had no idea, but somehow he did.” As Curtis’ career continued and honors and accolades accrued, his father’s words began to haunt him. “I started to think, wow, how did he know all along?” he said. “It gives me chills thinking about it.”

An Ascending Career After the deaths of his parents, Curtis tried to escape to Colorado to find where his father’s ashes had been scattered on Pike’s Peak mountain and to see where his mother was laid to rest. With limited clues, Curtis managed to find his father’s grave, marked only with a rustic Cross made of sticks. At the foot of the mountain, the 19-yearold grieving son happened into a small jewelry store, where he purchased a silver ring, which he wears in remembrance of his mother. Curtis returned to Johnstown and went back to work at the country club. Ruth Snider was still there, and the two had long phone conversations. Mostly, he talked and she listened. She became a surrogate mother; he became her son.


Opulence Spring 2017

Later, Curtis began a romance with a young woman at work named Kim Becker, and eventually they married. As his career blossomed, Kim became pregnant with their first child, a daughter they named Ava Leigh. A second daughter, Eden Grace, came three years later. Their childhoods, Curtis decided, would be better than his. By age 24, Curtis was earning a large salary as a chef de cuisine at a restaurant in Ohio, but he wanted more. He was intrigued by the cookbook Charlie Trotter’s, which showcased ingredients, techniques and combinations way ahead of their time. Curtis packed up his family and headed to Chicago; he took a low-paying job at Charlie Trotter’s, where he worked grueling hours. “I was amazed to find that the beautiful food creations photographed in Charlie Trotter’s weren’t just for show in the book – he really made them daily for his restaurant guests.” Curtis climbed the culinary ladder at other fine Chicago restaurants, too, including Trio, Alinea [which he opened with acclaimed chef Grant Achatz – the only other Chicago-based chef to receive three Michelin stars], the Peninsula and Avenues. “I used them as stepping-stones to gain knowledge, learning their style and food and vision and thought,” Curtis said. “For instance, my takeaway from Charlie Trotter was his idea of using the best possible ingredients in the height of season. From Grant Achatz and Alinea, I learned to never say no to an unusual idea – he taught me always to look at things differently.”

What Goes Up Must Come Down As Chef Duffy’s career was ascending, his marriage was crumbling, Curtis and Kim separated. Yet in spite of his long hours and difficult schedule, he managed — and still manages — to make time for his daughters. “There’s a saying that the life of a chef is like handling a set of fine knives – you have to find balance or risk getting cut. I’ve learned to take time for my health, attending martial arts classes in the morning and then bringing that discipline to the restaurant and to my family life to be the best chef, business leader and father that I possibly can.” In 2011, Curtis and Michael Muser, the wine director at Avenues, decided it was time to open their own restaurant – a vision Curtis named ‘Grace.’ “The restaurant community in Chicago was affected by the recession; everybody got away from the idea of great service and great food. It became a city known for shared plates and communal dining, and service was a secondary thought. We wanted to give that back to the community, because I felt like it was missing, and I had a responsibility as a chef to bring fine dining back to where it should be,” Curtis said. Curtis scouted properties on the back of his Harley Davidson. Eventually, he and two partners bought an old, dilapidated store and began to transform it into the restaurant of their dreams. The attention to detail was geared to perfection – from the state-of-the-art kitchen to the hand stitching of the thousand-dollar leather chairs. Finally, on a night in December 2012, the doors of Grace opened to the public. Among the guests was Ruth Snider, his former home-ec teacher. She sat at a table where she could watch Curtis plate her dishes himself. No one else was allowed to touch them. After dinner, the long hug that followed between the two left not a dry eye in the house.

“This dish was one of my favorites – variations on different preparations of a simple carrot, but with very complex and surprising tastes,” said Kyle Kayson who attended a tasting at Grace for International Opulence.

“During the recession in Chicago, it became a city known for shared plates and communal dining; service was secondary. I felt it was missing, and I had a responsibility as a chef to bring it back to where it should be,” Curtis said.

A Definition of Grace On his arm, Curtis bears a tattoo that says, “Grace is the beauty of form under the influence of freedom.” He got the tattoo before he opened the restaurant, but earlier in his career, he told himself that if he ever owned a restaurant, it would be called Grace. “For me, the definition of grace is everything we want to give our guests in the restaurant,” he said. “It’s gracefulness, thoughtfulness, refinement and beauty. Grace is my baby and everything about me and my career that has led up to this point.” Besides his three Michelins, Curtis’ impressive culinary achievements include such honors as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Great Lakes award in 2016; five stars in the Forbes Travel Guide and five diamonds in the AAA guide. To watch the compelling film documentary “For Grace” about the life of Curtis Duffy, you can download it on, Netflix or For more information about Grace, go to or, for reservations, call 312-234-9494. Rhubarb dish

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dishing with the James Beard Foundation President

An Herb by Any Other Name invest in a couple of plants. The matchless flavor of fresh basil is a natural ally of tomatoes and the prime ingredient in the Italian pesto, a dark green paste made from basil leaves pounded with garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and cheese that is spooned on pasta and rice and into soups. Pesto freezes well, so you can keep it year-round. Fresh or dried, basil is exceedingly good with veal and many fish dishes.

Bay Leaves Susan Ungaro I came to the James Beard Foundation more than 10 years ago, after working for 27 years at Family Circle magazine. And while running a national Foundation was an exciting new challenge that I was excited to take on, I was thrilled when in my first months in my new position, a publishing project came across my desk. We were about to reissue one of James Beard’s books, Beard on Food, which was first published in 1974. Our namesake James Beard wrote prolific prose on a vast landscape of culinary topics, from the pleasures of the perfect sandwich to a lesson in chicken anatomy to his six essential herbs, which is one of my favorites. Humorous, informative, and timeless, this collection of essays remains an indispensible resource for the home cook. I love reading about how much he loved each of these herbs — and it makes me think about how much I love fresh basil. What’s your favorite?

James Beard’s Six Essential Herbs If I had to pick six herbs I couldn’t cook without, I’d settle for basil, bay leaf, rosemary, savory, tarragon, and thyme. Parsley too, of course, but that is so universal it goes without saying.

Basil Basil is grown so readily in most parts of the country that, come spring, anyone with a patch of garden or a sunny windowsill should



BAY LEAVES Spring 2017

Bay leaves have a delicate pungency that enhances all kinds of cooking. They are appropriate as a flavoring for a custard or arrowroot pudding as for a stew or sauce. The French pop a couple of bay leaves on top of a pâté while it is baking (if you try this, cover them with foil to keep them flat). In Italy, crumbled bay leaves are fried in olive oil with chopped onion, garlic, celery leaves, and tomato to make a soffrino, a seasoning for sauces, soups, and stews.

Rosemary Rosemary, asserted the great writer-cook Marcel Boulestin, is not for remembrance—it’s for cooking veal. Lamb and beef as well. Put two or three sprigs of rosemary on a just-cooked steak, pour on a little warm brandy. Ignite, and let burn out to give a terrific flavor to the meat. The French custom of dipping a rosemary sprig in oil and brushing a steak, chop, or fish with it during the broiling is a very subtle flavoring trick, indeed. Always pulverize rosemary’s needlelike leaves in a mortar before adding them to a sauce or stew.

Savory Savory, or sarriette as known in France, where it grows wild in the hills of Provence, is little known and little used in this country. The French often roll goat’s milk cheeses in its tiny, spiky dried leaves. Savory is an excellent herb for lamb, pungent enough to take the place of both salt and pepper if need be, which anyone on a salt-free diet might bear in mind.



By Susan Ungaro

Thyme Thyme is an herb without which no selfrespecting cook can exist. It goes in ragoûts, sauces, and stocks. There are several varieties of thyme, of which the most familiar is the tiny-leaved French thyme. The lemon thyme is very pleasant, too. An unusual and effective way to use thyme is to blend it with four ounces of cream cheese, a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream, a touch of minced garlic, and a soupçon of salt. Use about a teaspoon of the fresh leaves, half the amount of the dried. Chill and serve as a snack or a non-sweet dessert.

Tarragon And then there’s tarragon, a most exceptional and helpful herb. The unique flavor of its pointed leaves belongs with fish, is an absolute must for béarnaise sauce, gives vinegar a glorious taste, and is the best friend a chicken ever had. One of the greatest—and simplest—chicken dishes I know is Poulet Sauté a l’Estragon. The whole process takes less than 30 minutes, and you should have a dish you could serve with confidence to the most critical group of food buffs. Some final advice: Dried herbs cannot be used forever and ever. They don’t last that long. Keep them in a dark place, tightly sealed in glass jars, tins, or polyethylene bags, and smell them now and then to see if they are holding their strength. If not, throw them out and get some more. There’s no economy in cooking with a spent herb. — James Beard, Beard on Food (1974) Visit for James Beard’s Chicken with Tarragon recipe.



An Insider’s Look at Dining in the Prestigious

James Beard House in New York City By Alona ABBADY Martinez


eralded as the “Dean of American Cookery” by The New York Times in 1954, James Beard was a larger-than-life figure that inspired a generation of chefs and cookbook authors to redefine the way America eats. A pioneer foodie, Beard was a chef, food writer and television personality that wanted Americans to have fun in the kitchen, enjoy the pleasures of cooking and eating, and explore new cultures and cuisines, all the while championing local products and markets. Along the way, he amassed 20 cookbooks and, with his passing, left a legacy of culinary excellence that continues to inspire home cooks and professional chefs today.


Opulence Spring 2017

James Beard’s New York townhouse is now the iconic dining venue of the James Beard Foundation.

After his death in 1985, a group of his friends and colleagues heeded a call from Beard’s dear friend Julia Child to do something with Beard’s house, a quaint townhouse in New York’s charming Greenwich Village. Beard was known to welcome students, chefs and other culinary professionals into his home, so it was befitting that in 1986, the James Beard Foundation officially opened The James Beard House. The mission of the James Beard Foundation is to celebrate, nurture and preserve America’s culinary heritage and future. Toward this end, chefs are invited to “perform” at the Beard House by presenting lunches, brunches, workshops and dinners to Foundation members and the public. A typical dinner consists of three to five passed hors d’oeuvres, five courses including dessert, and matching wines for each course.

A Night To Remember International Opulence is a proud member of the James Beard Foundation, with JBF President, Susan Ungaro, among our distinguished columnists. Chantal Forster, Chantal Forster, Chef Rob Nelson and Noma Gray Marketing Director of International Opulence, had the pleasure of dining at The James Beard House while Rob Nelson, Executive Chef of Tusk & Trotter, was the visiting chef. Nelson’s acclaimed American Brasserie in Bentonville, Arkansas, focuses on elegant, locally sourced southern cuisine. “Chef Rob and his team were the most hospitable people you could ever hope for, all extremely down-to-earth and genuine,” Forster recalled.

A Historic House to Admire Entering the venue brought personal memories back as well, “It reminded me of my grandparents’ house,” she said, which was especially fitting because dining with Chantal was her mother who was celebrating her 60th birthday. “It’s a quaint townhome that exudes cordiality and character. The traditions and memories are tangible; it was evident that the dining experience was going to be memorable.” Spring 2017



Upstairs, mouthwatering courses followed, such as Shrimp Croquette with Grits and Corn, Seafood, and Tasso Ham Cream, and Coffee-marinated Beef Tenderloin with Root Vegetable Mash, Shaved Brussels Sprouts, and Artisanal Feta Cheese Sauce. Cherry Clafoutis with Chardonnay– Pawpaw Ice Cream and Candied Violets was the perfect ending to the meal.

The house, built in 1844, is enriched by relics of the late James Beard, as well as plenty of quirky details. Visitors can eat at a six-person table that used to serve as the bedroom platform where Beard himself slept. Portraits of the iconic culinary legend grace the four stories of the institute and mirrors can be found in odd spots, such as the dining room restroom (converted from the original library), which promotes full celebration with wall-to-wall mirrors. Set casually amongst the lush, enclosed garden in the greenhouse dining room is Beard’s old shower, an ode to both his grand sense of humor, as well as a reminder that the ordinary can and should coexist with greatness. 58

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As guests enter the building, they walk through the kitchen, a purposeful way to connect with their meal and watch the chef in action. From there they head to the cocktail area and backyard before being summoned upstairs for dinner.

The Highlights “My favorite libation was the Pecan Champagne cocktail made by mixologist Scott Baker and my favorite small bite was the fried duck liver with a homemade pickle on a buttermilk biscuit,” Forster recalled. Dehydrated Apples with Apple Caviar and Black WalnutHerb Whipped Cream and Fig Champagne Cocktails were among other offerings.

Nelson’s food speaks volumes about his expertise, but a peek into his background only asserts what the diner’s palate has already determined. After college, he attended the Culinary School of the Rockies in Boulder, Colorado, and spent time with James Beard Award winner Chef Hugo Matheson of The Kitchen. Nelson then moved to France where he studied at Le Marmiton Cooking School and Universite du Vin in Sousse la Rousse. Nelson honed his culinary skills under the watch of numerous distinguished chefs in the region, developing a love and respect for creating dishes featuring locally grown, seasonal ingredients, a practice he is proud to still carry on today. The James Beard House is located at 167 W 12th St, New York, NY 10011. To browse events and visiting-chef dinner schedules, visit www. or call (212) 675-4984.


The Few… The Proud… The Female Multi-Concept Restaurant Partner

Meet Executive Chef-Business Guru Lisabet Summa, one of America’s female pioneers in running a multi-concept group of novel restaurants By Jana Soeldner Danger


Opulence Spring 2017

“Being a partner is really the ultimate for a chef because you’re not just a silent person in the kitchen,” Lisabet said. “You have a voice in the business.” — Lisabet Summa

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ow did the world’s worst waitress get to be head of a multimillion dollar restaurant corporation?

The road was a long one, and it led through the kitchen instead of the dining room. Now a partner and Corporate Culinary Director of Big Time Restaurant Group, Lisabet Summa has worked in some of the best known restaurants in the U.S., along with chefs who’ve pioneered the modern culinary movement. She has also opened more than a dozen successful eateries on her own. But her career began as a server in Lake Forest, Illinois, the small town where she grew up. And she wasn’t a very good one. “I was the world’s worst,” she said with a laugh. “At 19, I realized the front of the house didn’t interest me, but that I was inspired by the kitchen.”

Turning Lemons into Lemonade When a chef who worked at the restaurant where Lisabet was toiling away as a server heard about her interest, she tried to help. “She had trained in England and she also did lots of entertaining,” Lisabet said. “I started working with her at her house, helping her cook, and I just fell in love with it.”

When a man appeared outside the door to deliver a case of tomatoes, Lisabet slipped in behind him and looked around for the chef. When she found him, he asked what she knew how to do. “I really didn’t know anything,” she admitted. “But he said, ‘come back tomorrow.’ There were a couple of weeks of ‘come back tomorrows.’ Then one day, he handed me a chef’s coat and offered me a job.”

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Twenty-one-year-old Lisabet began preparing all the desserts at Alouette, where she worked for about a year. Then she heard about a new restaurant called Sinclair’s American Grill, a partnership between a promiChef Norman Van Aken nent local restaurateur and Marshall Field, that was opening in Lake Forest. She applied for a job and went to work there. It was 1983, the country’s palate was just beginning to develop a taste for fine food, and the chef was Norman Van Aken, who would later become one of South Florida’s first celebrity chefs and a James Beard Award winner.

eventually become internationally known for his restaurant in Chicago, was working there as a line cook. “He had been at Sinclair’s American Grill in Lake Forest, and he was one of the people who moved down to Sinclair’s in Jupiter,” Lisabet recalled. Talk about serendipity.

A Memorable Era It was an interesting time in the American restaurant business, when chefs were just beginning to explore new concepts and flavor profiles. “I had been trained in a classic French restaurant, and Charlie Trotter was into this whole New American cuisine Chef Charlie Trotter movement,” Lisabet remembered. “We’d get into these philosophic culinary battles over what was correct and what wasn’t. Charlie always had a very intellectual, cerebral approach to his work in the kitchen. I think he had a degree in philosophy, but he fell in love with the kitchen, too.”

Now a partner and executive chef with Big Time Restaurant Group, Lisabet Summa has worked in some of the best known restaurants in the U.S., along with chefs who’ve pioneered the modern culinary movement.

But cooking in a home kitchen wasn’t enough, and Lisabet was determined to get a real restaurant job. Setting her sights on Alouette, a French place in a nearby city where her friend had taken her to eat, she traveled there by train, went around to the back of the restaurant and knocked on the kitchen door. “Everybody inside was busy, and nobody answered,” she said. “I sat out there for a long time.”


Climbing the Culinary Ladder

Eventually, Summa left Sinclair’s to move downtown and take a job at Maxims, one of the most renowned restaurants in Chicago. But when Van Aken called during a cold Chicago winter and asked her to come help him open another Sinclair’s in Florida, she packed a bag and boarded a train. “Being from the North Shore of Chicago, I had never been near saltwater,” she said. “I came down and got a big mouthful of the ocean and fell in love. So I went back up, got my stuff and moved down for good.” Coincidentally Sinclair’s, located in Jupiter, had another employee who would go on to great things: Charlie Trotter, who would

In the summer, when everyone who could flee South Florida’s heat and humidity did so, and restaurants slowed to a sweaty crawl, Lisabet returned to the Chicago area to work. “I went back and forth for a while,” she said. “I specialized in baking pastries and desserts. They were my first area of focus. It’s been a great foundation, because you have to understand time and temperature, and the way ingredients work in recipes. It’s also a very creative, fun aspect of the kitchen. It wasn’t until I started teaching at the Culinary Institute of Florida that I branched off into other disciplines.”

Risks and Challenges Perhaps her success is partly based on her willingness to take risks. When Summa heard that a chef from Montreal was opening a new restaurant near Military Trail

Grease Burger Bar

City Cellar

Big City Tavern

City Oyster

Rocco’s Tacos Spring 2017



Louie Bossi’s Ristorante • Bar • Pizzeria

“You’re not making food, you’re making memories. It’s a great time to be a chef.”

Louie Bossi’s Ristorante

— Lisabet Summa

called St. Honore, she decided to take a chance on what at the time seemed like a very unpromising location. “There was nothing on either side of Military Trail then,” she said. “It’s all built up now, but then it was just empty fields.” In the early ‘80s, producing outstanding food was much more challenging than it is today. “Just to put it in perspective, when I was working at St. Honore, we couldn’t buy fresh thyme,” Lisabet recalled. “You couldn’t buy anything except olive oil – none of the products they were used to having in France. And you couldn’t see the explosion that was about to take place – the popularization of the culinary arts, or young people becoming chefs. “I was totally on the cusp,” she continued. “We had the California culinary movement establishing a foothold in the big cities, but we had to scrape and claw to be part of it.” After leaving St. Honore in 1987, she moved into a variety of different positions, both in kitchens and in teaching. Then in the mid 1990s, when Big Time Restaurant Group


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was opening Big City Tavern on Clematis Street in downtown West Palm Beach, they offered her the chef’s job. But she didn’t want it. “I wanted to be a partner in the business,” she said.

