became foundational to his education.
“I got lucky in Miami,” he says. “I worked at a famous
restaurant in Coconut Grove called Kaleidoscope, and then
became head chef at Food Among the Flowers, a very trendy
bistro in the Designer District. Miami was open to something
new so there was less butter and heavy creams and more
broth-based sauces. I started doing Modern Florida cuisine
— things like lobster stew and more innovative fish dishes.
Then, later on I spent more time doing Caribbean influences
in my cooking.”
Catering the Super Bowl in Miami in 1979 and the Winter
Olympics at Lake Placid earned him much-deserved recognition
and, in the latter part of 1980, he opened his first
“It was in Coral Gables, and I called it The Painted Bird
after the book by Polish/American novelist Jerzy Kosinski,”
he explains. “After opening, I had $247 left in my bank
account. Luckily, the purveyors gave me 15-day credit, and I
had the support of so many people in the restaurant business,
that it got me through the first few weeks. I wouldn’t have
been successful if I hadn’t had that following. Within a year, I
got great offers to sell and because I was thinking of starting
a family, we moved up to Cocoa village where I opened the
His transition from the Space Coast to the Treasure Coast
came about when a good friend came calling.
“By then I had opened the Black Swan in Indian Harbor
Beach and Bobby McCarthy from Bobby’s in Vero came in
and said, ‘Vero’s just dying for a restaurant like this.’ So, I
went to Vero and bought the Black Pearl on State Road A1A.”
A year later, in 1987, Florida Trend magazine named the
Black Pearl the Best New Restaurant in Florida.
I ask him if being a restaurateur was as easy as he made it
seem, and he laughs, recounting an evening when the restaurant
was fully booked.
“We’d been open about three months, and it got to 7:30
and the 6 o’clock people are all still sitting there. I’m giving
away glasses of wine to the people waiting and now it’s dark
and I can’t get rid of these people. So I walk into the kitchen
and tell the cooks I’m going to turn off the power. I tell them
cry from his reputation for running a tight ship.
“In business, I was strict,” he admits, “But I was always fair.”
Born in northern England in the industrial town of Rochdale,
he shares his culinary journey.
“I got a place in a good catering college in Manchester and
there was a little French restaurant in town that had an excellent
Italian chef who’d worked in Paris. I got my part-time
experience with him, and I really enjoyed the physicality,”
Spending the next five years gaining valuable kitchen
experience while attending college, he confesses, “Working
with great chefs just sort of grounded me.”
NEW CUISINE IN MIAMI
At 21, he expanded his horizons, spending three years
working in Bermuda before moving stateside in 1973. Summers
in country clubs around Chicago and winters in Miami
One of Greenwood’s favorite spots to relax is in his hammock overlooking
Lake Chapala. Here he creates his menus, writes his recipes...and takes a nap.
His tortilla soup is chock full of veggies, Mexican spices and herbs and the
robust soup is a meal in a bowl, packed with flavor.