Interview with Chef Bruno Fonseca of Millenia106 Restaurant

Interview with Chef Bruno Fonseca of Millenia106 Restaurant

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Millenia106, recently opened (no surprises here) in the Millenia area (Suite 106) and helmed by local Chef Bruno Fonseca. You may remember Chef Fonseca once owned and operated the 5 Gastronomy food truck in the beginning of the gourmet food truck days here in Orlando. He taught at Le Cordon Bleu and also worked in several local restaurant kitchens in town.

We got to chat with Chef Bruno via e-mail to dig a little deeper into his story and the new venture at Millenia106.

Chef Bruno Fonseca of Millenia106.

Tell us about yourself and background.

I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  I was raised in a household with strong Portuguese influences, where we sat nightly for dinner together, with a variety of foods through the weeks. Fish, potatoes, olive oil were seen at the table as often as black beans and rice.

My mom is a great cook, and she made sure that we always had variety not only in flavors but also culturally. She would always explain where the food originated, etc…  I got to the US (Orlando) in 1993, where I have travelled through the US extensively.

Lived in Tallahassee while attending school, spent a ton of time in Portland, OR., and I have enjoyed driving cross country often.

However I always would circled back to Orlando…

What inspired you to start cooking?

Multiple things… where I grew up, I lived right across the street from the ocean.  We were always eating incredibly fresh seafood and I loved it!!

Also my family was never wealthy, but my mother truly enjoyed taking us out to eat at nice places once a month or so.

In the beginning, it was a drag for me since I was so young, but as I grew older and got exposed to other things, I began to enjoy it.

After moving to the US, I worked in various restaurants in the front of the house.  One day working a server shift at the Governor’s Club, I was asked to help in the kitchen.

It was a fine dining club, headed by Master Chef Jack Shoop… and I was hooked.  I dropped out of college, moved to Orlando, and went into culinary school.

 Tell us about the Millenia 106 concept and the menu.

106’s concept is very straight forward: we source ingredients locally, we change our menus daily, and we serve New American fare.

From oysters, to pork, to whole fish, pan seared chickens, to local beers, craft cocktails, boutique wines.  We identify ourselves as an ever changing restaurant that takes pride in serving great food at an affordable price.

I am proud to say that I put our food up against any restaurant in Orlando.

My previous experiences as a cook and as person (culturally) are seen on the menu daily as are the personalities of others that work with me are in there as well.

What are your first childhood food memories?

So many… my “ a-ha” moment was going to a traditional French restaurant as a kid in Rio, and breaking the sugar dome in a dessert.

Also, seeing my mom frying “bolinho de bacalhau” (salted cod fish cakes) and eating it before lunch with a load of olive oil…eating “feijoada” (traditional black bean stew) after the beach on Saturdays, was a big deal too.

I consider myself very lucky on that department.

What are some of your favorite dishes at your new restaurant?

The Portuguese Surf and Turf is incredible with pork belly confit, fish collar, grilled royal red shrimp, and sofrito Ipa broth, and murro potatoes., as is the chicken that we get from Orlando Farms, but I am really enjoying this new tuna dish we have now.

Its Fl Tuna, farro “verde”, chanterelle mushrooms, tomato-citrus salad, coriander jus.

What do you like to cook for “comfort food” at home with your family?

My daughters love a simple pasta with tomato sauce, and whole roasted chicken.  Nothing better.

Where are some of your favorite local places in Orlando to dine in (outside of Millenia 106).

Once a week I am at Border Grill (Mexican) and Pizza Bruno.  Great honest delicious food.

Millenia 106 Restaurant and Bar
4104 Millenia Blvd, Ste 106
Orlando, FL 32839
Phone number (407) 930-6206
www.millenia106.com

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