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02/02/2012 02:37 pm ET | Updated Aug 31, 2012

Chefs We Love: Michelle Bernstein

Chefs We Love is a Valentine's Day tribute to those who have done great work in the culinary world -- to those who inspire us to not only eat well, but to try new things in our own kitchens. With this holiday around the corner, we at Kitchen Daily felt that it was appropriate to share our love and respect for those who have most inspired and influenced our passion for cooking.See more chefs we love.

I've always been a fan of eggs. They were the first dish I made on my own at the age of 10 -- scrambled, with a slice of Muenster cheese and probably a bit burnt (and I ate them every Saturday morning, nonetheless); I find them to be a perfectly satisfying breakfast, lunch or dinner; I even wrote a short ode to the wonders of the egg not that long ago, marveling at the many possibilites this small oval food can offer.

I've eaten eggs every way you can imagine: fried, scrambled, poached, baked, hard-boiled, soft-boiled and made up as an omelet. But never had I tasted an egg dish as flat-out amazing as the one I had a little over a year ago at Michelle Bernstein's restaurant, Senor Martinez.

It was my first time at Bernstein's second Miami-based restaurant -- her first being Michy's Miami -- and I wasn't sure what to expect. The table ordered a handful of tapas-style dishes to share and when the first bite of Bernstein's egg yolk carpaccio was had, conversations simmered and collective "mmms" were murmured. Needless to say, we ordered the dish again. And again.

The egg yolk carpaccio is a simple dish really; it's just a raw egg yolk, served on a warm plate (which cooks the yolk a bit) topped with rock shrimp and crispy potato. But in its simplicity, it's absolutely mouth-watering. And from that moment on, Bernstein has held a special place in my heart. When a chef can take something so basic, an ingredient that has been tirelessly experimented with, and turn out an exciting dish, my stomach unites with my heart and I fall in love.

Egg dish aside, Bernstein is a well-respected and accomplished chef and she has won a James Beard Award for Best Chef: South, in 2007 for her work at Michy's. She also makes many other notable dishes, including her ceviches and fried artichokes.

Who is your favorite chef? Leave a comment below!

Watch Michelle Bernstein demonstrate some of her best recipes (unfortunately the egg yolk carpaccio isn't included).

Michelle Bernstein

CONVERSATIONS