University of Miami Libraries > UM Libraries Digital Collections > Special Collections > Florida Culinary History Collection

In front of the Jackson Memorial Hospital

Florida Culinary History Collection

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The following oral histories are part of the University of Miami Special Collection’s Florida Culinary History Collection, an ongoing effort to document the very rich and diverse history of how food is cultivated, marketed, and consumed in Florida. This growing collection includes historic and contemporary menus, local and regional cookbooks, photographs, scrapbooks, and oral histories. We seek to represent not only Florida’s many cultures and diasporas—from traditions Southern cooking to Caribbean, Latin American, Native American, Jewish, and Central American cuisines, but also the intricate links that make up our food chain. This includes telling the stories of farmers, laborers, chefs, grocers, public relations and marketing firms, restaurants, cookbook authors, and more. The oral histories in the collection represent a deeper dive into the multi-faceted culinary world, and in future will also include interviews with fishermen, farm laborers, and policy makers.

If you have suggestions, please feel free to contact us at 305/284-9552 or We are especially interested in unique or ephemeral items such as menus, scrapbooks, business records of restaurants, hotels, catering services, food-related businesses, etc. Due to space concerns, we can accept only local, Caribbean, Central and South American cookbooks and menus that are not already in our collections. Thank you for helping us continue to document our fascinating culinary heritage.

Lee Schrager
Interview with Lee Schrager, founder and director of the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for the Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Norman Van Aken
Interview with Norman Van Aken, James Beard award winning chef and author of 6 cookbooks known as the “founding father of New World Cuisine.”
Phillip Bryant
Interview with Phillip Bryant, a Miami chef and a partner in the consulting firm Heirloom Hospitality Group who has been with restaurants such as Yardbird Southern Table & Bar and The Local Craft Food & Drink.