A STAKE IN THE BUSINESS Big Time principals Todd Herbert and Bill Watson agreed to take her on. “Being a partner is really the ultimate for a chef, because you’re working in conjunction with a management and ownership team, and you’re not just a silent person in the kitchen,” Lisabet said. “You have a voice in the business.” She began by developing a menu for Big City Tavern and testing the recipes in her home kitchen, because the restaurant didn’t have one yet. Today, Lisabet is one of the few women running a multi-concept restaurant business. “I think the best thing for a chef is to be somebody who is generous with their knowledge,” she said. “That’s the tradition of teaching young chefs. Knowledge is passed down through generations.” But it works both ways. “I’m always teaching, and I’m always learning. I learn from my

cooks. I go into the kitchen and put on a jacket and just melt into the kitchen crew.” Lisabet has a theory about food. “It’s either something nostalgic that harkens back to what someone loves, or it’s something that’s incredibly, surprisingly new. Both experiences can be equally great. “You’re not making food,” she continued, “You’re making memories. It’s a great time to be a chef.” Big Time Restaurant Group operates Rocco’s Tacos Tequila Bar in Brooklyn, New York, as well as 12 multi-concept locations in South Florida, including City Oyster & Sushi Bar, Big City Tavern, City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, Grease Burger Bar and Louie Bossi’s Ristorante, Bar and Pizzeria. This year, Big Time’s expansion plans include two new locations for Louie Bossi’s – one in Boca Raton and another in Delray Beach, as well as two more Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, which will open in Tampa, Florida, and at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport.

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HUNT TO TABLE Wild Game Dinner Pays Homage to Hemingway By Alona Abbady Martinez


hen Ernest Hemingway was just 3 years old, he was eagerly tagging along with his father Clarence on seven-mile hunting expeditions. Ernest’s mother Grace noted a humorous anecdote about her son in a family scrapbook “… little hunter and provider shot a duck for their dinner, but with the tongue in cheek added that Papa (Clarence) shot at the same time,” said Sean Hemingway, Ernest’s grandson who completed the final edit of Hemingway on Hunting. “For Hemingway, hunting was more than just a passion; it was a means through which to explore our humanity and man’s relationship to nature,” Sean said. “Courage, awe, respect, precision, patience — these were the virtues that Hemingway honored in the hunter, and his ability to translate these qualities into prose has produced some of the strongest accounts of sportsmanship of all time.”


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A Hunting Club Pays Homage to Ernest Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s love of hunting and the great outdoors, a group of 35 successful business men and women who are hunting enthusiasts recently celebrated an evening of wild-game culinary delight at Swine Southern Table and Bar in Coral Gables, Florida. On behalf of International Opulence, Michael Jay – a seasoned hunter and member of the group casually known as the Hemingway Hunt Club – sat down with co-founders Jorge Freeland, A.J. Ager. “The idea behind the club was to follow Hemingway’s values on hunting and fishing. It was to honor the author. He loved Florida and was very passionate about the outdoors,” Freeland explained. “I ran the club the first year and organized our dinners.” The dinners Freeland is referring to are the feasts prepared by acclaimed chefs featur-

ing what the members have hunted. Swine Southern Table and Bar, a Miami favorite specializing in Southern comfort food, hosted February’s hunt-club dinner under the watch of Corporate Chef Patrick Rebholz. John Kunkle, owner of 50 Eggs Inc., which includes Swine, initially became interested in the club after embarking on a hunting expedition with Freeland in Argentina. “About 2-3 months ago, we were talking and John said, ‘Hey, I’ve got this new chef at Swine and he specializes in wild game – you bring the protein and we’ll supply everything else!’” Freeland told International Opulence.

The Feast At Swine Members of the club dropped off their game at Swine prior to the event. “The group was extremely eager and have such a brotherhood amongst them. It really made the dinner so worth it for me and my team,” Rebholz recalled.

The final result was spectacular. Baird Lobree, a fellow hunter who attended the dinner, was impressed by what he calls, “the incredibly varied, detailed honor-the-whole-animal creativity, careful preparation, presentation and service.”

The Wild Game Menu Starters included Wild Boar Empanadas, Bacon Guantlet, and Thai Pheasant Sausage, followed by an exquisite array of hunted delights: Smoked BBQ Legs of Boar, Pheasant Stuffed Quail, Fennel Stuffed Tomahawk Boar Chops and Wild-Caught Golden Tilefish with Sun Choke Coconut Pureé. Exceptional wine pairings, desserts, specialty cocktails, and nightcaps, such as John Wayne-inspired “The Duke Bourbon” were also showcased. “Cooking with wild game is an interesting feat - you are working with an animal from the wild. We had to taste quite a bit as we curated the menu. The most interesting part would be thinking outside the box to make sure we honor the entire animal,” Rebholz explained. “We’re trying to promote hunting and fishing as a historic American pastime,” Freeland said. “Hunting is not so much about shooting; it’s about being out in nature.” It’s also about the comradery that forms between members during and after the hunt, something exemplified by the dinner at Swine. Co-founder A.J. Ager, agrees. “I realized this was the perfect opportunity for some father-son bonding. Lo and behold, my son landed his first pig! It was a memorable moment for both of us and John’s culinary team cooked it to delicious perfection!” Spring 2017






by Robin Jay

A few years ago, you’d find 20-something Ukrainian architect Dinara Kasko overseeing complex construction sites in the Netherlands. Today, the 28-year-old is back home in Kharkov with a precious 2-year-old daughter by her side and a new studio where she creates her scale models: her kitchen.


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Culinary Architecture These days, as a patisserie, Dinara uses her architectural and 3D modeling skills to dream up, sketch on paper and design computerized models for remarkable geometric cakes. “Even in this stage, I can create the whole scale and proportions,” she said. “I can vary the color, texture and choose decorations for finished product. The next step is to use a 3D printer to create the master model. Finally, I cast the silicone mold.” Dinara then whips up a delicious batter and pours it into the silicone molds to bake up stunning cakes that would make even Frank Lloyd Wright envious. Dinara, also a talented photographer, styles and snaps the beautiful images of her cakes. It may sound and look easy but, Dinara said, “The most difficult part is to achieve the initial idea for a geometric design” that translates sturdy enough with flour, eggs, butter and sugar instead of steel girders, bricks and glass.

The Transition Into Cakes Dinara developed her love for all things sweet in her travels – by age 17, she had visited 16 countries. She bought books upon books on baking and became a ‘real fan of pastry.’ “I eventually visited different culinary schools in Ukraine, Spain, France, Russia 70

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and attended courses with the greatest chefs in different master classes. Last year, I was in Paris at the Elle & Vire School with chefs Nicolas Bussen and Angelo Musa. Lately, I am a self-study,” she explained. As you view the magnificent Dinara Kasko cake designs throughout this layout, you’ll see shots of both the outsides of the cake, as well as just-as-spectacular cross sections showing the insides with layers of frosting, fruits, and ganache. “If you want a cake to look beautiful on the inside when you cut it, you need to freeze the filling well. No tricks, just a lot of work,” Dinara said. “Architects need to know much and have good professional skills; the same is true about good pastry-cooks.  Earlier, I wasn’t picky when buying a dessert in a shop, it had to

“The most difficult part is to achieve the initial idea for a geometric design” that translates sturdy enough with flour, eggs, butter and sugar instead of steel girders, bricks and glass. – Dinara Kasko

Spring 2017



be just sweet. But now I realize how many ingredients, techniques and nuances you need to know to make it really beautiful and not only sweet. It is a real science.” No matter what language someone speaks around the world, desserts visually speak a universal dialect that nearly always results in smiles. “Yes it is true. I bake cakes and pastries because I really like to eat them,” Dinara said with a grin. “And I think there are no people who don’t like desserts, there are only those who can resist them.” What’s next for this young master of patisserie? “I am an idea-person, and if I like something or get interested, I start working on it day and night,” Dinara said. “And it does not matter what it is. I constantly change my hobbies. Now it is pastry.” * To see more of Dinara Kasko’s remarkable pastry art, visit


Opulence Spring 2017



Venezuelan bistros are popping up all across Miami By Alona Abbady Martinez

Most people know Venezuela as the oil-rich South American country that has struggled with political and economic turmoil for almost two decades. What they may not realize is that it is a country filled with a varied, vibrant and delectable cuisine. With the growing number of Venezuelan expats settling in Miami, the memorable food of “The Land of Grace,” as dubbed by Christopher Columbus, is taking center stage. Here’s a preview of a few favorite spots in Miami: Boca’s Grill 3399 N.W. 72nd Ave., Miami, FL 33122 Tel: 305-592-6333

Chef Cesar Gonzalez hails from San Cristobal and settled in the Miami suburb Doral where he owned a marketing company while pursuing his culinary hobby he shared on Instagram. Soon he had 350,000 followers, so when the opportunity arose to open his own spot, he didn’t think twice. Guests enjoy Arepa Reina Pepiada, grilled cornmeal cake filled with avocado chicken salad, and Pabellón, Venezuela’s national dish of seasoned shredded beef, black beans, rice and fried plantains. Beverages include fresh tropical fruit juices and homemade Venezuelan chicha, a rice milkshake sweetened with condensed milk, the beverage of choice for Venezuelan children. El Saman Arepas Bistro 4709 NW 79 Avenue, Doral, FL 33166 Tel: 786-391-1297

In 1977 Jose Blanco sold food from a tiny kiosk nestled under a monkey-pod tree in Maracay, Venezuela. Almost 30 years later, Samán Arepas Bistro came to Florida, both in Orlando and in Miami, serving grilled cornmeal cakes – staple street food in Venezuela. Highlights include Arepa Pelúa, shredded meat and yellow cheese, black beans and grated white 74

Opulence Spring 2017

cheese, and Catira, or “Blondie,” shredded seasoned chicken and yellow cheese. Other must-try Venezuelan treats: Tequeños (a rich pastry crust wrapped around salty queso blanco then deep-fried) and Cachapas, sweet corn pancakes nestled with fresh mozzarellastyle Venezuelan cheese. Doggi’s Arepa Bar 1246 Coral Way, Miami, FL 33145 Tel: 305-854-6869, and 7281 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33138; Tel: 786-558-9538 This tiny jewel is packed with Venezuelans (always a good sign). Favorite arepas include the Arepa Santa Barbara, marinated

steak with thick avocado slices, tomato and shredded white cheese, and the Arepa with Asado Negro, traditional Venezuelan stew cooked with papelón (raw brown sugar). Venezuela’s national sauce, Salsa Rosada (a combo of mayo and ketchup), is drizzled on practically everything. Doggi’s also offers Patacones, a specialty from Maracaibo: thick slices of deep-fried green plantain that get smashed thinner, then refried again and topped with Salsa Rosada and shredded cheese. Wash it all down with Polar, Venezuela’s signature Pilsen beer. Cardón y El Tirano 3411 S.W. 8th Street, Miami FL 33135 Tel: 305-392-1257

This cozy establishment is the brainchild of Venezuelan-born chef Francisco Anton. The restaurant boasts a fusion of dishes from Venezuela, Mexico, the Caribbean and Peru. For Venezuelan inspiration, don’t pass up the Seafood Arepitas, mini cornmeal cakes served with clams, mussels, tiger shrimp and calamari, along with avocado mousse, marinara sauce and Guayanés cheese. Meat lovers will enjoy the Tostones Picanha, tostones with seared Brazilian beef, white cheese, or Pork Belly Cachapas. End the meal with their signature dessert, Plantain Bombolini, served on a bed of Nutella with pistachios and avocado ice cream. Amelia (opening Fall 2017)

Venezuelan-born Javier Ramirez, celebrated Miami restaurateur with award-winning restaurants Alter and Cake Thai, will soon launch his latest concept, Amelia, which has strong ties to his homeland. Amelia, described as a “Latino diner,” will feature creative spins on Venezuelan standards like the Arepa Reina Pepiada and Cachapa Con Queso Guayanés. Ramirez has partnered with Venezuelan chef, Carlos Garcia, named one of the “Best Chefs in Latin America” by S. Pellegrino, as well as Nidal Barake, a food writer, world traveler and co-founder of Gluttonomy. Alona Abbady Martinez lives in Plantation, Florida. She writes about food and family on her blog, Culinary Compulsion, and is currently working on her book, My Culinary Compulsion, a global food memoir with recipes. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.

UNDERGROUND-BAKED Rugbraud By Erick Rodriguez & Ryan Jay


he island-state of Iceland is home to a novel means of harnessing a renewable energy resource and applying it to the culinary craft to create a result that is difficult to reproduce anywhere else. One particularly famous concoction, known as rugbraud, is produced by the use of unique geothermal bakeries. The bakeries utilize special ovens that redirect the earth’s heat from Iceland’s hot springs and bake a product that many refer to as “volcano bread.” Since the country runs on roughly 99 percent renewable energy, of which 85 percent is geothermal energy, there is a historic tradition of using this heat for various purposes. The heat producing this energy comes from the Iceland hotspot or plume that is known for originally creating the island and characterizes it as one of the most active volcanic regions in the world. When the oil crisis of the 1970s began, the Icelandic government encouraged its citizens to take advantage of the resources available to them and the result has been an overhaul the likes of which has revolutionized the lives of the nation’s citizens. Iceland has historically been known for its geothermal activity, gaining international recognition for its resourceful use of the natural energy resource, but its culture has celebrated the ingenious use of the bountiful heat rising from below the earth’s crust for generations before the first geothermal heating plant opened in Reykjavík in 1928. The tradition of baking Icelandic rugbraud hails back to the trade monopoly instituted by the king of Denmark in 1602, which made rye bread the predominant cereal in Icelandic cuisine. Even further in the island’s past, descendants of Viking settlers found ways to use the natural source of hot water, making bathhouses, hot tubs, and areas to launder clothing long before the state of Iceland was even formed.

An Icelandic man baking bread with underground geiser heat. The tradition of baking rye bread with below-ground geothermal heat has continued to this day and has become a quintessential part of Icelandic culture. However, there are varieties of the traditional rye bread that have been created by adding wheat and whole grain to make the resulting bread less dense while retaining the same rugbraud name. Traditionally, the bread was baked in a pot or steamed in a wooden cask built for the process of burying it in the ground near a hot spring. The bread, which acquires a cake-like consistency, is often served with butter, mutton pate, smoked lamb, or pickled herring. Otherwise, it can be ground and mixed with buttermilk in order to create a porridge, soaked into a soup, or served as a dessert with variations on the ingredients added to produce a sweet bread. The consumption of this bread is known to cause flatulence, which has earned it the nickname “thunderbread” or “prumari” in the Icelandic tongue.

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Opulence Spring 2017

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Bespoke BRIDE A look at breathtaking Spring 2017 haute couture wedding gowns from designers around the globe.


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Designer: Galia Lahav

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Designer: J’aton

Designer: Nicole Sposa


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Designer: Ashi Studio


Designer: J’aton

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Designer: Galia Lahav


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Designer: Berta

Designer: Cymbaline

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What Women Want

Test Your Birkin Bag Savvy At the annual Birkin Bar Event, the 2017 collection of rare and revered Hermes bags were unveiled in collaboration with Mightychic in the luxurious Sunny Isles Eighty-Seven Park residential high-rise sales gallery. See how well you know your Hermes bags by matching up the descriptions with the corresponding image. Good luck!



___ A. Rose Lipstick Chevre ___ B. B  irkin 35 Bordeaux Porosus Crocodile ___ C. Constance  25 cm Anemone Swift ___ D. Birkin 30 Emerald Porosus Crocodile ___ E. B  irkin 35 Rose Scheherazade Porosus Crocodile ___ F . Electric Birkin 35 Tosca Clemence ___ G. C  onstance 18 cm Ultra Violet Alligator ___ H. B  irkin 35 Electric Blue Porosus Crocodile ___ I. Mini Kelly II 20 Blue Hydra Chevre ___ J. Black Epsom Limited Edition ___ K. B  irkin 35 Blue Sapphire Porosus Crocodile ___ L. Constance 18 cm Ultra Violet Alligator


4. 7.






12. A:6, B:10, C:12, D:2, E:3, F:9, G:4, H:1, I:5, J: 7, K:8, L:11 84


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Spring 2017







ob Dylan once sang, “The times, they are a changing.” And yes, we live in a very exciting time, when technology has made almost everything more readily available than ever before. Including, well, time. No, you can’t buy more years, hours, or minutes. But you can rent them, in the form of luxury watches. And Eleven James, the brainchild of former NetJets and Marquis Jet CMO Randy Brandoff, has created a revolutionary platform that is making these signature timepieces more accessible than ever before. “At Marquis Jet (a private - jet - share company) we were making private aviation accessible for the first time to individuals who weren’t necessarily Fortune 500, in a way that was more robust,


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full-service, and compelling than one-off charters.” Brandoff’s employment gave him the know-how to pursue his passion of high-end watches. “I’ve loved watches since I was 16. My buddy came to school one day and I looked at his AP Royal Oak, and I looked at my Tag (Heur) and I was like, ‘These both tell time, but they’re not the same.’”


Entrepreneur Randy Brandoff who’s bringing luxury monthly watch leasing to market through his company Eleven James.

While the concept of offering a literal ‘time share’ of high-end items has existed for a while, with companies like Bag, Borrow or Steal, or Rent the Runway targeting fashion-oriented but perhaps budget-conscious women before, Brandoff sought a way to combine his love of watches with his experience at NetJets and Marquis Jet. “I heard a story, that at the start of every James Bond film, they used to present 11 different watches and gadgets. And since James Bond was the prototypical member, and the choice of 11 different watches was directionally what we were doing, it just sort of fit.” And so, Eleven James was born. “This new generation of luxury consumers are really defined by their desire for access and experience, over outright ownership, or a collector’s mentality,” Brandoff explained. The members of his program come from different generations and income

levels, but generally fall into one of three categories. About 60 percent of his members are already Luxury watch owners, looking to expand their collections without committing to a purchase. Brandoff elaborated, “There are some members who prefer some brands for collection and ownership, but who view other brands as, ‘Well I don’t know if I want to own one of these, but it certainly might be fun to wear.’ It’s like, ‘Dating watches I don’t want to marry.’” Another 30 percent are brand-new to the market and looking for a less-permanent method of entry that still allows them the experience of a high-end timepiece on their wrist. And finally, about 10 percent of his members are corporate purchases. “As someone who in my professional career has received two different watches, which I never would have bought for myself, incentivizing someone with an Eleven James membership allows them to personalize it, and get exactly what they want.”

