Grill like a pro: Chef Michelle Bernstein’s top vacation rental recipes

Cook the award-winning chef’s favorite easy meals for summer family reunions.

Published July 2021

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Summer vacation homes are made for carefree days, reconnecting with friends and family, and the simple pleasure of enjoying home-cooked meals around a table together. After a long year apart, it’s only natural to be daydreaming about the perfect vacation rental—and meal—to celebrate being together again.

Whether you’re planning a family reunion or a group vacation do-over, this summer is all about getting the gang back together—in fact, according to our 2021 summer travel trend survey, family reunions are the #1 group event prompting people to travel this season.

With that in mind, Vacasa teamed up with James Beard Award-winning Miami restaurateur Chef Michelle Bernstein—who’s also a TV host, cookbook author, and mom—to bring you three delectable recipes for the perfect summer get-together, all easy to share among a group of any size.

chef michelle places buns on a grill

Chef Michy, as she’s affectionately known, enjoys cooking for her extended family every summer at their Minnesota vacation home. And she’s no stranger to the outdoor grill, drawing on her Argentinian roots and childhood memories of helping her mother master the family’s asado-style grilled recipes.

“Spending time together with family is everything,” Chef Bernstein told us while grilling fish from the stunning rooftop of Quint Collection 8, a Vacasa vacation rental in Hollywood, Florida. “We are so busy with work, school, and life that to take time to be together, eat together—have moments that stay in our memories—is absolutely invaluable.”

four sandwiches prepared by Chef Michelle sit on a plate near the grill

For her family reunion-inspired recipes, including a flaky flavor-packed grilled fish sandwich and a refreshing batch-style drink (that makes a killer mocktail, too), Chef Michy focused on stress-free dishes and libations that highlight seasonal ingredients and can easily be made with the kitchen essentials found at any Vacasa home.

fruit sits on a tray and vegetables sit on a cutting board

“My favorite part of vacation cooking is that you can really change things up, get away from your normal bubble, and bring in ingredients that you may have never tried before. And of course, you can’t forget to start stirring up cocktails, because afterward it will be time to relax!”

Be sure to pack your apron and channel your inner chef to make this delicious feast, sure to wow all the guests on your next vacation. Pro tip: divvy up each recipe or prep tasks for everyone to get involved. And remind them—if you don’t cook, you clean.

Chef Bernstein’s summer reunion recipes

Equipment needed

General
  • Knife set
  • Cutting board
  • Dish towels
  • Oven mitts
  • Parchment paper
  • Assorted bowls/dishes for raw ingredients
  • Assorting serving platters/bowls to plate finished dishes
For the salad
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Small mixing bowl
  • 2 baking sheets
  • Whisk
  • Oven-safe non-stick pan
  • Spatula
  • Platter/large plate for serving salad
For the fish sandwich
  • Grill
  • Grill-safe spatula
  • Pastry brush
  • 2 small mixing bowls
  • Spoons/rubber spatula
  • Plate/tray to hold cooked fish
  • Platter for serving sandwiches
For the mojito
  • Large pitcher
  • Muddler
  • Tall spoon for stirring
  • Glasses for serving drinks

All photos courtesy of JORDAN BRAUN PHOTOGRAPHY