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Miami's top chef, Michelle Bernstein, balances work and a new baby

MichelleBernsteinZachary-thumb(photo by Taimy Alvarez/Staff photographer Sun-Sentinel)

Michelle Bernstein, owner of three of Miami's most-popular restaurants admits she is trepidly navigating motherhood, learning both about work life balance and humility.

Michelle and her husband David Martinez welcomed the arrival of Zachary Gray Martinez last September. Her little bundle of loved suffered from colic and acid reflux.

"Cooking always came naturally to me," Bernstein told Sun-sentinel staff writer John Tanasychuk. "I can always jump in the kitchen and make everything OK. I thought I could just cook for him and he would be appreciative."

Michelle poured over cook books looking for baby food recipes. But little Zachary didn't seem to appreciate anything his celebrity chef mom was cooking up. Her biggest challenge became finding meals Zachary would eat. "My mother would come over and laugh at me. What would people say if they knew your baby doesn't like your cooking?"

Like many new moms, Michelle finally resorted to following her instincts. She told herself: "I'm going to use my Jewish power of my chicken soup and my Latin power of flavor and starchy vegetables." It worked. "The acid reflux stopped in a couple of weeks. No more colicky baby."

Now, just like her ever ever-evolving restaurant menus, she's tells the Sun-Sentinel she's cooking up new foods for her growing baby boy -- frozen popsicles to help ease the pain of teething. And she's introducing him to every vegetable she can find. "My goal is to make him fall in love with everything."

Click here to read Michelle's recipes for baby food.

Click here to read her baby-feeding tips.