THE TIMEPIECES The collections are available at four unique levels, depending on price-point of the watches in each collection, and the number has grown far beyond the original James Bond reference of 11. “At this point our collection is in the lowthousands, with many hundreds of unique

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references and models,” expanded Brandoff. The levels themselves are distinctly named to describe both the watches available, and reflect the personalities of the members, a tactic Brandoff learned at Marquis Jet. “Even the people in our entrylevel program were spending 6 figures. So you had to find a way to give a little something extra to the guy spending 7 figures without denigrating the fact that every member was still spending substantial money.” The names of the collections are the Enthusiast, the Aficionado, the Connoisseur, and the Virtuoso, the latter containing watches in the 30-50 thousand dollar price range, retail. The luxury timepiece community is one of respect and admiration, and Eleven James further fosters that with personalized concierge service for their members, as well as hosting social gatherings for fellow enthusiasts. Brandoff recalled, “When I was at Marquis Jets events, I would look across the room and see only people’s shoulders, because they were all looking down at each other’s wrists.”

MORE MEMBER AWARDS AND OPTIONS Moving forward, Eleven James has plans to revamp their rewards program, but also to expand their women’s collection. “I came from a private aviation world that was very male-dominated. And the luxury watch market isn’t necessarily male-dominated, but it is a male-majority.” Eleven James launched their women’s col-

lections at the end of 2016, after building the brand in Brandoff’s comfort zone of a male audience. “We always had an eye on expanding and becoming unisex.” And so, the times have changed indeed. As co-founder of Drew Estate Cigars and Eleven James customer (and now part-owner) Marvin Samel put it, “Thirty years ago, nobody leased their cars, twenty years ago, private jets were only for owners, ten years ago, yacht ownership was the only way to enjoy the high seas. Today, technology allows access that was but a dream until recently.” For more information on the watches available in the Eleven James collections, or to begin your membership journey, visit



“This new generation of luxury consumers are really defined by their desire for access and experience, over outright ownership, or a collector’s mentality.” – Randy Brandoff

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Business Trends

A rt o f t h e

Luxury Alliance By Robin Jay


ir Robert Walpole, the first Earl of Oxford, is the namesake of Walpole, a unique alliance of the finest luxury brands in Britain – such as Barclays, Burberry and Bentley, as well as Alexander McQueen, Rolls-Royce, Harrods and Jimmy Choo. The collaboration of prestigious companies ‘exemplifies the highest standards in quality, design, style, craftsmanship, creativity, service and innovation.’ According to the latest Walpole research, in an era of increasingly higher consumer demand for luxury products and services, ‘luxury brands must initiate growing numbers of relevant partner collaborations if they are to successfully navigate the increasingly digitally-led marketplace’ of millennials. Nearly 80 percent of luxury brands surveyed are planning multi-brand collaborations by 2020 and some 60 percent plan secret and exclusive brand experiences. It’s a strategy that keeps affluents intrigued and yearning for more.



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Luxury Brand Collaborations In the U.S. The art of the luxury brand alliances is also a highly influential strategy in key highnet-worth markets in the United States. Although he’d humbly shy away from being noted as the modern-day American Sir Robert Walpole, Jeremy Weinstein is certainly a luxury market strategist who has shown by experience that luxury brand collaborations are not only effective, they’re lauded by high-end consumers who have come to expect the unexpected. Weinstein, who has held the helm of Strategic Marketing at Bellagio Las Vegas and Director of Slot Marketing at the Aria Resort and Casino, today serves as Vice President of Marketing for Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood in Florida. “Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood is an accessible, fun and exciting destination for all of our guests. For guests interested in a luxury lifestyle we curate unique and over the

top events that they can enjoy,” Weinstein said. “We target partners that we believe will excite our guests. This provides an opportunity to elevate both brands and expose our clientele to new and exciting luxury products and experiences.” In February, Weinstein’s team launched a series of private luxury brand alliance parties for their VIP premium players. One event invited guests to the property’s L Bar where they enjoyed handcrafted cocktails, gourmet passed small bites, as well as the opportunity to try on the latest collection of Hublot’s finest timepieces. Guests also enjoyed the unique opportunity to interact with one of the watchmaker’s own horologists and sit under his tutelage at a jeweler’s table to open the backend of a real Hublot timepiece and explore the intricate inner-workings. “We created a one-of-akind experience for our guests – and so it was a win-win for our clients, the casino and Hublot.”

“Cross branding in a partnership like this allows brands to expand their horizon and look at luxury values from a different perspective, therefore enhancing each one’s vision.” Jean-Francois Sberro, Managing Director, Hublot of America, agreed. “The targeted branding focuses are important because a brand like Hublot does not speak to a singular audience, but rather speaks in many voices to a wide swath of customers internationally who have very different interests and backgrounds but perhaps share a similar taste in style or craft. It has always made ‘good business sense’ to connect directly with as many of our consumers as possible. It is often the case that other brands or establishments, such as the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, have preexisting relationships with consumers who could have potential interest in Hublot, given their interest in a luxury lifestyle, and it would make sense to share with that network.” To reciprocate Hublot’s collaboration, Weinstein arranged for 25 of Seminole Hard Rock’s VIP clientele to attend a private on-site party at the Hublot atelier in Miami. ”Not only are we entertaining our valued resort guests,

Man Cave posh cabana situated at the lush tropical pool at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was the location for a magazine cover photo shoot with a Victoria’s Secret Angel. but also bringing them an opportunity to explore their interest in horology.”

The Link Between Horology and Yachting In another luxury brand collaboration, Weinstein arranged for select resort and casino guests to attend a private reception at the Ferretti Yacht showroom in Miami to tour select Pershing brand yachts and a rare opportunity to view an exclusive Pershingcommissioned Parmigiani timepiece. Justin Blue, Chief Operating Officer of Americas, Ferretti Group, said, “Since 2008, Pershing has been in a partnership with the famous Swiss haute horology brand Parmigiani Fleurier. The encounter of two such prestigious worlds could only be based upon the values of excellence that have always been distinctive for these two brands. Timekeeping for yacht owners is crucial for maximizing enjoyment. Beyond that, luxury yacht owners value quality in design and function, qualities that the Parmigiani brand is synonymous with.” Thierry Collot, General Manager, Parmigiani Fleurier Americas, agreed. “It was very important to take into account the two main values that define both brands: the strong lines of design, as well as the unique and incredible luxury craftsmanship. The partnership

with Pershing allowed us to think outside the normal perimeter from Parmigiani and look into a different environment of those architectural powerful vessels. “Cross branding in a partnership like this allows brands to expand their horizon and look at luxury values from a different perspective, therefore enhancing each one’s vision,” said Collot. To stay abreast of ongoing luxury brand alliance event collaborations, visit www. and future issues of International Opulence magazine.

Model at luxury brand collaboration event at Ferretti with Pershing Yachts, Parmigiani Watches and handcrafted bites from Kuro.

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Opulence Spring 2017

S hades o F


Nature’s mad display of brilliant blues inspires Master Designer Perla Lichi


By John D. Adams

n a professional color wheel, blue is labeled a “cool” color. But in truth, blue is the warmest color. Contradiction? Maybe not. What images came to immediate mind when you read the word “blue?” Almost universally, and depending upon locale, we likely conjure blue skies, blue seas, blue birds… beautiful, serene imagery that triggers sense memories of salt airs, tropical breezes, lyrical birdsong. So I say again blue is the warmest color. And that is just the kind of juxtaposition Master Interior Designer Perla Lichi delights in exploring. “Everyone loves blue,” enthused Perla, arms outstretched, head craning up and around the magnificent, Moroccan-style atrium pictured here. “Depending on the exact shade, it can be masculine, feminine, young or old. In color theory, the color BLUE is said to have a very calming effect.”

Nothing is uniform in nature. And Perla pays great attention to this fact through a variety of bluish shades and a mélange of textures from silk to wool.

Blue skies… … Smilin’ at me… And so is Perla. Positioned in the center of this Miami businessman’s spectacular atrium, amid so much opulence and beauty, one’s gaze is still inextricably drawn upward, two stories, to a grand skylight. The azure sky explodes forth like a giant sapphire amid a gleaming, platinum setting. “This is the center, the heart, of this castle, and where the owners and their guests most often gather,” remarked Perla. “We added a gurgling founSpring 2017




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tain to provide a calming, background ambiance. The huge skylight bathes seating enclaves with brilliance. The entire space is enclosed in glass and lined with Roman columns and loggias.” Blue tones were cleverly sprinkled throughout the space. “Blue is one of the traditional colors used with the azulejos [Moroccan style tile] that provide accents in the theme of this atrium.”

By the sea Every few years the interior design industry reimagines some version of a “coastal” theme. We have seen everything from the homages of quaint, “shabby-chic” to the disciplined lines of West Coast modernity. As always, Perla is ready to revise and energize this tropical design staple with a sensibility toward the calming effects that cool blue colors invite. “Blue is a very easy color to live with; it is a very peaceful and soothing color. Blues are easier on the eyes. Tranquil. More calming.” Nothing is uniform in nature. And Perla pays great attention to this fact through a variety of bluish shades and a mélange of textures from silk to wool. “I chose lighter and darker shades to emphasize the serenity of different shades of water and how light plays across a brilliant, blue sky. We then mixed those with accessories and artwork. Those blues with shades of tan and sand, along with other natural elements, are reminiscent of what you would see along the coast.”

a point where the sun is at such a difference with the horizon when a unique, silver-blue hue fleetingly overtakes the skies. And this is the palette Perla chose to explore for this grand remodel. Not shown here are the impressive dual aquariums, used in lieu of walls to divide the foyer from the home’s living and dining rooms. “The water and light that streams through really establishes the ‘magic hour’ blue that resonates throughout the interiors of this home,” said Perla. The design concept was to create a sophisticated, contemporary look using a fusion of classic colors with chic modern lines. Custom ceilings are adorned with silver leafing and then enhanced with special lighting effects to emphasize that twilight time of day or night. “We worked closely with our clients throughout the remodel and they were extremely pleased with the total coordination of the interiors,” remarked Perla, “through the contemporary style, the woodwork, and especially their love for the color palette of ‘magic hour’ blues and silvers.”

“Blue to me means serenity, peaceful, fresh, calm … Different shades of blue represent different moods.” — Perla Lichi

Throughout these projects, as with them all, Perla takes time to reflect on what particular colors and themes mean to her. “Blue to me means serenity, peaceful, fresh, calm … Different shades of blue represent different moods. A soft pastel blue creates a very calming mood. Go into deeper blue, and it becomes more mysterious, creating a regal, dramatic ambiance. And I always say ‘go for the drama!’”

The blue hour When redesigning and remodeling an 11,000 square-foot home in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in Dubai, Perla again chose to incorporate blues into her project. For grand desert homes like this, most designers would follow a standard “sky blue” palette. Of course, Perla decided to celebrate a more esoteric theme. There are two times of day that photographers and other visual artists refer to as the “blue hours.” These are the periods of twilight early in the dawn and late at dusk. There is

The jacket cover of Perla’s new book, by the way, “Interior Design Inspirations From Cottages To Castles,” features the two-story blue-and-white atrium described at the beginning of this story. Learn more about Perla Lichi online at

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Grandmaster Tom TRICKS through grandeur Written by Lisa-Marie Reiter and Robin Jay

Tom Oehler on sumptuous terrain: Bicycle Trial Star + Top Photographer + Grand Location = Unique Story


ack when Viktor Sedlacek founded the Grande Hotel de l’Europe more than 100 years ago in the Austrian state of Salzburg, he would not have imagined the following: Tom Oehler, trialbike legend, elegantly jumping over the reception front desk while having his photo taken by photographer Armin Walcher working with a Leica medium format camera. Obviously, times are changing. The spirit of better times is still alive at the Grand Hotel, because after all, a few years ago the picturesque place in the center of Bad Gastein still accommodated guests. The golden clock at the front door indicated the passing of every full hour and the chandelier in the entrance hall used to sparkle brightly. Although these times are long gone, entering the pompous building still leaves the visitor speechless. It feels like traveling back in time as you take in the royal elegance and unique charm of the abandoned hotel. Among other factors, this special charm is what immediately captured photographer Armin Walcher and athlete Tom Oehler. They knew they had finally found the perfect location.


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The photographer’s original intention was to tell a tale of the hotel’s vibrant past THE PHOTOGRAPHIC PLAN The photographer’s original intention was to tell a tale of the hotel’s vibrant past by looking at it from an entirely new perspective. When looking at the sequence of pictures, one can feel the spirit of the story. That’s why even the athlete, Tom Oehler, said this project was a unique one. For him, the biggest challenge was finding suitable obstacles in this unusual location and secondly, performing in the chilly temperatures of the old hotel. At times, it turned out difficult to retry certain tricks multiple times in the antique setting without doing any harm to the architecture. “It was clear this shoot would be about getting creative with the camera and with flashes,” Oehler told International Opulence. “Concerning the bike action, it was really important that we didn’t break anything, so when we first saw a spot for a picture, I checked what kind of line I could ride and then Armin would see how he could capture it. Once we got everything lined up, it was about the details. As we had lots of time and a safe indoor

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Bicycle tricking in a historic, MAINLY abandonED venue was a first even for this experienced pro athlete. “I had the chance to really feel the spirit of this historic building. ” – Tom Oehler


Opulence Spring 2017

location, we could take plenty of tries to get every shot 100 perfect, which was exhausting but also very satisfying.”

UNIQUE PHOTOSHOOT VENUE For Armin, a distinguishing characteristic of this specific shooting situation was the prevalence of low light situations in which his Leica camera and lenses proved to be just the thing. What convinced the photographer most was the three-dimensional quality of the pictures taken. The photos also confirm one of Armin’s personal beliefs, namely that a photo is primarily created in the camera and that any editing happening afterwards should be kept at a minimum. Bicycle tricking in a historic, mainly abandoned venue was a first even for this experienced pro athlete. “I had the chance to really feel the spirit of this historic building,” “Oehler said. “I also tried to imagine what it was like for the guests who were first visiting this grand hotel. Before I got there, I thought it would be really spooky, but it really wasn’t, it was just really impressive architecture.” CREDITS: Athlete: Tom Oehler
 Photographer: Armin Walcher
 Video: Christian Czadilek
 Story: Lisa-Marie Reiter Assistants: Lisa-Marie Reiter, Gerald Walcher
 Supporter: Johanna TVB Bad Gastein, Hansi Ginger n’Gin

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The Wind Gone With

In his maiden expedition to explore the French Caribbean, professional kiteboarder Evan Netsch joins teammate Theo Demanez to progress their riding and push the limits of the sport with photographer Thierry Dehove capturing every move. By Evan Netsch


hen winter hits the east coast, bringing gray skies and cold rain, the prospect of a weeklong kite surfing trip becomes an escape to relish; but even still, choosing where to go for the winter isn’t as easy as it sounds when constant wind is a must. There are the standard safe bets: Caberete, Brazil, Maui… But this year, I received the unexpected opportunity to head somewhere new — a locale that isn’t typically your go-to windy destination. I had just booked a flight to Puerto Rico in early December when Theo Demanez sent me a message: “You know, Saint Martin is only a 30-minute flight from Puerto Rico. You should come over for a week.” Within 5 minutes, I was on the phone with JetBlue canceling my return ticket and leaving Puerto Rico open ended until we sorted out the details. It never becomes easier to turn down a chance to discover someplace new.

Exploring the French Caribbean Heading to Saint Martin, I knew two things and little else: It’s famous for its dangerously short runway and is windy during the winter months. Flying from Puerto Rico to Saint Martin should have been a quick island hop, but in my typical last-minute booking habit, I got stuck on a flight making


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a connection through New York in the middle of the holiday travel fiasco. Getting blasted by 35-degree air for 10 seconds while changing flights was enough of a reality check to really make me appreciate heading right back down to the Caribbean. The moment I landed in St. Martin, Theo and I immediately discussed the week’s plans, keeping in mind the best looking weather forecast was early in the week and again during the last few days. Theo was eager to head over to Dog Island to do some exploring. Before I even had a chance to kiteboard at his local beach, we were on his catamaran at 5 a.m. the next morning, heading over to explore the neighboring island with his dad Manu Demanez at the helm.

Martinique to the south separated by Dominica and a few other islands such as Saint John’s, Antigua and Barbuda. Saint Martin is only half French and dates back to the 17th century when a line was drawn to divide the island following conflict between the French and the Dutch. Today the island remains split between Saint Martin (the French side) and Saint Maarten (the Dutch side). So even though the sail to Dog Island was only a few hours, and much closer than many of the other French islands, it is — as I came to find out—a marine preserve that’s part of Anguilla, which falls under the British Commonwealth. Luckily, I still had my passport packed.

If you’re like me and have no idea of the local geography, here’s a quick summary before you find yourself lost amongst the islands as I did. There are three and a half French Islands in the Caribbean as part of the Lesser Antilles. Saint Barth’s and Saint Martin are considered the Northern French Islands, with Guadeloupe and




Shown in photo: Evan Netsch

Reaching Dog Island At 8 a.m., we arrived at Dog Island. The skies were cloudy; the wind was steady and building. We raced to shore in the dinghy stacked so full of gear that it was nearly spilling over the sides. Anyone who didn’t fit in the dinghy on the first trip jumped overboard to swim ashore, too eager to get out on the water to wait for the dinghy to return for a ride. We rode our kiteboards all day long with Theo’s family and friends in the butterflat water behind the long sandy beach on the leeward side of the island. Around 3 p.m., and after hours on the water, we set sail to head back to Saint Martin for a New Year’s celebration. With the building wind, we were able to sail quickly around the corner toward Anguilla in the 38’ lagoon, but that changed swiftly as soon as we turned the corner. We were nearly stopped dead in our tracks, heading straight into the wind for the last few miles.

Photo Below: Theo Demanez and Evan Netsch

With some motor-assisted sailing, we averaged a staggering 3.7 knots for the next few hours, battering straight into the wind and seas. As the sun began to set, it was clear none of us would have the energy for New Year’s festivities back in Saint Martin, but watching the sun go down on the last evening of 2016 while at sail and after a long day in the water would be traded for fireworks any year.

Back in Saint Martin The next few days back in Saint Martin were spent with Theo giving me the fullspeed tour of all the local hot spots. Most people on vacation — myself included — would have been totally content kiting PHOTOS BY THIERRY DEHOVE


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On light-wind days, we would explore the whole area on a foil, and when the wind would build, we headed upwind around the corner to Embouchure Bay to ride some waves. for a few hours a day and then mixing in relaxing and exploring for the rest of the day. But this was not the case staying with Theo. At 6:30 a.m. daily, alarms were set and kiteboarding sessions went as long as the sun would stay in the sky. The day would start with a few minutes’ bike ride to Orient Bay where the Demanez family owns the local kite school, Wind Adventures. We would check the wind and then head into town to grab some breakfast at the local bakery. Right out front at the school was one of the best spots to kiteboard on the island. Orient Bay, protected by Green Cay and a coral reef, offers everything from small waves to flat water and fun kickers. Theo explained that with the right swell direction, a rider can get really fun surf. On light-wind days, we would explore the whole area on a foil, and when the wind would build, we headed upwind around the corner to Embouchure Bay to ride some waves. Sometimes, we’d stay right behind Green Cay Island just a few tacks upwind off the beach to ride flat water. The unique topography of St. Martin is one of the things that struck me as most surprising and memorable. It lent well to a variety of riding conditions. With many small peaks and the jagged and curving coastline around the island, the isle offered tons of hidden coves and riding spots, of which I only began to scratch the surface.

