Meet the man behind the culinary delights at the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball.
Cuisine at Miami’s Make-A-Wish Ball PHOTO COURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL MIAMI
For more than a quarter century, the annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball has been one of the most lavish fundraisers in South Florida, serving as the kickoff to the social season.
Every November, more than 900 philanthropists, tastemakers, (IRL) influencers and fashion glitterati come together for a magical night of food, drink and dance benefiting one of the most vital charities.
The man behind the magic that guests discover in each glass and bite is InterContinental Miami executive chef and 14-year veteran of the ball Jhonnatan Contreras. The son of an interior designer mother and architect father, Contreras is driven by design, art, flavor and composition. Pushing the boundaries, he strives for a “wow factor” and “a sense of theater” for an eye-popping, palate-pleasing new journey every year.
The Make-A-Wish Ball has raised nearly $32 million, granting the wishes of more than 6,400 children with critical illnesses in South Florida. The 27th annual Make-A-Wish Ball will take place on Nov. 5 at the InterContinental Miami. We chat with Contreras to see what he has up his sleeve for this year’s grand affair. InterContinental Miami, 100 Chopin Plaza, Miami, makeawishball.com
What inspiration did you draw from for this year’s theme? Since this year’s theme is Supernature, we’re creating individual reception stations to magnify the theme. For example, we created a Miro station that will include molecular spherification and carpaccios. The inspiration for this station comes from Joan Miro’s ‘Distressed’ that is on display at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
Chef Jhonnatan Contreras PHOTO COURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL MIAMI
What is the most challenging part of prepping for an event of this caliber? The most challenging part of creating the menu and executing it for Make-A-Wish is ensuring the quality of the food for over 1,000 people. Since I am always incorporating new techniques, it is important that the food reflects the hard work that goes into it.
Dessert from chef Contreras. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTERCONTINENTAL MIAMI
What is the most rewarding part of the process? Seeing the faces of the families light up with joy after they take their first bite. Also, it’s incredibly satisfying to be part of a great team that can fundraise so much money for those in need—that is definitely one of the most rewarding aspects of this event.