Harvest in the Square Restaurant Chair – Meet Florian’s Chef Brando de Oliveira

Meet Chef de Oliveira at Harvest in the Square on Sep. 22

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Florian’s Chef Brando de Oliveira shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket

Florian has been serving up classic Italian dishes interpreted by Bologna-born Chef Brando de Oliveira since its opening in the Square in 2014. Besides delicious and unique dishes, the Fireman Hospitality Group has created a welcoming atmosphere for business meetings, birthdays, happy hours and more, becoming Union Square’s new Italian go-to along the way.

Now you’ve had Chef de Oliveira’s lasagna ossobuco (and if you haven’t…what are you waiting for?). Meet the man behind the meals that keep you coming back for more:

We hear you’re a big fan of Union Square. Why?
Being located in Union Square gives me great access to a wide range of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. I love starting my day strolling through the Union Square Greenmarket to find inspiration for daily specials. I go to the Greenmarket and find beautiful produce on a weekly basis, and talk to the farmer’s I’ve begun building relationships with.

Picking up vine-ripened reminds me of summer back home in Bologna. I grew up watching my grandmother cook and we lived next to a tomato farm, so everything was not only from scratch, but super fresh. That’s why I love tomatoes and food! As a kid, the experience of eating spaghetti pomodoro made from the tomatoes you picked in your neighbor’s farm makes an impression on you.

What’s your signature dish?
The warm burrata and heirloom tomatoes. It speaks to my roots as an Italian-letting the best quality ingredients speak for themselves. It’s a simple dish made with a lot of attention and care. We make our burrata in-house and pick only the sweetest heirloom tomatoes.

What’s your favorite part about working in a restaurant?
The moment you see your customers smile after taking their first bite, or when you get a compliment on a dish you’ve spent a lot of time and hard work developing…it makes the long days worth it.

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We know what you love to cook. Now, what do you love to eat?
My favorite meal – I love sitting down for a beautiful dinner, ideally with a flavorful fish…something like branzino roasted with market vegetables.

What do you like most about participating in Harvest in the Square?
Harvest in the Square is a chance to interact with our community of chefs and farmers, and to come together to raise money to keep Union Square beautiful.

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What was your favorite memory from the 20th Annual Harvest in the Square?
Last year we introduced our 8-hour short rib meatballs with bone marrow, and people literally lined up to try it. It was so great to see people’s reaction in person.

Us included! What are you looking forward to on Sep. 22?
I look forward to reconnecting with our customers and community in the park. Harvest allows us to come out of the kitchen and interact with the community.

We need to support Union Square Park because it’s an outlet for our community not only to gather, but to buy local produce from the Union Square Greenmarket. We need the Greenmarket to teach our kids where produce comes from, how it smells fresh out of the earth, and what it means to eat local.

Support our park, meet Chef Brando de Oliveira and try Florian’s 8-hour short-rib meatballs at the 21st Annual Harvest in the Square on Sep. 22. Buy your tickets at harvestinthesquare.nyc #USQHarvest

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