The Final Sensational Swell Keeping an eye on the weather forecast, we could see a large swell would arrive on my last day. 1.1m at 16 seconds out of the ENE (East North East) was the right size for a nice head-high wave at Theo’s favorite spot, just a 15-minute drive from the house on Orient Bay. It was also a bit bittersweet because it marked my last few hours on the island.

The swell arrived during the night of January 6 and, with my bags yet to be packed and only hours before I had to be on my way to the airport, Theo took me to a local surf break called Wilderness. We turned the corner and what had previously been a small wind chop had turned into a long period wave. We launched from Grande Cay, which is also the local paragliding spot because the steep hill creates lift with a spectacular view over the ocean. The launch was pretty tight on a rocky shoreline at the base of the steep hill. With shallow sharp reef and straight onshore wind, we worked our way offshore as quickly as possible, lucky not to knock off any board fins on our way out. Once on the outside, we rode around a small headland and I could see the stretch of deserted cobblestone beach with a perfect right-hand peeling wave. With no one or any road in sight, I could see where the name Wilderness came from. If the wind was to die or we had some sort of compromising issue, without a doubt, the trek out of this spot would be a fairly long hike. With only a few hours to spare, we had one of the best kiteboarding sessions of the week. A small part of me hoped that we would get stranded so my flight would be missed – leaving me with a good excuse to stay for the second day of the swell. In the end, all went to plan, and after 15 minutes of tacking back upwind, we were back on the small rocky shoreline and we started wrapping up our kites. With no time to shower or dry out our gear, everything got heaped into my bags in one big mess as we rushed to the airport. Later that night, as I landed in Miami and stood in the bustling airport to clear customs, I looked down at my feet still covered in sand – the last little part of Saint Martin that I was able to bring back with me as a final reminder of the week’s great kiteboarding adventure.

Shown in photos: Theo Demanez




Photography by Bruce Buck


Portrait by Sargent Architectural Photography

ON THE WATERFRONT By Carleton Varney - An Excerpt From MY Latest Book


hen I am lecturing on decorating, I always ask the audience, “What is the very first room you remember?” Why do I ask this question? I believe that in the very first room you remember is the foundation of your taste, which is part of your decorating DNA. For me, one of the very first rooms I remember liking was dark green, which is still to this day one of my favorite colors. I have used green rooms in many of the projects that I have done over the years—whether it is palm tree green or spruce green—because it carries everywhere, even in the desert. Having grown up by the sea, and as I continue to live by a river and an ocean, I am also drawn to blues—be they maritime blues or swimming pool blues or Caribbean blues. The Mediterranean waters have also inspired me color-wise as 106

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I decorate homes and resorts from the shores of the South Pacific to lakeside properties in Michigan. I have never lived anyplace but on the water, from Nahant to Palm Beach to St. Croix to the island of Manhattan. In fact, when my wife Suzanne and I moved to the upstate town of Millbrook, I created ponds around our house from the streams on the property. As a child in Massachusetts I could hear the ocean from my bedroom. I could feel a change in the waves and I could see the changes in the color of the blue. As children, my sister Vivian and I would go down to the Nahant Dory Club. We’d take a little boat out on adventures. Later, I had a big sailing boat, the Kwa Heri, a Maxi-Ketch sailing craft that back in the ’70s even featured a full bathtub in the master’s quarters… I recall great memories of the craft, including our son Sebastian learning to swim at age 5 off the boat in Dominica — the island where Rose’s Lime Juice is manufactured, and where basket and rug weaving was the local handicraft. Many is the rug that I ordered

from Dominica to use in one of our island villa decorating projects. Other boating projects that came into our office included one for the Cyrna, a 57-foot sailing boat that unfortunately found its end when it struck rocks off the coast of Maine. In my career I have served as the curator of the U.S.S. Sequoia and have designed villas in Sardinia and in Mallorca, Spain, as well as condominium residences in Portland, Maine, and on Lake Arrowhead in California. Are there challenges in seaside decorating? Yes, there are many, and these challenges are different from those posed when designing a high-rise apartment in New York City or Chicago. When decorating waterside, I always consider the light when selecting color and fabrics. Remember, the light on Miami Beach and the light on the Thames River in England are very, very different. I always suggest that a client paint a section of the wall before completing a room. The color yellow, or the color blue, or any color for that matter will appear different against different waters. Photography by Bruce Buck

When selecting fabrics for use at the seaside, it is always wise to check on their fade-proof qualities and moisture resistance. One wants to prevent mildew and avoid designs that do not hold up under intense sunlight. The technical aspects of coastal decorating have come a long way. The utilization of new materials and innovations in fabrics against wear and tear, as well as fading, are remarkable. There’s a new craft that has developed around this industry. With a few exceptions, gone are the days of the master craftsman or cabinetmaker.

Designing fabrics with a seagoing look is part of my DNA. Our fabric firms Carleton V Ltd, Dorothy Draper Fabrics and Wallcoverings, and many others offer a variety of designs with that under-the-sea look. — Carleton Varney Photography by Michel Arnaud

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Photography by Sargent Architectural Photography

Photography by Sargent Architectural Photography

Nautical decorating is a style all its own, and on the market are lighthouse designs, as well as many patterns that feature nautical ropes, compasses and anchors. Visit a boat show and you’ll come across a plethora of seagoing motifs on everything from dinner plates and glass or plastic ware to bedspreads, pillows and floor mats. Yes, the song may be “Anchors Away,” but those anchors in decorating are surely here to stay. The locations of homes on ponds, lakes, oceans, and rivers have a great deal to do with the choice of furnishings and colors. The Caribbean and Pacific islands call for the use of rattan, bamboo, and lots of tropical prints, while the islands and coastline homes of Nantucket and Nova Scotia call for textures of wicker—oftentimes brown wicker—and floorboards of natural pine decorated with woven rag rugs of a more colonial nature. Yes, the seagoing folks of New England have a different design palette than the populations of Bora Bora and Bali. A completely different scheme is required for those folks who live in the countryside on Saranac Lake or Lake Placid in New York, or for those who live on the lakes of the Dakotas or California. Natural flora will inspire colors that create harmony in your home. However, I can guarantee that sky blue and green for all waterside properties will be appropriate, as will the color of a golden sun!

If you expose a child to a sense of beauty, he or she will always pursue it. I can tell which of my clients has or hasn’t particularly followed that sense of beauty when they want us to develop an environment for them. For many reasons, I have never been one of those decorators who pontificate over the leg of a Queen Anne chair. With my clients, after the background is set, I always look at their inventory — what they already own. Today, there is a lot of gray, beige, and steel in contemporary decorating. When I open a magazine, I often ask myself, “Where is the pursuit of beauty?” To quote Dorothy: “Decorating is just sheer fun: a delight in color, an awareness of balance, a feeling for light, a sense of style, a zest for life…” Editor’s note: ‘Decorating On The Waterfront’ is available at major book retailers, as well as at www. Carleton’s charming stories and exquisite waterfront home designs are intended to inspire your own decorating pursuits. Congratulations on another beautiful chronicle of your timeless designs Carleton!

U.S.S. Sequoia As the curator for the Presidential Yacht Trust back in the early ’80s, after the vessel had been sold to the Trust by President Jimmy Carter, Carleton Varney redecorated the Sequoia in a style appropriate to Presidents Roosevelt and Truman and the Kennedy family. Photography by Sargent Architectural Photography

Photography by Feliciano 108

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PHOTOGRAPHY: Peter Vitale /Architectural Digest © Condé Nast

Secret Luxury Hotel

Within a Hotel By Kelly Villasuso

How do you make a luxury resort visit even more bespoke? Don’t stay there! Instead check with your preferred luxe property to see if they have gotten on board with one of the hottest trends in the travel industry: the hotel-within-a-hotel trend.

What Happens in Vegas Shouldn’t Always Stay in Vegas More than a decade ago, MGM Resorts International introduced a novel concept, now mirrored by other luxury hotels throughout the world, at their Mandalay Bay property in Las Vegas. They dedicated the top five floors of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino as a separately branded, smaller hotel — a Four Seasons Hotel to be exact — complete with its own private entrance, dedicated express elevators, and uber-luxuriant surroundings and service. Its own private, extremely exclusive oasis within the dazzling confines of Sin City.

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The travel industry has seen this hotel-within-a-hotel trend grow within the boundaries of Las Vegas over the years, including at one of the best luxury hotels on The Strip, Nobu Hotel Caesars Palace. However, the trend’s successful migration outside of the Glitter Gulch has only occurred in more recent years and now spans the globe. With some of the world’s most luxurious hotels like Qasr Al Sarab carving out space to offer luxe, bespoke experiences to their guests proves that what happens in Vegas should not always stay in Vegas. Magical destinations, such as the Royal Pavilion Villas at Qasr Al Sarab described below, are helping to solidify the hotel-within-a-hotel trend as a true, global “Trend Taking Off” this year, per Condé Nast Traveller (October 2016).


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The Royal Pavilion Villas at Qasr Al Sarab Two hours east of Abu Dhabi in the world’s largest sand sea — Rub’ al Khali or The Empty Quarter — lies a palatial desert oasis, Qasr Al Sarab by Anantara. Named among the 20 best resorts in the Middle East, Africa & the Indian Ocean in Conde Nast Traveller’s Readers’ Choice Awards 2016, the sandtoned Qasr Al Sarab floats like a mirage amidst the pinks and ochres of the dunes encircling it. This $5-billion sand castle will beckon you in with its majestic offerings and will continuously captivate you with its views of a landscape that is nothing short of ethereal. From sunrise to sunset, your every wish will be the command of their approximately 400-person staff. So how could life get any

better than Qasr Al Sarab, you ask? As with the leading luxury hotels-within-hotels in Vegas, you don’t stay there! Instead, book your stay in their extremely exclusive hotelwithin-the-hotel: the Royal Pavilion Villas. Once reserved solely for the United Arab Emirates’ royal family’s use, the 10 villas in the Royal Pavilion Villas are now frequented by dignitaries, aristocrats, other VIPs and guests, such as honeymooners, looking for extreme luxury and privacy. Whether you are coming by way of Abu Dhabi or Dubai, the Royal Pavilion Villas will provide exclusive transport to this Arabian retreat via private limousine or helicopter. Upon your arrival, your personal host or butler will welcome you to your villa, offer you a traditional Arabic tea tasting (truly a delicious and beautiful experience), and

arrange for a foot ritual to ease your travel stress. You will also meet with the Chef for the Royal Pavilion Villas to discuss preferences for your custom-prepared meals. You will be given a tour of your villa, which you are sure to find outfitted for the likes of a sheikh. Complete with a private swimming pool, outdoor rain shower, sunbathing cabana, and a dining terrace, you will not want to leave the privacy of your villa … but you really should. The land outside your door is truly an Arabian wonderland. At this royal hotel-within-a-hotel, your stay includes two desert activities per person per day, including desert walks, desert land sailing, hard and soft dune drives, dune bashing, fat biking, a traditional United Arab Emirates’ falcon show, and, a personal

favorite of this author, sunrise camel trekking complete with a camel master and Arabic tea served dune-top … and you may catch a glimpse of a delicate Desert Gazelle. Regardless of your preferences, the Royal Pavilion Villas at Qasr Al Sarab will treat you like royalty and open your eyes to a whole new world … a world nestled within a hotel-within-a-hotel.

Travel writer K​elly Villasuso and photographer Raul Villasuso, Jr. live in Chicago but, through their travels, call the world home.

Other Luxurious Hotel-Withina-Hotel Properties The Penthouses at Hotel Arts Barcelona

As a Ritz-Carlton property, luxury should be truly this hotel’s middle name. Then you see The Penthouses within Hotel Arts Barcelona and you know you’ve gone to heaven. Twenty-eight penthouses offer special guests the finest in offerings and individualized care … all with spectacular views.

Nobu Hotel in Eden Roc Miami Beach

Ever experience a Japanese beach house nestled within an iconic tropical Miami Beach hotel? If not, head to Nobu Hotel within the Eden Roc Miami Beach to discover the pinnacle of the hotel-within-a-hotel experience … the Nobu Experience. The entire experience has been curated by Chef Nobu Matshuhisa.

The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician

At the base of Camelback Mountain in the Sonoran Desert surrounding Scottsdale, Arizona resides The Phoenician, a 640+ room resort renowned for its service and luxe accommodations. If you venture West, though, don’t stay there. Stay at The Canyon Suites at The Phoenician to experience an exclusive, five-star stay from start to finish.

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Floating Art in the Landscape

Waterlilies by Mary and Hugh Williamson

your patio or balcony. It can be formal, a relaxed courtyard pond, an Asian influenced installation or even a bog garden that attracts wildlife.


Mary and Hugh Williamson

he Williamsons’ Bluffton, SC landscape features a deck container water garden, and an adjacent lagoon that hosts both marginal and flowering water plants. Water. Elixir of life, it is said. It covers 70 percent of our planet; it is necessary for growing food, hydrating our bodies, cooking, washing and every aspect of sustaining life and providing recreation. Yet while seemingly plentiful, it is ever sought after and is far too rare in many parts of our world. Water is a powerful magnet. A “water view” notation in a listing has a special allure to real estate buyers. Whether it is an ocean vista, or lake or river view, water panoramas are very desirable. The sparkle, the color, the wildlife, the sound, the smell – they have a definite mystique. Water in the landscape is glamorous, cooling, beautiful and offers such opportunities for spectacular visuals. If you do not live in a beach house, or have a grand river or lake view, your landscape can still boast the draw of all its appeal with a water garden.

Water Garden Possibilities The inclusion of a water feature to your landscape can be any size, shape or type, whether it be an enhanced natural pond, elaborate geometric installation, or even just one or a series of containers on 112

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But possibly one of the most exciting and colorful iterations is the lily pond. Waterlilies boast floating flowers, and can be the glistening jewels of any water garden or container. They can be very forgiving, as some cultivars will even survive in frozen ponds! Tropical varieties are not as tough as some, and are considered annuals in cooler climates. They do, however, offer reward in warm, full sun, with dazzling colors that transform as they open. The range of hues includes white, pale yellow, blue, orange, pink and burgundy, and the foliage varies in color as well. Collecting these beautiful specimens can be addictive, as you see success and witness the burgeoning blooms, and learn of rare and new cultivars.

A Little History There are recordings of Asian-style water gardening before 300 A.D. The Chinese culture, so focused on the artistic replication of the natural environment, introduced the design of sparkling, reflective water features that included the careful placement of rocks, plantings, koi fish and bridges. These early examples provided the serene space necessary for the thoughtful meditation of philosophers. Like with so many art forms, Japan was not far behind, adding other interpretations of symbolism. Ancient Rome saw the emergence of water gardens and fountains that were a benefit of the construction of the elaborate aqueduct system, developed to meet the need of the populace for drinking water. They were oftentimes opulent, and

incorporated the sculptures that were not allowed in the Middle East, where those water gardens were more rigid in design, and human likenesses were forbidden. The Middle East cultures utilized the availability of water provided by an aqueduct system, as did the Romans. The environment was often arid, though some were in proximity to the Nile River. One magnificent example of the art form is found in the Sackler Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, where a beautifully replicated river-evocative water garden complements the spectacular Temple of Dendur, brought from Egypt’s Nile to New York in the late 1970s. While the motifs that are abundant within many wall carvings of the temple are examples of the lotus, the Blue Lotus (Nymphaea Caerulea) is also known as the Egyptian Blue Water Lily and the Sacred Lily of the Nile. The lotus and the waterlily are often confused. But as with moths and butterflies, the differences become apparent as one grows to appreciate that which has inspired so many artisans. The Blue Egyptian waterlily has a narcotic effect when processed, and is even illegal in some locations. Brewed as a tea, or eaten, it is said to have caused the hallucinations and lethargy of the Lotus-eating Lotophagi race, visited by Odysseus (“The Odyssey ix“) in what is now likely coastal Libya.

Environmental Groups Are Not New Even Claude Monet, who painted over 200 canvases of lily ponds, faced neighbors’ environmental concerns as he created

his famous Garden at Giverny, Normandy. The farmers were fearful that his plantings would poison their cattle. Monet’s dream prevailed, however, and the resulting garden, with 500 visitors each year has been hailed as one of the most significant 20th century art installations— true Art in the Landscape. The canvases that this living masterpiece inspired are viewed by many millions each year.

Back To The Future The concept of water gardens has evolved to this day; from ancient times through the Renaissance, the French Impression-

ist era and into the New World, public and private spaces of import include the appeal of water gardens. New technology has allowed for continuing evolution, and now, so much is possible. We don’t need aqueducts; materials, plantings, pumps and techniques have opened doors to creative new versions of a beloved landscape feature. Mary and Hugh Williamson live in Bluffton, SC, where interior designer Mary’s interior traditional style is in agreement with landscape architect Hugh’s formal walks, arboretum, trellises and courtyards.

How to start As you determine the commitment of space to devote to a lily pond, whether it be a large plot in your landscape, or simply waterproof pots on a terrace, carefully consider this planning step to integrate your water feature into your overall landscape design. If you decide on a lawn pond and lean to a naturalistic look or to a firm geometry, construction is easy and simple. Information on the construction is readily available online, from source books, and most reliably from your landscape professional. If you instead opt for planting in pots, the process is easily accomplished without professional help. Select small bulbs for the pots. These will look like sweet potatoes in both size and shape (as opposed to the bulbs of larger lilies which resemble sugar beets). Good topsoil (not potting soil), sand and a small amount of pea

pebbles will get your project under way. Fill half of your pot with two-thirds soil, topped with one-third sand. Add a thin layer of pea pebbles on top of the soil and sand layer to keep it in place. This leaves the other half of the pot for water, carefully added on top of the sand, and allowed to settle for a few hours. You can then tuck the lily roots into the sand, pushing aside a few pebbles, leaving half of the bulb covered only with water. Then let the sun do its work, gently adding water as needed. Lilies are available over the Internet, in amazing varieties. Sites will include “help lines” where your questions will be answered. Most suppliers offer this out of their understandable passion for lilies, and will be very happy to share their knowledge and an enthusiasm that will likely be contagious!

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” — Loren Eiseley, Anthropologist (1907-1077)

Spring 2017




PAINTING FACES Bridget Roderman’s celebrity portraiture


By John D. Adams

Bridget Roderman painting is more than just masterful portraiture. It is a celebration of the subject, but more than that, Roderman strives to impart her own colorful perspective of the world and the happiness that can be found virtually everywhere. If one looks close enough. The Czech-born artist and former model, Roderman consciously embraces vibrant colors, a focus on the subject’s eyes and 114

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facial musculature, and the occasional symbolic imagery. “People’s faces inspire me,” said Roderman. “When I’m painting them I’m really getting to know them… getting to know their thoughts, their insecurities, their fears, their excitements…and even their perversions. You can see those captured moments.”

Journey to Oz It is no mistake that Roderman’s subjects are often celebrities and colorful public

personalities. Indeed, her life resembles the fantastical journey taken by Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz.” Of course, the reality was a bit more harrowing. “I was born and raised in the beautiful Czech Republic but unfortunately it was not a beautiful time in history,” recalled the artist. “As a young girl, who had to be constantly aware in an environment controlled by fear, I quickly learned to study the faces of people and their expressions. It was my tool for survival.”

From this gray and sepia-toned existence, Roderman, like Dorothy, was propelled into a world of color and magical possibilities. “My family and I escaped from communist Czech Republic. Shortly after, I began a modeling career in Canada and the United States.” Contrasting worlds to say the least. “All of a sudden, I was exposed to the very colorful world of fashion icons and celebrities. It was a fabulous time of my life. Each celebrity has a signature je nes c’est quoi, which I was enamored with.” Having followed in her artist mother’s footsteps since a very early age, Roderman was compelled to create her own paintings that would express the cheer and light of her own

remarkable journey. After former President Bill Clinton saw, and signed, Roderman’s powerful painting of the world leader, she was driven to produce more and varied works. “That is when I was inspired to do a collection, capturing the signature ‘essence’ of celebrities and icons; and then having their literal signature on their portrait and calling the collection, ‘Celebrity Signature Art.’”

The power of personality Assembled among these pages, Roderman’s celebrity art leaps forth with the artist’s signature use of color. Her style, reminiscent of European impressionist portraiture meeting American Folk Art, conveys more than just a zest for life. “If you look back into my history

of conflicting worlds, you can perhaps understand why I am drawn to colorful, happy environments, the bright colors that define me. You will rarely see dark colors. I like to draw people with lots of color because I believe the world is an amazing, colorful place and I like to really express that in all of my work. “Each of these portraits captures a special moment in time, which can be read through their eyes and facial expressions. Being a celebrity means having influence on the public, so this specific moment most likely influenced the world.”

Family and flamingos Today, Roderman continues to expand her range of expression. Another remarkable Spring 2017



journey has motivated her to begin painting and exploring the energy in groups of people. Her unlikely source of inspiration? Flamingos. “My daughters and I went to Israel for 14 days with a tour guide who worked for ‘National Geographic.’ We were in the middle of a desert. 115 degrees. Hot, out of it. Exhausted. Nothing around, no chance of survival. And our guide said that if we just traveled a little farther, around the corner, there was this random oasis known for its flamingos. I didn’t believe him. Flamingos? In the middle of nowhere? In Israel? We walked. And lo and behold there they were. These amazing creatures. After the initial shock of such beauty in the middle of miles of sand, we noticed the unity of the flock. How they moved together, the synchronized dance that they did. It was one of those moments I will never forget. Long crooked noses and necks with legs like kite tails. That was what inspired me. The beauty of this group and how they are so much more powerful when they are together than separately… The explosion of color and life… And if you hadn’t gone around that one corner. It is like life. Sometimes, you have to keep your eyes open out of protection and fear. But, then, if you’re willing to move your eyes beyond that, there is an endless, colorful world out there. Always push yourself just a little more so you won’t ever miss life’s greatest moments.”

6th Annual Opulence MEGA Yacht Gala Artist Bridget Roderman has recently accepted an invitation by this publication to capture the portrait of Anthony Rizzo for the upcoming Home Run for the Cure Yacht Gala. Anthony is the beneficiary of The Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation.  You will likely know Anthony as the First Baseman for the Chicago Cubs. It was he who caught the last out to win the historic 2016 World Series. “I will be painting Anthony in his moment of glory,” enthused Roderman. “The portrait will then be auctioned at the Home Run for the Cure Yacht Gala to benefit children with cancer and their families at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center and also at the Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.”


Opulence Spring 2017

B e st Kept Su r pr i ses

of Singer Island Discover today what would have amazed the island’s namesake sewing-machine magnate


f your timing is right, you might spot the following advisory sign at a beach on Florida’s Singer Island: air temperature, 82 degrees; water temperature, 72 degrees; weather conditions: Awesome.

Singer Island was named for Paris Eugene Singer, 23rd child (that’s not a typo!) of sewing machine magnate Isaac Singer. A developer, Paris made Palm Beach what it is by bringing in Spanish architecture, picturesque streets and exclusive shops. Historical records say the son bought the property as a gift for his mistress, who reportedly didn’t like it. What could she possibly not have loved about this isle of paradise?

A Closer Look This charming, undisturbed shoreline section of north-central Palm Beach County, Singer Island is a five-mile-long, half-mile wide swath of the sandy Sunshine State sandwiched between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, just north of Palm Beach and east of Riviera Beach. Traffic often arrives via the Blue Heron Bridge, a concrete causeway bringing cars across the Intracoastal and back onto terra firma. Florida’s Atlantic coast road, State Road A1A, curves north, taking traffic past restaurants, the Ocean Mall, parks, water-related sports shops and one funky cigar bar. At the west entrance is Phil Foster Park, named for a prominent local citizen, with its guarded

By Dale King and Julia Hebert

beach, picnicking, day cruises, jet ski rentals and boat launch facilities. Snorkeling among the rocks below the bridge is particularly fascinating as underwater adventurers find such creatures as eagle rays, pipefish, coral shrimps, sea stars and sea horses.  South of Singer Island near the Palm Beach Inlet is a small, but historically significant spot, Peanut Island, site of a bomb-proof bunker built to house and protect President John F. Kennedy, his family and staff, had war broken out at the time of the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. It was recently refurbished for tourists who can visit by water taxi. John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, named for the Chicago insurance tycoon who donated the land, is between Singer Island and North Palm Beach. Munyon Island is an off-shore wilderness once home to a lavish hotel, the Hygeia, that burned to the ground in 1915. That island’s beach was once unofficially a clothing-optional strand where, among others, Walt Disney is said to have skinny-dipped.

The Secret Unveiled But not to worry, along Singer Island’s seven-mile stretch of pristine shoreline, dubbed one of the top five beaches in Palm Beach County, there’s still one bestkept secret that may surprise even the locals. Tucked away in a sanctuary of serenity, Palm Beach County’s only all-suite ocean-

front resort that’s replete with luxurious condo-style-living guest accommodations, award-winning dining and a world-class spa named among the top U.S. spas by Condé Nast Traveler in 2015. International Opulence Editor-in-Chief recently visited this gem of white-glove hospitality, the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort and Spa. “The lavish and thoughtful appointments of our upscale suite felt like a home-awayfrom home – with a five-star kitchen, worldclass interior design and a spa-like en-suite bathroom so spacious it alone rivaled the size of an entire guestroom at other resorts,” Jay said. “SiSpa, for me, took pampering to a new level of splendor, with innovative services like the Bourbon Body Scrub that puts one in just the perfect relaxation mode in time for dinner at 3800 Ocean. The gastronomy of seafood and meat pairings, along with service that didn’t miss a beat made for a postcard-perfect staycation that had us feeling as if we were worlds away. I would visit again in a heartbeat.” For more information about visiting Singer Island, go to or

Seaside at the Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort and Spa

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michael cheval OF


Painting shown: Imagine

“This work is dedicated to John Lennon, the main character of the painting who sits on the mosaic floor of ‘Strawberry Fields’ in Central Park, New York. The woman figure is not Yoko Ono, but a symbol of music, incredible and full of surprises, like the silent violin she plays. Strawberries are all around Lennon’s figure, even in his hat, which is a juicer with a clock mechanism. Perhaps, for Lennon, the Strawberry image was a symbol of love and, I think, juice from these berries fed his creativity as the God’s nectar.”


Opulence Spring 2017

Painting shown: Comparative Analogy


rom the Cheshire-cat-like grin of John Lennon in Michael Cheval’s ‘Imagine’, to the reminiscing of a youth’s ‘first taste of a young girl’s lips’, it’s easy to understand why this painter is the self-professed Pioneer of Absurdology in the visual arts. Peering into each masterpiece draws one in to search for the mysterious and compelling comparative analogies Cheval weaves into each one. “Surrealism and Absurdism are different styles, though, at first glance, look alike,” explained Cheval. “The main difference is that surrealism is the subconscious world of the artist, which does not require an explanation, whereas the absurdity is the conscious world, where the artist deliberately turns everything upside down. Absurdism is an invitation to talk.”

The Backstory of Cheval Cheval was born in 1966 in Kotelnikovo, a small town in southern Russia, where he spent the first 14 years of his life before moving with his family to Altenburg in East Germany. He was the first nephew, grandson and son of his family. “Imagine how much love and attention I was getting,” said Cheval, who now resides in New Jersey and operates Cheval Fine Art with his wife Beatrice. “Now I can say that I was born in the right place, in the right home, at the right time. My family was very artistic. My grandfather was a sculptor and painter. Grandmother wrote poems for children. Everyone knew how to draw. Everyone sang, played musical instruments, and loved music. Therefore, to draw for me was as natural as for today’s children to play with Legos. “My mother says that I started to consciously draw when I was about 2 years old,” he

“Our whole thought process is constructed from chains of comparative analogies that we use to understand everything that surrounds us. Analogies live in our brain like strings of the complex mechanism that change and upgrade continuously. The figure of the juggler on the table is strained like a string, symbolizing this mechanism. He juggles the objects of the same color, of the same texture, and possibly of the same flavor, but different in form. What in the end will allow us to name all these objects oranges, and what will hinder it?”

continued. “The horse drawn by me looked like a horse, not a fire truck. As a child, I loved fairy tales and stories about the war, pirates, knights. These stories have inspired me to draw. I loved to draw battle scenes - cannons are firing, horses are jumping, soldiers above and below, all the smoke and dust. And I came up with my own stories, invented all sorts of things, and then would tell my friends, like it really happened to me. “My toys were pencils and watercolors, as well as clay, from which I could sculpt any toy for myself and my friends. Real toys from a store were few and they were very primitive. And clay is the ‘sea of ​​happiness,’ to do with what you want.”

Michael Cheval

Cheval’s father was an officer in the Soviet Army, and in Germany they lived on an air

force base. He traveled the country far and wide and his adventures would one day influence his iconic artistic style.

A New World “It was an indescribable feeling, as if I found myself on a different planet. Everything there was different - roads, forests, fields and cities. Everything breathed history. Museums and urban architecture, old castles and tidy village houses. I soaked up everything around me, like a sponge. It was a culture familiar to me only from books. I saw paintings of the Great Masters in the Dresden Gallery that previously I had seen only on postage stamps and postcards. My world view began to change rapidly. I began to feel and understand more. I learned to ask myself questions and was looking for answers. Another important factor was my passion for music, rock ‘n’ roll. My Spring 2017



friends and I created a rock band. We composed songs, played the Beatles.” From early childhood, Cheval knew he was destined to make a living as an artist. ‘It was my passion, my shelter, my paradise,” he said. “But when I was 15, I became interested in music and poetry. I am completely immersed in creativity, composing poems and music. I read a lot of fiction books, studied philosophy and history. Then, one day, I thought that it is impossible to make a living. I took my paint and brushes out of the closet, stretched a canvas and started painting. I was 22 years old.”

Approaching Absurdity The concept of “Absurd” came later. “My art education was academic - portrait, landscape, still life. But after I saw works of Dali, I realized that this is the style in which I wanted to work. My inner world, my fantasies coincide with the ideas of surrealism,” Cheval explained. “At first, my paintings were very similar to paintings of Dali. Over the years, my style began to develop. And literature helped me, in particular, my favorite authors, Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear. In fact, already in the USA, I started to call my style ‘absurdity.’ ” Artists who inspired Cheval: Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. And he was always fascinated by Velázquez, Vermeer, Ter Borch, Brueghel and others. “When looking at my artwork, I want the viewer to be bold and not afraid to enter into a dialogue with a painting,” Cheval said. “I would like a viewer to tell me about how he or she sees my painting or what he or she feels. That is an act of co-creation! Dialogue - it is very important.” What does Michael Cheval want art history books to say one day about his legacy? “It sounds like an epitaph,” the Pioneer of Absurdology said.“I can’t say that I do not care. I would like that I’ll leave a trace in art history and people will remember my name. But, in truth, I think that my children are my greatest achievement. That is my real legacy. And I understand it more and more clearly 4every year.”

Painting shown: Sense of Adolescence 120

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Left: “From my series ‘Playhouse of Quintessence,’ this piece is done in the style of the great Renaissance masters. The starting point was a portrait of the Infanta, by Velázquez. It is about feelings we experienced as teenagers. Do you remember that feeling from your first kiss, the taste of a young girl’s lips? This enigma and mystery we invented and believed are gone forever. But sometimes it’s worth remembering.”

Cheval paintings are available at

Painting shown: From Sadness To Joy

“Our entire life consists of a chain of emotions, where joy is replaced by sadness. Just as in nature, everything is made of opposites - cold and heat, light and shadow. Harlequin in the painting is holding a sad mask of Pierott, which he had just taken off her face. Emotions so easily replace each other only in the theater. Behind Harlequin you can see a lute with a telephone dial disk and hookah with the telephone handset. These two items symbolize joy and sadness, complementing each other’s by the phone parts. Telephone in this case is the link between two emotions. Lute - the joy that seeks out, hookah leaving sadness inside our soul.”

“Surrealism and Absurdism are different styles. Surrealism is the subconscious world of the artist, which does not require explanation, whereas the absurdity is the conscious world, where the artist deliberately turns everything upside down. Absurdism is an invitation to talk.” – Michael Cheval Spring 2017




Opulence Spring 2017

The Unreal Realism of Tullius Heuer

Brazilian digital artist-illustrator Tullius Heuer blends simulated pencil art with photography to create dramatic 3D-esque masterpieces


By Robin Jay

n the sugar-sand port shores of Maceió, Brazil, it’s fitting that the 19th-century city launched with the installation of sugar, spice and tobacco mills and that its Portuguese name illustrates the spontaneous course of water flowing from its soil into the sea. With its rich exporting history, it’s also fitting that one of Maceió’s modern-day natives, artist-illustrator Tullius Heurer (who, incidentally, shares the regal name of a Roman king and the chiseled profile of a Greek god) has touched the lives of thousands with his surrealistic three-dimensional computer-generated fantasy illusions that have circumnavigated the globe via the phenomenon of viral social media.

Spring 2017



but they need to be really soft, giving the look of volume to the picture and providing a subtle transition. Elements, like a pencil or a hand, can be placed strategically to give the appearance that parts of the body are coming out to enhance the ‘3D’ impression.” One of Tullius’ first three-dimension-esque artworks is called, ‘Don’t Leave Me’ (seen on this page). “Seeing a woman reaching out from the paper with a desperate expression [as if she were falling or drowning] and a broken tip pencil by her side made people freak out. It had the “WOW” factor that made it go viral,” Tullius said.

‘Don’t Leave Me’

International Opulence happened upon the compelling artworks of 27-year-old Tullius Heuer in a search to find an artist who could create something out-of-this-world to symbolize the artistic, larger-than-life culinary genius of Chicago’s Chef Curtis Duffy – the three-Michelin-star, James Beard Best-Chef-awarded kitchen whiz at Grace. I sought an artist whose work would “pop off the page.” Quite literally and unexpectedly, I discovered that precise talent in the portfolio of Tullius Heuer. His pencil-art simulations, blended with manipulated photography, create the amazing illusion that his sketches are coming to life – and reaching off the page. On first sight, it was eerie – but also compellingly fantastic.

ily when I’m overcome with passion about something). My main influences are really simple, nothing more than life and its feelings. I can feel inspired by music, by waking up and staring at my dogs playing, by a homeless child asking for a piece of bread, movies and everything that surrounds me.

Tullius graciously agreed to collaborate with International Opulence and the co-founder and photographer of Grace, Michael Muser. You’ll find his resulting masterpiece on the cover of this issue.

Tullius’ works are dreamlike, mixing surrealism with somber expression. “I’m a huge fan of melancholic things and also dark themed artworks with a deep meaning,” he said. “But I’ve realized that’s no longer what I want to show to the world, so I try to show different feelings from different points of view. It’s amazing how something can be happy and sad at the same time. That’s what I try to do.”

Getting to Know Tullius I sat down with this gentle giant of humanity for an interview to find out what makes him tick. Tullius has a degree in computer networking and spent several years working at an ad agency before venturing into his true passion as a full-time freelance artist. “I started focusing on art when I noticed I could represent my thoughts in an image, that’s pretty important to me – it’s what I want for my life,” Tullius said. “I’m a very empathic and patient person. I try to never get angry. I’m also really emotional (I cry eas124

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“Sometimes I get myself into deep meditation about existence and it makes me think about things I can do to change myself to be a better person. I want to make art that has a positive impact on someone’s life. It doesn’t matter how many people have seen it, if just one person was touched by that, it’s worth the effort.”

Evolving Genres and 3D

To achieve the illusion of three-dimensions on a flat surface, Tullius has developed many self-taught techniques. “I start with an in-depth search for photos with a specific angle and perspective that allows me to work with shadows, giving the sensation of something transitioning from the paper to reality,” Tullius explained. “These shadows aren’t necessarily realistic,

Tullius’ favorite piece is one titled, ‘As I Wish’, (shown on next page). “It has a deep meaning and was featured in Granada City in 2013 at the European Women’s Center Mariana Pineda in an exhibit called, ‘A Look At Gender Violence.’ This was one of my very first Photoshop works and I still love the intense mood of it. It was a strong motivation against violence toward women and is something that makes me proud because that’s something I consider intolerable,” Tullius said.

The Future For Tullius Currently, Tullius lives with his parents in Maceió and looks forward to marrying his girlfriend Léa, who’s studying publicity and works with makeup and photography. Their dream is to work together in a studio. He wants to create a series of artworks honoring people with severe diseases and deficiencies. In closing, I asked Tullius if there was anything else on his mind that he wished to share with our readers. “Yes,” he said adamantly but humbly. “I’ve seen there’s still a prejudice against people who work with art full time. Sometimes it’s easy to think we just come up with an idea and put it onto paper (or a “song,” or a “movie” or even a food dish), but I want people to understand it’s hard work as any other. Working creatively is really terrifying sometimes, so it’s important that people care about art and what artists go through to create it. My greatest dream is to be a reference for future artists.” To view additional artworks of Tullius Heuer, go to

‘As I Wish’ is Tullius’ favorite art piece because it has a deep meaning for him and was exhibited in Granada City at the ‘A Look At Gender Violence’ Exhibition. “The fact it was a strong motivation against violence toward women is something that makes me proud; that’s something intolerable,” he said.

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Québec City A Living Francophone Museum


hen I set out on a recent trip to Québec, I did so specifically looking for the answer to a long-harbored question: Can a Canadian city of French origin that had been under British rule until 150 years ago, (an anniversary they are celebrating vigorously throughout the country this year), truly be my gateway


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By Kelly Villasuso

to an immersive experience in Francophone culture without ever leaving North America? With my trip a fait accompli, it is with one part joy — Québec City is so close — and one part sadness — so much time has been wasted — that I share the answer to my question: Oui il peut (Yes it can)! Not only did I discover the ease with which I could satiate my love of things I had tradi-

the lively squares and sacred battlefields, and traversed from Haute-Ville to BasseVille by foot or funicular, the very heart of this centuries-old city pulsed around me, offering up its treasures like a living museum. Surviving doors to the city tionally associated with the French motherland across the pond, such as language, art, wine, and food, I discovered a people as passionate about preserving their French heritage as they are about cherishing their uniquely Québécois culture. I also discovered a city in which 409 years of history proudly unfolded before me as I strolled the narrow, cobblestone streets within its fortified walls — the only remaining fortified city in North America north of Mexico. As I ambled in and out of the surviving doors to the city (Porte St. Jean, Porte St. Louis, Porte Prescott, and Porte Kent) and historic landmarks, passed through

The reverence for the rich past of this UNESCO World Heritage city could be seen in so many ways, such as the way in which Vieux Québec is painstakingly tended day and night, or the way in which the stories of its turbulent and triumphant past flow freely from the tongues of tour guides (the likes of Madame Michelle Demers) and regular Quebecers, alike. However, I also found the Québécois veneration for the past was artfully balanced with a desire to be au courant, particularly in its culinary and hospitality offerings, such as restaurant Laurie Raphaël (whose exquisite food, exceptional wine and superior service

rivals the best in the world and should not be missed) and Auberge Saint-Antoine.

Auberge Saint-Antoine Is Past Perfect Located in the Îlot Hunt (Old Port) in Québec City, Auberge Saint-Antoine has made an art of sharing the past … perfectly. While the luxurious Auberge literally envelops the physical remains of a wharf, a cannon battery, and countless archaeological findings of significance in its three historical buildings, I personally found it does so reverentially and beyond comfortably. The artifacts discovered throughout the eight years of construction of Auberge SaintAntoine, some of which dated back to the 1600s, were all catalogued and restored by Québec City’s Conservation Center. These artifacts linked the hotel to every stage of Québec City’s three-and-a-half-century progression, serving as inspiration to the Auberge proprietors, the Price family, and now reflect “an element of surprise” as you wander throughout the hotel and see these treasures artfully displayed.

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Historic artifacts are on display at Auberge Saint-Antoine

Dining room at Auberge Saint-Antoine

As I rode the elevator to my room on the fifth floor, I felt as though I was traveling back through centuries of history. Each of the six floors in the Auberge is associated with an archaeological layer, such as 1660–1725 or 1880–1925, and every room tells a unique story of the life and times of a former resident during that period. For instance, my room was La Chambre d’un Tailleur (The Room of a Tailor) and, in addition to being incredibly well-appointed, came complete with hand-cut buttons on display from Mr. Gaudiose Montreuil, the tailor himself.


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The experience at Auberge Saint-Antoine was so thoughtful and immersive, I often felt as though I was spending une nuit dans le musée (a night in the museum). However, the five-star service and modern amenities of the Auberge, including its gorgeous restaurant, Panache, and its spa, gym, and movie theatre, quickly reminded me I was in an award-winning Relais & Château property.

With its proximity to the St. Lawrence River and the Old Port, Auberge Saint-Antoine is a prime location to stay during Canada’s 150th anniversary events scheduled in Québec City throughout the year, including the Tall Ships flotilla scheduled to embark on Québec City between July 18 and 23, 2017.

Where to Stay Hotel Le Crystal An all-suite, five-star luxury boutique hotel conveniently located near the museums, the Old City, and restaurants. 1100, rue de la Montagne, Montréal, QC • 1-866-599-6674 •

Montréal … La Destination des Arts

Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Final model for the wall painting at the Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York: The Triumph of Music (detail), 1966, tempera, gouache and collage on paper mounted on Korean paper, 109 Å~ 91.5 cm. Private collection. ˝ SODRAC & ADAGP 2017, Chagall…. ˝ Archives Marc et Ida Chagall, Paris

For some, Montréal is a gateway to the Province of Québec and Canada. However, I found Montréal is worth much more than a stopover, especially in this the year of its 375th anniversary and Canada’s 150th. Everywhere I turned, Montréal was a convergence of old and new; French, British and Québécois; chic and bohemian; traditional and nouveau — from art to architecture, performances to poutines.

As Canada’s proclaimed cultural hub, I found some of the city’s street art, as well as the interactive exhibit in Au Sommet Place Ville Marie, nearly as intriguing as the exceptional exhibits in the Montréal Musée des Beaux-Arts and Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal. The city truly offers something for everyone and, because one percent of every public building’s budget must be dedicated to public art, it is all very accessible. I also happily discovered that Montréalers’ love of the arts extends to the culinary sort, too. With the most restaurants per capita in North America outside of New York City, the city truly seems to be bursting at its seams with options covering the full culinary spectrum, such as the fine dining at Chef Daniel Boulud’s Maison Boulud at the Ritz-Carlton or a hot, more local establishment, Vin Papillion Wine Bar. Whether you go for a music festival, an avant-garde film festival, or special exhibit, to eat your way through its plethora of culinary options, or simply to immerse yourself in the energetic vibe of this young, old city, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Montréal is Canada’s mecca for all the arts.

Where to Stay Ritz-Carlton, Montréal The prestigious AAA Five Diamond RitzCarlton Montréal is the original Ritz-Carlton and dates to 1912. This iconic hotel is the grand dame of the Ritz-Carlton family, as well as of Sherbrooke Street. 1228 Sherbrooke St. West, Montréal, QC • 1-514-842-4212 Spring 2017



Whatever Your Religion, Park City Is Your Year-Round Cathedral By Kelly Villasuso

Renowned Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev once stated, “Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” Thousands upon thousands of worshipers would tell you Boukreev surely must have been referring to the Wasatch Mountain Range that frames Park City, Utah, and I would agree. It is a year-round cathedral for adventure sports, wildlife watching — such as moose meandering just off your hotel room balcony — and centering sun salutations, alike.



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Fly Fishing

“Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfy my ambition to achieve, they are the cathedrals where I practice my religion.” — Renowned Russian mountaineer Anatoli Boukreev

Mountain Biking



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Located 35-miles to the east of Salt Lake City and nearly 7,000 feet above sea level, this historic silver mining town is recognized for having the Greatest Snow on Earth® and, most recently, was named The “No. 1 Mountain Town” in Travel + Leisure’s annual America’s Favorite Places survey (January 2017). Park City’s divine landscape and traversable terrain have nature, wildlife, and sporting enthusiasts singing the city’s praises year-round. Deer Valley and Park City Mountain serve as shrines for devoted hikers, mountain bikers, fly fishing anglers, and zipliners looking to pay homage to their four-season outdoor passions, and I quickly joined the choir (albeit the “you-needa-lot-of-training-before-you-do-this” choir).

Let the Handlebars Stir Your Soul Park City’s Deer Valley Resort offers mountain biker neophytes (of which I am self-proclaimed) and seasoned devotees a seemingly endless variety of trails that stir the soul and may or may not have resulted in an out-ofbody experience for me. After a lesson with the resort’s knowledgeable guide, we rode the lift to the heavens above where I then started the breathtaking, prayer-evoking journey back down on the “novice course.” The hair-raising twists and turns, along with the unexpected bumps that sent me — bike and all — two feet into the air called for Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” to be on replay in my head. Other more experienced riders regularly reach nirvana with seemingly thousands of fellow adrenaline junkies on the resort’s other more challenging (as if that’s possible), internationally acclaimed trails.

Fly Fishing is High Church Famed journalist Tom Brokaw once said, “If fishing is a religion, then fly fishing is high church.” And if that is true, then the clear mountain waters of the Provo and Weber rivers are certainly two perfect places for anglers to worship. Step into waders (not my preferred fashion statement, but they do keep you dry) and grab a creel, a fly rod, and a guide (if you are a newbie like me), then start tapping your line to find piscatorial enlightenment.

The Zen of Ziplining In the interest of full transparency, ziplining was not the first thing to cross my mind when I envisioned my “moment of Park City Zen” — curly hair and helmets are not the best of friends, let alone a fear of heights. A strong warrior two and a sun salutation A (about 30 feet back from the mountain’s edge) was more in line with my thinking. However, I believe I saw the light as I was flying across the canyon between Lookout Peak and Red Pine Lodge, courtesy of Epic Zip Tour at Canyons Village on Park City Mountain. Their highly trained guides put my mind at ease (along with a comforting number of straps and “metal thingy’s” securing me to the line), allowing my spirits to soar as I floated across some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

Bubbles and Baths to Exorcise Demons If you tend to seek a blissful, less physically demanding experience like I tend to do, you can soothe your soul by making an off-season pilgrimage to one of Park City’s resorts — such as Montage Deer Valley Resort & Spa and its yurt that serves celestial bubbles in the form of Veuve Clicquot. Despite my willingness to enlighten myself on the fervors of others and don a helmet, knee pads, and a backpack with an assortment of hooks meant to keep me from plunging to the ground below, I rather prefer to exorcise my demons in a world-class spa, such as Spa Montage Deer Valley, satisfy my culinary cravings at one of Park City’s gourmet festivals and institutions, such as Silver Star Café and tupelo, or shop until I drop on Historic Main Street. So, whatever your religion — nature, wildlife, sports, or self-indulgence — consider Park City your year-round cathedral. One visit and you will be a convert.

Montage Deer Valley Resort & Spa and its yurt. 132

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Roll Stogies & Become A Rum Runner in Key West By Dale King and Julia Hebert

Even if your humidors are stocked with the finest cigars and your crystal decanters are filled with the best aged rums, there’s one thing likely still missing on your bucket list: rolling your own stogies in an authentic cigar factory and running a little rum in the oldest legal rum distillery in Key West.

Cigar Maker For A Day There’s only one remaining manufacturer – Rodriguez Cigar Factory on Fitzpatrick Street.

The 75-minutes tour concludes with a complimentary hand-rolled cigar and an espresso. Master rollers at this, the oldest cigar company in the Keys, will lead guests through the entire process of creating cigars, from leaf to final wrapping. With more than 67 years of tobacco crafting experience, Rodriguez’ artisans deliver a premium product enriched by Cuban heritage.

Rum It Up The Key West First Legal Rum Distillery on Simonton Street lets you view the actual rum-making process. And you can taste their ‘chef-distilled’ rums infused with coconut, vanilla crème brulee or key lime. “One common task shared by rum distillers and chefs alike is cooking sugar cane in big

kettles or stills. We are chefs first and distillers second, so our process is called ‘chef-distilled,’ said Chief Distiller Paul Menta whose distillery is in a 1903 former Coca-Cola bottling plant. Tours conclude with a tasting, including their signature drink, the “Legal Vanilla Rum and Coke.”

Nestled between the Key West Harbor and Mallory Square, Ocean Key Resort & Spa is part of the vibrant, lively and classic Duval Street. The resort features 100 luxurious rooms and suites, overlooking the calm waters where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean. “Ocean Key made my maiden voyage to Key West so quintessential,” said Chantal Forster from International Opulence. “The Cuban dishes prepared by Chef Jason Estphal were deliciously authentic- a must have are the crab cakes and Yellowtail Snapper. Don’t miss the Thai Table massage or the Key Lime Margarita signature pedicure at the in-house spa, SpaTerre. The signature pedicure includes a hot towel body butter wrap, a key lime sugar scrub, a leg massage and key lime paraffin foot treatment. It was perfect after an action-packed day in Key West.” Ocean Key Resort & Spa • 0 Duval Street, Key West, Florida • Spring 2017







eldom does philanthropy sound so exhilarating. The dapper Alex Donner has mixed a career in music with a serious commitment to philanthropy for more than a quarter of a century and inspired many not only to dance but also to give. Alex Donner has been dubbed “the best entertainment provider in the east... if not in the country” by The New York Times and other esteemed critics. His music and voice, reminiscent of Frank Sinatra days, have become a permanent fixture among discerning socialites and demanding young brides. His com134


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pany, Alex Donner Entertainment, has built a reputation for elegant music that “makes the party swing” while being able to converse with your partner without losing your voice. A long list of luminaries has enjoyed the four Alex Donner Orchestras over the years including the Inaugurations of Presidents George H.W. Bush and Donald Trump; Rudolf Giuliani; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes; the Rockefeller family; Itzhak Perlman; Kevin Klein; Lou Dobbs; Susan Lucci; Queen Noor of Jordan; the King and Queen of Sweden; Mario Cuomo, among others.

Ava: How did you get started in the music business? Alex: Besides singing in school and church choirs, as a kid in New York my dad took me out to jazz clubs and Leonard Bernstein’s Young People’s Concerts. Later on, I did a college year abroad in Paris and sang in the Metro while there. At first I was ignored, but soon after, they were throwing a lot of money at me. I realized that there was nothing I loved to do more than sing and began to take it seriously. I returned to Princeton and studied music and sang with a band there. My first job out

Ava: Any other involvement in philanthropy besides performing for charitable galas? Alex: It started early on with my parents. They taught me by their example to give at least 10 percent of the money you make and 20 percent of your time to charity. I have been a board member of the William H. Donner and Donner Canadian Foundations for more than 25 years. I am most proud of our pioneering work in Arts Management; in Animal Rescue and Animal and Veterans legislation; and reform of the U.S. legal system.

Alex Donner at Mar a Lago. Palm Beach 2016 of college was as the bandleader at the legendary El Morocco in New York. Then it was on to Fordham Law School and eventually working at the Roy Cohn law firm. Ava: So I guess you saw people at their worst as a lawyer and their best as a bandleader? Alex: Exactly right. I used to joke that it was a package deal: engagement parties as a bandleader, creating pre-nups as a lawyer, weddings as a bandleader and divorces as a lawyer. Ava: How did you transition to full-time music? Alex: Studio 54 was a client and Steve Rubell, its owner, occasionally hired me when he needed a live band like for Mick Jagger’s birthday party. I then played a wedding in Jaipur, India, for an heiress who had been a client for years. It was one of the first destination weddings and included a week of events sponsored by the Maharajah, including polo matches. I even played elephant polo! The subsequent publicity led to being pictured in Town & Country leading the band in a turban and footage on Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous. When I returned, the law firm started getting too many calls for my band and so I left. Ava: How has your music changed over the years? Alex: Most people want the music they grew up with at their parties. So for most young weddings now, we play contemporary hits. For a more senior clientele, it’s often Swing, Motown and Classic Rock. Our

repertoire ranges from Shakira to Sinatra, Beyonce to Irving Berlin, and Gershwin to Gaga. Recently we were honored to play Yo-Yo Ma’s daughter’s wedding. As you can imagine, playing in front of Yo-Yo Ma was quite unnerving; he turned out to be a super nice guy who embraced me when it was over. Ava: Do you remember one of the first weddings you played? Alex: Of course I do. It was your own wedding to the late William Donner Roosevelt, my first cousin, at the Wee Burn Country Club in Darien with the whole family gathered. It was a very special moment in our lives. We loved Bill and seeing him joyous made us all very happy. Ava: Do you perform for a lot of charitable galas? Alex: Yes, we have done close to a thousand. Highlights include the Costume Institute in New York; in France, a ball at the Palace of Versailles; the Chicago Lyric Opera; the Newport Preservation Ball, and Doris Duke’s Rough Point mansion, also in Newport. Others include the Kennedy Center, The Plaza Hotel, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum and the New York Botanical Gardens. In Palm Beach, we have performed at the Breakers, the Norton Museum of Art, and the Heart, Cancer and The Preservation Foundation benefits to name a few.

Ava: What other grants are you currently working on? Alex: One particular new interest of mine is measuring the dangers of the worldwide addiction to nonstop wireless and disseminating those results. Though wireless is here to stay, there is mounting evidence that it is extremely harmful when used on a continuing basis. Ava: Since you are in music professionally, have you ever done any grants in that area? Alex: Yes, about 10 years ago, I put together a one-time benefit for musicians and singers of New Orleans who were victims of Hurricane Katrina to rebuild their houses and start playing music again. By performing over the years at a reduced fee for many charity balls, I had built up a number of IOUs from the chairwomen of those galas and they joined our committee. Our family foundations provided seed money, and I got my musician friends from New Orleans to perform for free. We had a wonderful party in New York and raised a net $200,000. When we flew down to New Orleans to present the check, the local jazz musicians put on an impromptu jam session for us. I joined them on stage and sang, “Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?” I was very proud.

Ava Roosevelt is the author of The Racing Heart. She is also a Palm Beach philanthropist and wife of the late William Donner Roosevelt, grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Spring 2017




Women Are at the Forefront in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s By Michael Campea


hirty years ago, as a newly minted Ph.D. at Rockefeller University in New York, Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton started noticing the disproportionate impact of Alzheimer’s disease on women. Now she is a leading neuroscientist and director of the Center for Innovation in Brain Science at the University of Arizona Health Sciences. She believes women are key to discovering new treatments for Alzheimer’s and is studying how major physical transitions - puberty, pregnancy and menopause - may affect important connections in the brain.

THE NEED FOr WOMEN-FOCUSED RESEARCH “Tackling Alzheimer’s requires a new vision,” said Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Association. “Research showed us how women experience heart disease differently from men. Now doctors adjust blood thinner dosages and prescribe low-dose aspirin depending on a person’s sex, particularly for older women who have already had a heart attack. We envision parallels in future Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis and treatment.” Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s. They make up nearly two-thirds of the more than 5 million Americans living with the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimer’s places a heavier burden on women at work and at home, often forcing them to make unwanted choices about their careers, relationships and other life decisions. Today, a woman in her 60s is nearly twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as breast cancer within her lifetime. Women also are more likely to be caregivers of those with Alzheimer’s. There are 2.5 times more women than men providing 24-hour care for someone with the disease. Nearly 19 percent of women Alzheimer’s caregivers had to quit work either to become a caregiver or because their caregiving duties became too burdensome.

WHY MORE WOMEN THAN MEN? It is unclear why women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s. Women generally live longer than men, but mounting evidence suggests that longevity alone may not account for the unequal Alzheimer’s burden women face.

ently between the sexes. As a result, the Alzheimer’s Association – the leading non-profit funder of Alzheimer’s and dementia research – launched its first-ever Sex and Gender in Alzheimer’s (SAGA) research grants. The effort provides $2.2 million to nine projects. As a SAGA-funded researcher, Brinton is investigating the influence of estrogen loss and Alzheimer’s genetic risk on brain health. It’s suggested these factors increase a woman’s susceptibility to the disease. Other SAGA projects are exploring controllable lifestyle habits and behaviors that may influence a woman’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s, such as education, exercise, diet, stress, and sleep. “With the results from SAGA-funded projects, we could open a whole new world in terms of how we treat people with dementia in the doctor’s office,” said Carrillo.

HOW TO GET INVOLVED One way you can get involved is by joining the Alzheimer’s Association’s My Brain movement, which calls on a million women to use their amazing brains to help wipe out the disease. For details, visit International Opulence is a proud supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association and the annual Rita Hayworth Luncheon in Palm Beach.

“We know the link between sex and Alzheimer’s is complex, and likely due to multiple factors, such as the interplay between hormones and genetic risk for the disease. By learning more about these factors, we have an opportunity to translate them into better ways to treat, prevent and diagnose Alzheimer’s,” said Carrillo. In May 2015, the Alzheimer’s Association hosted a think tank, which was co-chaired by Brinton, to map out a research agenda to increase understanding of how Alzheimer’s develops and progresses differ136


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Maria Carrillo, Ph.D., chief science officer at the Alzheimer’s Association

Dr. Roberta Diaz Brinton


KidSafe Foundation Brings Safety to Light By Kristen Mager

Twelve years ago, Sally Berenzweig’s 3-yearold son walked out of the house and wandered through the neighborhood – barefoot and crying – before a stranger stopped, put the toddler in his car, and drove around looking for the boy’s home. The babysitter never noticed he was gone. “We trusted her,” said Sally. “She was 24 years old, a certified swim instructor, preschool teacher, and part-time nursing student. You don’t get better credentials than that.” For Sally’s family, the ending was happy, thanks to a Good Samaritan. But the life-changing incident inspired her to bring a safety program to her son’s preschool that other families, along with hers, could benefit from. That’s how she met Cherie Benjoseph, a licensed clinical social worker and former middle school guidance counselor, who started giving safety seminars to mom’s groups after one of her students disclosed she’d been abused by her stepdad, also the PTA vice president. Cherie was shocked – not by the claim itself – but that this student didn’t show the textbook signs of abuse. It made her realize there was a need in the community for better awareness.

Protecting Children Against Predators “After I heard Cherie speak, I approached her and asked, ‘Why isn’t every parent and child

getting this program? Let’s do something here,’” said Sally. Her career prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom was a psychotherapist to physically and sexually abused children and women, so she had motivation on both personal and professional levels to educate and make a difference. The two women started meeting at local Starbucks shops, researching ways to keep kids safe, which led to a joint passion in 2009: co-founding KidSafe Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that provides education to children and adults to prevent child sexual abuse, bullying and Internet exploitation.

Sobering Statistics Sally said that even with her professional training, she didn’t realize the severe epidemic of sexual abuse until she dug into the numbers: One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually exploited before the age of 18. Nine out of 10 times a child will be harmed by someone they know. 68 percent of the time the offender is a family member. “Not everyone reports abuse,” she said, “so sadly the numbers are actually higher.”

Sally Berenzweig and Cherie Benjosep. Since their inception they have taught 50K children and 25K adults. KIdSafe strongly believes every child and adult needs to be educated to stop this epidemic. If there’s a bright side, here’s one: With education, 95 percent of abuse and exploitation can be prevented. And that’s where KidSafe Foundation is making a difference, one classroom at a time. KidSafe’s eight-week program for children is centered on role play, art, discussion, and lessons from the co-founders’ award-winning children books. The concept is to keep it fun and teach children tactics for making smart choices. “We share empowerment skills and use a multilayer approach that incorporates seminars for parents, teachers and all professionals working with children. It’s important that everyone’s speaking the same language of safety,” said Sally.

Shine The Light Gala KidSafe Foundation currently offers programs for children ages 4-11 in Palm Beach and Broward County schools. International Opulence is proud to be a sponsor of the organization’s “Shine the Light Gala” on March 10th at Woodfield Country Club in Boca Raton. Major sponsors of the gala include Hotwire Communications, Charles Schwab and The Schmidt Family Foundation. Visit for more information. Spring 2017




Cole sisters left to right: Casey, Natalie and Timolin Cole

THE LEGACY LIVES Bringing Music to Children with Nat King Cole Generation Hope by AlonA ABBADY Martinez


t is hard to tell Timolin and Casey Cole, the twin daughters of the legendary Nat King Cole, apart. Both possess a natural grace and beauty marked by a warm and embracing smile reminiscent of their late sister, Natalie, and even though they hail from a celebrity family, they are refreshingly down-to-earth, eager to talk about Nat King Cole Generation Hope, the organization they started to help bring music to underprivileged children. The sisters began the Palm Beach County organization to honor their father’s legacy. “We started in 2008, really as a response to the nationwide budget cuts to the arts programs. We just realized that it was time to do something. It was like a call to action 138


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for us,” Timolin, the older of the two by two minutes, explained. “Our outreach has been to Palm Beach County, Broward, MiamiDade and Okeechobee counties, as well as a school in New York. It’s a nationwide problem, so, obviously, we started here because this is our home and we hope this is to become something that we do nationwide,” she added.

nat & maria cole Memorial scholarship They have helped between 50 schools and organizations, offering mentoring and scholarships like the Nat and Maria Cole Scholarship. The mission is to provide music education to the children with the greatest need and the fewest resources.

The outreach has been to Title 1 Schools, those that require a minimum 70 percent of government funding. Speaking to the twins sometimes feels like speaking to one person, they are close and frequently finish each other’s thoughts. Both are equally passionate and driven about the cause, even though, they admit, they did not inherit the music gene of their father, mother Maria (a renowned jazz singer) or super-star sister Natalie.

childhood at the cole’s “Our mom tried to get us to play [the piano],” Casey offered with a grin. “We had these rigorous piano lessons every Wednesday. Mrs. Severe. Grace Severe,” she added, placing emphasis on their piano instructor’s last name. Timolin lets out a bubbly, heartfelt laugh. “We didn’t get it. We. Didn’t. Get it.” Casey repeated slowly to get the point across. “And we never practiced!” Both sisters laughed before explaining there was no musical expectation set upon them by their parents. “We did the same thing other kids do, playdates and birthday parties and stuff like that. Our mom always made sure we were busy,” Casey said.

Nat King Cole Generation Hope is the organization Casey and Timolin Cole started to help bring music to underprivileged children in Florida and New York.

The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.

The sisters grew a little quieter remembering that it will be almost five years since their mother passed away. But when asked if she was aware of their organization, their faces instantly lit up. “Yes!” They answered simultaneously. “She actually left us our dad’s piano. She was very proud of what we’d started.” Timolin looked down and began playing with the ring on her pinky finger before continuing. “She really wanted to come to our Summer Strings Program.” “And she wasn’t able to,” Casey added. “Two days after she passed away, we had Natalie with us,” Timolin said, before explaining that the Summer Strings Program is a twoweek music summer camp hosted for 85 elementary children. “We partner with Lynn

— Nat King Cole

[University] and Palm Beach County School District. The kids are divided into three groups: beginning, intermediate, and advanced and play strings from 8 to 3 every day. They are given instruction by their music teachers and Lynn Mentors. It’s really, really intense. At the end of the two weeks they…” “Perform,” Casey added energetically. “At the Wold Stage, so they’re given this opportunity to perform on this professional stage,” Timolin continued. “It’s the sweetest thing,” Casey said. The concert is free and open to everybody. Kids who attend the camp are selected from Title 1 schools that have existing string programs. The children are bussed in and given lunch.

little stars “After two weeks they’re just stars! They get

a certificate at the end saying they’ve completed the course. It’s just wonderful to see their faces. It’s such a wonderful sense of accomplishment,” Casey continued. “That’s the whole idea of what we’re doing,” Timolin stressed. “It’s not so much to produce Nat King Coles or Beethovens. It’s all about instilling them with an important foundation.”

International Opulence askedwhat their father would have thought of what they were doing today. “I think he would have wholeheartedly celebrated what we are doing,”Timolin answered. “He just wanted to bring harmony to people through his music,” Casey said. “He sang from the heart. You could tell,” Timolin responded. “And that’s what we tell the kids,” Casey continued, before Timolin added, “We tell them he was an agent of social change. What we talk to them is about, whatever you do, just be passionate about it and persevere and have patience. That was our father,” Timolin offered just as Casey added a hearty “That’s right!” For more information, visit or call 561.213.8209. Spring 2017



MEET THE BLACKLISTER An exclusive Interview with Jon Bokenkamp, creator of NBC’s hit crime thriller ‘The Blacklist’ and the new spinoff series ‘The Blacklist Redemption’

By Robin Jay

You can’t just serve up super criminals like Chinese takeout Harold,” said Raymond ‘Red’ Reddington, the dry-witted debonair concierge of crime and FBI informant played by the brilliant James Spader on NBC’s The Blacklist.

In the shocking third-season finale, former FBI agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone) was discovered alive after a failed attempt to shield her new baby from further collateral damage by associating with Reddington’s crime ring. A mysterious man claiming to be Liz’s real father (despite the series-long hints that Red is her father) targets her, but first she must resolve the mystery of her lost childhood and reconcile her true identity. Betrayed by those closest to him, Reddington’s specific moral code demands justice, all the while battling an army of new and unexpected blacklisters. If you’re an obsessed fan of The Blacklist like yours truly, you can hardly bear the wait and anticipation in between seasons. Thankfully NBC answered fan pleas by launching a new spinoff series, The Blacklist Redemption, that will air when The Blacklist is in hiatus. In this thrilling new spinoff, the world’s most elusive criminals from Red’s infamous list come together to form an elite mercenary team as they try to regain their self-worth after a lifetime of inflicting damage on the world. Seeking redemption for their past transgressions, this new group solves problems governments don’t dare touch. International Opulence sat down with the creator of both series, Jon Bokenkamp, to get the behind-the-scenes dish on both. International Opulence: I can’t imagine anyone other than James Spader playing the part of Reddington. What direction was he given and how much did he embellish to create his character? 140

Opulence Spring 2017

Bokenkamp: It was written very specific for a 50-something-year-old man who’s classy, elegant and refined. James brought a real sense of humor to the role. I know one of the things he did on ‘Boston Legal’ were the great courtroom filibusters – he’d just become hypnotizing. And that became something we would write toward. He can be quiet and captivating. Oftentimes, we’d write a whole scene and then decide he could do it with just a kiss. James said he saw in the script a lot of humor. I didn’t. He definitely brought it out and has an odd sense of humor that I think is in sync with the character. It’s James’ great sense of timing and an eerie weirdness that is fun to write to. International Opulence: What’s James like in person when he’s not acting? Does he have any similarities to his character in The Blacklist? Bokenkamp: It’s funny, John has said this before, at a certain point the character becomes the actor and the actor becomes the character. And you start writing toward that actor’s strengths and what they do well, and avoid what they are not so strong at. You see sort of a presence only they can bring to that character. In terms of what James is like, he’s incredibly professional. He’s dedicated to the script, which I think is rare in television. He’s somebody who’s not going out and ad-libbing and winging it. He’s incredibly protective of the character. Raymond has sort of an odd moral compass. He’s a ruthless man, he’s a criminal. But at the same time, he’s an antihero who has a very specific moral code and I think James is very good at calling us out when he thinks Reddington is doing something out of character.

International Opulence: When you first started the series, did you intend from the onset for the audience to wonder whether Red may be Liz’s long-lost father? Bokenkamp: I think that was always part of the mystery. It wasn’t ‘was she his daughter’ so much as who is this man, which is the larger question. The Blacklist is very much a chosen one story. “A man walks into the FBI one day and only speaks to Liz and knows things that are mysterious and uncomfortable and the question of ‘why her’ is really a series long question. We had chances to answer it, but I think that’s what makes the character of Red mysterious because just when we think we understand him, we don’t. I personally like the chameleon aspect. International Opulence: Tell us about the spinoff, The Blacklist Redemption. Bokenkamp: We had an opportunity to do another show to expand the landscape of The Blacklist and it felt like the Tom Keene character was equally as mysterious. Redemption is more of a spy thriller, a little more fun, more heist and caper; has more things in common with ‘Mission Impossible’ than it does a crime drama like The Blacklist. You’re going to love it!

International Opulence: Is there a real ‘Black List’ in the real world? Bokenkamp: Well, the government has a kill list, that exists. A lot of things we use in The Blacklist are grounded in truth. I’m not a huge conspiracy theorist, but I’m also not terribly naïve. The beginning part of season four was all about how the presidential candidate may have had a conversation with Russia. So is there a real Black List? I have no idea. But I think that there is certainly money and power that have an influence, and I think Reddington’s perspective on the world and his cynicism and his wild delight for life are sort of a nice juxtaposition.

One of the ongoing mysteries of The Blacklist is whether criminal informant Raymond Reddington (James Spader) is secretly the biological father of FBI agent Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).

International Opulence: Given the bruhaha in the news media about whether the Russians hacked the election, are you planning to write more Russian plots in future episodes? Bokenkamp: There are larger conversations that happen behind the scenes. Maybe I like to let my mind go wild. International Opulence: Do you do any actual collaborating with the FBI? Bokenkamp: Yes, we work with Brad Garett who’s a former FBI agent. There are certain times where he’ll tell us what’s more realistic.

The Blacklist Redemption scene Spring 2017




“ By Robin Jay

Tiny House Nation” was the first television series of its kind in the tiny living genre, and continues to rank as FYI network’s #1 rated program in the home space. The series follows host John Weisbarth and renovation expert and tiny home innovative designer Zack Giffin as they travel across America showing off ingenious small spaces and the people who live in them.

In the new 2017 spring season of “Tiny House Nation,” John and Zack come up with a serious game plan to build NFL Hall-of-Famer Deion Sanders, and television host Tracey Edmonds, a tiny retreat where they can kick-back and relax without interruption. And many more. International Opulence sat down with John and Zak for an inside peek into the production of “Tiny House Nation.”


Opulence Spring 2017

Professional basketball player Matt Bonner is used to traveling all around the country for most of the year. The problem is, that his family can never really settle into a place because they never know where they’ll be off to next. Matt has asked Zack and John to make him the constant house he and his family can enjoy no matter what city they’re in. Zack’s biggest challenge will be trying to figure out how a 6’10” professional basketball player is going to move around comfortably in the space without hitting his head, and of course how he’ll figure in a couple of basketball inspired features for this champion pro baller!

International Opulence: Zack, what’s your secret to dreaming up the ingenious solutions to meet unique lifestyle needs in a tiny home?

that I can visualize working and move forward. My only option is to engage my full effort and trust that it comes out well.

Zack Giffin: I believe that constraint breeds creativity. The variety of solutions is only limited by the variety of problems that need to be solved. In a tiny house, there is no shortage of obstacles and when I’m redesigning a space to maximize utility, all I need to do is look for gaps in the design. That’s why it is so important that I learn as much as I can about the homeowners.

International Opulence: John, how did the idea for “Tiny House Nation” came to fruition?

My inspiration comes from necessity and I’ve learned that no matter what I do, there is always a better way to do something. It never helps me to try to do things perfectly. What I do is find a solution

John Weisbarth: “Tiny House Nation” was a joint collaboration between FYI and the production company, Loud TV. Zack and I were not part of the creation concept. In fact, the first time I even met Zack was one week before we started filming at a meeting in New York. Zack was a professional skier who built his own tiny home so he didn’t have to sleep in the snow. For me, my build background comes from my father. He owned his own handyman business and Spring 2017



Dusty and Ashley have been traveling the world the past couple of years and are looking to finally lay down some roots and go tiny. They’re hoping Zack and John can help build them a tiny house that is not only functional but connects Dusty’s love for aviation and Ashley’s love for bright colors. Zack and John will just have to figure out a way to make sure all their cargo finds a place on board!

I worked for him from the 8th grade until I graduated from college. After that I became a sportscaster in my hometown of San Diego. I hosted the pre and postgame show for the San Diego Padres for 10 years - that’s where my TV background comes from. I’ve been working with Zack since April 2014, nearly 70 episodes worth of special projects, and he surprises me almost every single time. His ability to problem solve in a creative way under serious time pressure is astounding. The reason we often refer to a 7-day timeline on the show is because that is how long our team is there. We show up to a house that has been under construction already. At this point, our team spends most of its time working on the special projects and multifunctional furniture that Zack designs, and we leave most of the rough construction up to whichever local contractor has been hired. International Opulence: What do you think triggered the “tiny house” trend? John: Tiny houses are not new. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average size of a new single-family American residence in 1950 was less than 1,000 sq. ft. and they were just called homes. That said, most people agree that what we call the “Tiny House Movement” started in the Pacific Northwest in 1990s. It did not however start to gain traction until the midlate 2000s, and I think the housing crisis of 2007 and 2008 certainly played a role in that. 144

Opulence Spring 2017

I think it has continued to gain in popularity because there is a growing number of people who value experiences over things, and going tiny is a great way to pursue that kind of life. You don’t have room for more stuff in your house, but you’ve got extra cash in your pocket, so why not spend it on an experience? I also think that the disparity between the rising cost of housing and personal income is a big factor. Our wages are not increasing nearly as fast as housing costs are and that puts a great deal of people in a tough position. Without the option of simply going out and getting a job that pays you $100k more a year, the next best option is to cut costs. For most people, their biggest expense is housing. Downsizing your house, and the cost associated with it, frees you up to start living the life you really want to. Tiny houses can be a very powerful tool when used for a specific goal, whether that is saving money, spending more time with your family or allowing you to pursue your dream of graduating from clown college. International Opulence: What’s the difference between the Tiny Home Movement and RV trailer parks? John: People ask me this all the time, and the simple answer is that a tiny house on a trailer feels like a home. A travel trailer feels like a trailer. The latter works great for a long weekend and frequent travel. The former works great to live in full time. One is transient, the other feels more permanent.

Generally speaking, most people build their tiny home on wheels because that allows them to bypass most building and code parameters associated with new construction. The real issue, however, is where you can park your tiny house.

5…it’s just the challenges that are different. For episode 301 specifically, that meant taking advantage of as much vertical space as possible by limiting the loft construction to one small zone above the bathroom.

By far the biggest hurdle is where you can legally build and/or park them. Every county across the nation has its own zoning regulations and most all of them require some sort of minimum square footage to be considered a habitable dwelling. The good news is that as the tiny house movement has grown, more communities have started to change their zoning laws to include tiny houses. Just this past December the International Code Council voted to adopt tiny-house-specific building codes that will become part of the 2018 International Residential Code, which is a big step in making tiny houses legal.

International Opulence: What do you love most about working on the show?

Jay Shafer said it best when he said, “I believe people should be able to live as simply as they choose.” International Opulence: In episode 301, we see you and Zack plan a tiny home for a professional NBA basketball player. What challenges did you face? John: A good tiny home should be everything you need and nothing that you don’t…that means customization. A big part of what we do on the show is figure out exactly what each homeowner needs for them to thrive in a space that is oftentimes 1/10th the size of their current home. So the process of building for someone that is 6’10” isn’t all that different than building for a family of

John: You know how everyone hates clichés, but the reason we say them is because they are true? Well, the best part of doing “Tiny House Nation” is the people. Both the people I work with and the people I get to meet all across the country. I spend between 170 and 230 days a year on the road filming the show…that’s a lot of time away from my wife and my son. The only thing that makes that doable is the quality of people that I get to work with…they really have become an extension of my family. In addition, almost by rule, the homeowners that are making the bold choice to go tiny are almost always cool. These are people who are not afraid to make a tough decision if it means gaining greater control of their lives and how they live them. Those types of people are pretty fun to hang out with. International Opulence: What’s the process to selecting projects for the show? John: If you want Zack and me to help build your tiny house, the only way to do that is to be on the TV show. You can apply online to be on Tiny House Nation - The production company will reach out to talk with you if you are a good fit.

Spring 2017




By Roberto C. Blanch

Condo Associations Responding to Soaring Popularity of Drones


he growing popularity of

Privacy concerns were addressed by a new

drones is leading to the adop-

Florida law stipulating that drones with cam-

tion of new rules and re-

eras may not be used to record images of



privately owned properties or of the own-

government, state governments and com-

ers, tenants or occupants of properties in

munity associations. Questions regarding

violation of their reasonable expectations

to 7 million in 2020, according to a report

safety, property damage and privacy abound

of privacy without their written consent.

from the FAA. With the continued growth



with drones, and associations are responding by establishing clear parameters for their use by unit owners.

The implementation of new drone rules and restrictions by associations should begin with a discussion that is open to all of

Roberto C. Blanch

in their popularity, now is the time for associations to work together with their members in order to develop and implement the rules and restrictions that make the

Last year, the Federal Aviation Administra-

the unit owners at a board meeting. Associ-

tion enacted new regulations requiring that

ations should consider the establishment of

drones be flown only below 400 feet and al-

designated take-off/landing sites, restrict-

Roberto C. Blanch is a partner with the South

ways within sight of the operator, and ban-

ing the use of drones to daylight hours, de-

Florida law firm Siegfried, Rivera, Hyman,

ning them from use near other aircraft and

veloping penalties for violations, and clarify-

Lerner, De La Torre, Mars & Sobel who has

airports as well as over groups of people,

ing that the association is not liable for any

focused on community association law since

stadiums, sporting events, or emergency

property damage caused by these aircraft.

2001. The law firm focuses on community as-

response efforts.

Sales of drones to consumers in the U.S. are expected to grow from 2.5 million in 2016

most sense for their specific community.

sociation law, represents more than 800 community associations in Florida, and maintains offices in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties., www., 305-442-3334.



Spring 2017

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condo living


The Secret to Success in Performance-Based Upscale Property Management By Andrew Rand, Director of Association Accounting, CSI Management Services, LLC

Tone from the Top” is a term that originated in the field of accounting to describe an organization’s general ethical climate as established by its board of directors, audit committee and senior management. It’s about executives leading by example and accounting practices that take ownership and accountability. CSI Management Services, which specializes in servicing the unique niche market of luxury condominium property management, our officers, directors and management collaborate weekly with roundtable planning meetings. As a result, our “Tone from the Top” work ethic has led to performance that directly impacts ongoing success in exceeding client’s expectations – especially when it comes to audit-ready accounting. “It all starts by remembering that condominium associations are businesses,” said Joshua Tomey, CSI Management Service’s Vice President. “Our accounting processes begin and end with the idea that we have been selected to employ intelligent and universally accepted commercial practices. To that end, we employ finance professionals who look at our client sites through the lens of business – not just condominiums.” We take pride in our self-imposed 5-star expectations of delivering the best financial management services in the Common Interest Realty Association Industry (CIRA).


OPULENCE Spring Opulence Spring2017 2017

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS SECOND-TO-NONE “Financial statement packages are tools. True instruments of the trade,” says Tomey. “We take pride in producing statements and supporting documentation that are comprehensive, digestible and, most importantly, useful to our clients. Far too many of our competitors whip together cookiecutter, automated printouts and don’t take into account the idea that a human being is ultimately using them to analyze and improve upon a business model.” CSI Management Services’ financials are like mini-audits each month where all balance sheet accounts are reconciled and reviewed by the association senior accountant, accounting manager, then reviewed by the controller before being sent to the operations director and association manager to review. Only then, after all of those qualitative and quantitative reviews, will the monthly financial report get delivered to the board of directors. An important accounting item that differentiates our financials and helps us deliver an exceptional product is that we run our financials on a daily basis on fund-balance accounting. The year-end CPA doesn’t have to spend time converting to fund balance format as they do with most management companies or independent association

financial statement packages. This is because CSI’s financial statements are already separated by fund, which includes cash, receivables and payables. Fund accounting for CIRAs can be compared to governmental accounting, which separates the balance sheet by the different funds by major category, such as operating, reserves and special assessments. Keeping these different funds separated is required and often the year-end CPA has to reconcile them.

CPA-PREFERRED Tomey and his operations team take particular pleasure in the ease with which client financials are received and evaluated by professional accountants. “It is a huge point of pride when a CPA picks up the phone or emails me to compliment our team on our statements,” he said. “Not only does it speak volumes about the quality of our work, but in the end it saves our client money and headaches when our work doesn’t need to be turned inside out to make sense of it. “At the end of the day, you have to trust the people who are handling and reporting your finances. I sleep well at night knowing our team is, hands down, the best in the business.” SOUTHEAST FLORIDA CHAPTER

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Life at the Top


Opulence Spring 2017

A Glimpse Into Some of South Florida’s

Most E xclusive Penthouses

by JIll Patterson

“Cool” Does Not Begin to Cover It It’s no surprise that the Penthouse at the Porsche Design Tower is no less extraordinary than the building itself. A whopping 16,915 square feet, the four-story residence, includes two private pools, massive terraces, fireplace, room for six bedrooms, and a place to park 11 cars in the residence. Endless floor to ceiling windows, 20 feet high in places, reveal stunning panoramic views extending far out into the Atlantic. The asking price is $32,000,000. The newly completed Porsche Design Tower with 132 units is a labor of love by its car collecting developer Gil Dezer. At the center of the building is the signature car elevator encircled in glass, offering owners and guests a look at the mechanics that transport vehicles and their owners up to their homes. Everything in the building feels engineered. The digital elevators travel at roughly 13 feet per second whisking one up 50 floors in a matter of seconds. Amenities include two race car simulators, golf simulator, a state-of-the-art cinema, an elegant game room of muted grays complete with a 247 Porsche-designed billiards table and private spa. “Fuel,” the on-site restaurant, is open to residents only, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner and housing each unit’s personal wine locker.

Above: The view south from the Penthouse at the Porsche Design Tower. Left: Living room. Right: 11 car sky garage.

While the building might seemed to have been designed only for the wealthy ‘boys with toys’ set, the finished product transcends that buyer stereotype and one has to appreciate the feat of engineering, clean lines, and design minimalism incorporated in its execution, the same attributes that define the unmistakable Porsche brand. For owners seeking an extra level of privacy in a condominium lifestyle, this is surely the right address.

Spring 2017



Bjarke Ingels comes to Coconut Grove Two remarkable penthouses are offered for sale at the newly completed Grove at Grand Bay, the iconic two towers that have launched a renaissance in Coconut Grove. Designed by international maverick architect, Bjarke Ingels, the 97 unit project feels more like a contemporary museum than a residential condominium and has brought a level of architectural sophistication never experienced before in South Florida. The entrance features a spiraling porte cochere, dramatically connecting the two towers and doubling as Right and a garden container from Below: North above. The twisting glass Penthouse 02 buildings are compleGrove at Grand mented by curving keyBay living room and rooftop stone landscaping on the pool. grounds holding native vegetation, placing the building firmly in its Grove setting. Around the pool are Calderesque shapes for bathers to recline. Inside, the lobbies and common areas are broken into interesting angles with slanting concrete pillars, glass, and natural woods. There is a feeling of upliftment just being surrounded by such invention and care. The entire staff, down to the valet, share the excitement. In the north tower, Penthouse 02 with 6,850 square feet, private rooftop pool and garden is available fully furnished and curated for $12,500,000. Designed by Artefacto, soaring 12 foot ceilings and marble floors make it the perfect setting for the unique art pieces the owner has purchased from Art Basel for the residence. They include original works by Zaha Hadid, Solomon Briggs and Jorge Maillet, among others. Above the dining room table set for twelve is a stunning Baccarat crystal chandelier rarely seen. The landscaped rooftop pool and wraparound terraces 12 feet deep that run the length of the unit afford ample space for outdoor entertaining, Signature amenities at Grove at Grand Bay feature a private dining room with private chef, as well as butler service.

Regalia: Insignia of Royalty Winner of the “Best Apartment in the Americas” and “Best International Apartment” at the USA Property awards, the 16,805 square foot Penthouse at Regalia was completed by five time Architectural Digest “AD100” interior designer Charles Allem. The three floor, six bedroom masterpiece crowns the Regalia, an ultra luxury oceanfront condominium building where each of its 39 Left: Exterior residences occupies its own floor and affords 360 Bjarke Ingels’ degree views. Grove at Grand Bay. 154

Opulence Spring 2017

Above: Regalia Penthouse Great Room designed by Charles Allem. Regalia sits at the northern border of Sunny Isles and overlooks the tony village of Golden Beach and its single family beachfront mansions. Designed by architect Bernardo Fort-Brescia, the building also won “Best High-Rise Development in the US” awarded by the International Property Awards. The Penthouse residence has too many custom features to mention, crafted by materials from around the world. On the first floor (43rd floor of the building), the Great Room features 20 foot ceilings and a floating staircase, as well as Below: One Thousand a stone dining table for 12. Other extraordinary Museum elements include its own glass elevator, movie Penthouse by theatre, private spa, and rooftop terrace pool Zaha Hadid. with summer kitchen. The residence is available Right: Echo fully furnished and finished with an asking price Brickell Carlos Ott Penthouse. of $40,000,000.

A Home on Brickell For those desiring an urban abode close to the hustle and bustle, the Carlos Ott Penthouse at Echo Brickell will be the ultimate address. Designed by Carlos Ott and developed by Property Markets Group, Echo Brickell is located at Brickell and 14th Street, just south of the Four Seasons and is just months from completion. The stunning penthouse residence will occupy the top two floors of the building offering a total of 11,577 square feet of living and terrace space. Asking price: $42,000,000.

One Thousand Museum The much anticipated One Thousand Museum by Pritzker prize winning Zaha Hadid located in Downtown Miami just steps from the American Airlines Arena, offers a 16,000sf duplex penthouse with interiors and finishes designed by the late architect herself. Occupying floors 58 and 59 just under the building’s aquatic center, sky lounge and helipad, the project is estimated to complete in 2018. Asking price is $49,000,000. This article was written by Jill Patterson, Broker for Opulence International Realty. For more information, visit or call (305) 615-1376. Spring 2017




Real Estate

Market Rundown

No doubt, the luxury market in South Florida cooled off last year, but perhaps it was just adjusting from its explosive growth from 2014. Total luxury sales dropped 22% on Miami Beach and 13% on mainland Miami in Q4. by Jill Patterson

Of the top 10 residential sales in South Florida, in 2016 all of which were single-family homes, 7 (including the top 3 spots) were in Palm Beach County. The remaining 3 were in Miami-Dade, cutting out Broward altogether. The winner was 1695 North Ocean Way in Palm Beach that sold for $43.7 million. The spec mansion was originally listed at $55 million in January and sold in March to hedge funder, Kenneth G. Tropin, for a significant reduction. Many luxury listings are now selling with significant price reductions off their original listing price. With a large inventory, including new construction, sellers are being forced to be realistic in their pricing and a buyer’s market is emerging, especially in the condo sector. For instance, on Miami Beach the number of days a luxury condo spent on the market has moved from 62 to 171 in the last year. Many factors have contributed to the leveling off of the market. Foreign currencies continued to decline next to the dollar, there was the Zika scare, lots of media about sea level rise and finally, the election. But, overall, prices have actually increased. In fact, prices for the midmarket sector saw record growth rocketing 27% over last year. Don’t forget that a thousand people a day move to Florida. In Miami-Dade, the median price for a single-family home rose to $305,000 up 9.5% and condos rose 1.3% to $210,000. Prices for single family homes have risen for 61 consecutive months.


Opulence Spring 2017

Who’s Buying?

New Construction in Question

Apparently, more foreigners from a more wide diversity of countries purchased more residential real estate in 2016 than ever before. More than half of the international sales in the state of Florida happened in the tri-county, Palm Beach, Broward, MiamiDade area totaling $6.2 billion in residential sales for 2016. 80% purchased in MiamiDade. Top countries in order of investment in South Florida were Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Mexico, France and Peru. In Palm Beach and Martin counties, Canada topped the list and according to a report by the Miami Association of Realtors, Canadians were the top international consumers using their property search portal In fact, South Florida was the most searched U.S. market for international consumers, while Los Angeles ranked second and New York placed fourth. According to realtor. com, the city of Miami has ranked number one in ten of the last eleven months.

South Florida has no shortage of luxury condo preconstruction inventory and Miami has been at the epicenter of some of the most high profile residential development in the country, if not the world. As a result of changing economies in foreign markets, as well as the strengthened dollar, sales slowed considerably in 2016. In the meantime, many condominium developers have turned to working on safer rental projects. It remains to be seen if wealthy foreign investors will walk away from their hefty 50% deposits required in this new wave of construction. According to, South Florida has over 109 projects / 13,159 units currently under construction, but those numbers represent a wide array of product. Many projects are scheduled to close in the next two years dropping lots of inventory on the market. Already, in certain buildings the MLS has recorded investors selling off their newly closed units at loss on the resale market. There may be some great opportunities in certain areas of the market for savvy buyers as the inventory swells.

2016 South Florida All


Luxury (3m+)

# of Closed Sales

5% ▼

3% ▼




Median Price Condos

Luxury (TOP 10%)

# of Closed Sales

Single Family Homes

Single Family Homes


Ft. Lauderdale

11% 6%

12% ▼ 6%


Palm Beach # of Closed Sales

Single Family Homes




9% —

Single Family Homes

3% ▼



Median Price

Median Price

Single Family Homes


Single Family Homes




Luxury (TOP 10%)

7% 8%

8% 12%


50% ▼

In Other Markets Around the Country New York


Washington, DC

San Francisco

• 18% decline in luxury sales (over $4M) • Luxury prices increased 10% • Overall closed sales decreased 13% • Average new development price rose to $4,709,602

• 3% rise in luxury sales (over $1M) • Luxury prices down 1% • 23% rise in inventory • Luxury properties are taking 22% longer on the market to sell

• Total sales volume up 5% • Condo sales up 34% in the District • Condo prices up 1.8% • 1,202 new construction units marketing or under construction

• Home sales rose 5.5% • Median prices for homes up 4.2% • Slow down after double digit price gains for the last 4 years • Highest price home in San Mateo County sold for $34.9M

Source: Miami Association of Realtors, South Florida Real Deal, Miami Herald, Douglas Elliman / Miller Samuel Report, Cranespotters

Spring 2017



Opulence International Realty E x c l usive Listings


Contemporary Pinecrest Estate 5801 Moss Ranch Rd., Pinecrest, FL 33156 9 Bedrooms / 10 Baths / 3 Half Baths / 15,704 Sq.Ft

This extraordinary custom home completed in 2014 offers endless entertaining with a pool, 2 summer kitchens, and much more. Agents: Tomi Rose (786) 229-1949 • Elizabeth Delgado (305) 790-2806 • Listed at $8,590,000

Boca Raton

Tuscan Estate Masterpiece 373 Mizner Lake Estates, Boca Raton, FL 33432 5 Bedrooms / 6 Baths / 2 Half Baths / 9,505 Sq.Ft

This exclusive residence on the grounds of the Boca Resort offers countless custom features. Entertain like royalty. Agent: David Hammond (908) 208-7120 • Listed at $4,950,000


Modern Tropical Oasis 5745 SW 94th Street., Pinecrest, FL 33156 9 Bedrooms / 10 Baths / 2 Half Baths / 17,714 Sq.Ft

Two lush acres are the setting for this contemporary masterpiece built in 2015 with 3 master suites and easy indoor/outdoor living. Agent: Marianna Dubinsky (305) 432-7555 • Listed at $7,599,000

Key Biscayne

Income Producing Duplex 290 Fernwood Road, Key Biscayne, FL 33149 6 Bedrooms / 4 Baths / 2 Half Baths / 4,094 Sq.Ft

Enjoy great cash flow from this fully rented duplex in the heart of Key Biscayne. Each 3 / 2.5 unit features its own private pool. Agent: Pamela Diaz De Leon (305) 720-8439 • Listed at $3,097,000


Opulence Spring 2017

oirfl .com


A Two-Story Combined Residence 1100 Biscayne Blvd., # 4905-6, Miami, FL 33132 5 Bedrooms / 5 Baths / 5,475 Sq.Ft / 4 Deeded Parking Spaces

Soaring 20 foot ceilings reveal stunning Miami water views from this custom residence in the sky at the elegant Marquis. Agent: Tomi Rose (786) 229-1949 • Listed at $2,990,000

Coral Gables

Coral Gables Mediterranean Gem 1209 Asturia Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134 5 Bedrooms / 4 Baths / 1 Half Bath / 4,266 Sq.Ft

Perfectly located just blocks from Granada Golf Course, this custom built, sophisticated 2006 home features 18 foot ceilings. Agent: Elizabeth Delgado (305) 790-2806 • Listed at $2,350,000

Bal Harbour

Oceanfront Elegance 9601 Collins Avenue., #703, Bal Harbour, FL 33154 2 Bedrooms / 2 Baths / 1 Half Bath / 2,160 Sq.Ft

Between the beach and Bal Harbour Shops, find this generously sized residence in the newly renovated Majestic Tower. Agent: Melissa Hormann (305) 498-8060 • Listed at $2,800,001

Bal Harbour

Ritz Bal Harbour Residence 10295 Collins Avenue, #710/711, Bal Harbour, FL 33154 2 Bedrooms / 2 Baths / 1 Half Bath / 1,147 Sq.Ft

Own at the Ritz. This perfectly situated oceanfront fully furnished condo-hotel unit may be enjoyed or leased out at your pleasure. AgentS: Pamela Diaz De Leon (305) 720-8439 • Monica Gonzalez (786) 693-3568 • Listed at $1,928,000

Spring 2017



Opulence WINTER Launch Party Friday, December 16th, VIP guests were invited to our winter launch party held at the site of the highly anticipated Estates at Acqualina. Guests enjoyed canapÊs matched with wine selections provided by Big Chef, opulent signature cocktails with spirits sponsored by Allaire, a preview of Oscar de la Renta’s 2017 Resort Collection and the latest issue of International Opulence magazine.


Opulence Spring 2017

Elevate your experience. Play your favorite Las Vegas style slots, enjoy the thrill of live Blackjack, indulge at the world-class NYY Steak and live it up at Legends Lounge.

LIVE THE GOOD LIFE. Must be at least 21 years old to play Slots and Table Games or to receive Player’s Club benefits. Must be 18 or older to play Live Poker. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, please call 1.888.ADMIT.IT. Spring 2017




Profile for Adriana Naylor

Opulence Spring 2017  

Capturing the luxury living lifestyle. Haute cuisine, exotic travel, finest jewerlry and timepieces, design and the arts, yachts, jets and s...

Opulence Spring 2017  

Capturing the luxury living lifestyle. Haute cuisine, exotic travel, finest jewerlry and timepieces, design and the arts, yachts, jets and s...