Events

Three things that I love:
1.  4 Rivers Smokehouse – I used to work for 4 Rivers Smokehouse Catering back in 2015.
2.  Winter Park – I went to elementary school, middle school and high school in Winter Park.
3.  Supporting charity events – who doesn’t?!

Combine all those three things that I love and what do you get? COWS ‘N CABS.

Central Florida’s annual Cows ‘n Cabs returned for its seventh year on Saturday, November 11 from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.  Hosted by 4 Rivers Smokehouse founder John Rivers and ABC Fine Wine & Spirits’ David Larue, the event benefited the After-School All-Stars and Elevate Orlando.  This 21+ up charity event returned to 150 North New York Avenue in Winter Park’s Central Park West Meadow and featured more than 30 of Central Florida’s top restaurants including 4 Rivers Smokehouse, The Ravenous Pig, Hunger Street Tacos, Holler & Dash, and Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen.

This is a must attend event for all food enthusiasts.  Cows ‘n Cabs does it right year after year and they are always getting better!

Cow ‘N Cab – Beef Over Creamy Polenta & Cabernet Reduction

The COOP “Fiesty chicken” – Fried Chicken Topped With Lettuce, Pickle, & Fiesty Sauce On A Slider

4 Rivers Smokehouse Sweet Shop – Chocolate Wine Cupcake, Red Velvet Hot Chocolate with House-Made Cream Cheese Marshmallows

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits – Dominick, Wine and Spirit Specialist

Soco Restaurant in Thornton Park – Confit of Pork Rilette with Pickled Apples, Mustard, and Pumpernickle Crostini

Tamale Co. – Cochinita Pibil Tamale and Carne Asada Tamale

The Sanctum – Buffalo Chickun Slider and Bleu Cheez Wedge Salad

Luke’s Kitchen and Bar – Luke’s Crab Cake with Celery Lemon Tartar

STK (Disney Springs) – Dry aged Sirloin of Beef with Smoked Poblano Pepper-Pumpkin Seed Puree and Pickled Butternut Squash

Foxtail Coffee – Cold Brew

Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen – Pork Tenderloin “Pastrami” Banh Mi Sandwich, Truffle Aioli and Pickled Vegetable

Drew Estate

Dove Tale

Tapa Toro – Sliced Corned Beef, Braised Red Cabbage, German Potatoes

Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park – Mini French Macarons, Chocolate Covered Bacon, Chocolate Covered Popcorn

Holler & Dash – The Four O Seven

Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar – House Ceviche and Shrimp with a Grit Cake

Grey Goose

Fantasy Fare Food Truck (Disney Springs) – Achiote-Orange Rubbed Salmon Taco

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Disney Springs) – Smoked Duck Carnitas Bao

The Daily Poutine (Disney Springs) – French Fries, Beef Poutine Gravy, Mushrooms and Cheese Curds

D-Luxe Burger (Disney Springs) – Curried Lamb Burger

F&D Kitchen / F&D Cantina – Guanjillo Chili and Black Bean Quinoa Chili

1921 by Norman Van Aken – Five Spice Crispy Chicken Wings, Fish Sauce Caramel & Thai Herb Salad

Norman’s – Guava-Pasilla Barbecued Pulled Pork Tostada with Black Bean Puree

Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs) – US Wagyu Beef Nigiri, smoked soy, fresh wasabi

Hunger Street Tacos – Fried Avocado Taco, Panko breaded and fried avocado, shredded cabbage, red onion, serrano-lime crema, cilantro, queso cotija

Urbain 40 – Umami-laced Angus Brisket & Short Rib Burger Slider, Caramelized Sweet Onion Compote & Pimento Cheese

The Ravenous Pig – Green Eggs and Ham

The Polite Pig (Disney Springs) – BBQ Cheddar Sausage on Mini-Bun

K Restaurant – Cider Braised Pork Jowl, spiced apple sauce, brussels sprouts salad

Pizza Bruno owner – Bruno Zacchini III

Taverna Opa Orlando – Mini Souvlaki

Hawkers Asian Street Fare – Pork Belly Dumplings and Singapore “Chili” Crab

Sus-Hi Eatstation – Sushi bowl

Amorette’s Pastisserie/ The Ganachery (Disney Springs) – Assortment of Sweet Delights

P is for Pie – Christmas Story Hand Pie with Roast Duck, Caramelized Onions, Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Cranberry Goat Cheese
Salted Honey Bourbon Hand Pie and Caramel Maple Pumpkin Pie

Pop Parlour

For more information, please visit www.cowsncabs.com.
(Source credit: Cows ‘n Cabs)

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Launched nearly 30 years ago in Paris, Le Dîner en Blanc promotes friendship, elegance, gallantry and a sense of community.  Now held in over 70 cities in more than 30 countries around the world, this annual secret affair brings an unforgettable evening of beauty and magic for the all dressed in white foodies and cultural enthusiasts.
Photos taken on Friday, November 10, 2017.
(Source credit: Le Dîner en Blanc)

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It was my 29th birthday so I had to take a picture with Mayor Buddy Dyer to kick off my birthday!

Sonny’s BBQ, one of the nation’s largest and most popular barbecue chains has announced a new location for its highly anticipated “Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown” which has been hosted at the Central Florida Zoo for the past two years.  On Saturday, March 3, 2018, Sonny’s BBQ will host its third annual event at Tinker and McCracken Fields, part of Camping World Stadium.  The all-day event will feature live music with top country artists, food vendors, a kid zone area, and cooking demonstrations for all BBQ enthusiasts.

“We’re looking forward to hosting ‘Sonny’s Smokin’ Barbecue’ in Orlando for the first time and welcoming some of the best pitmasters from around the world to share their tips and techniques,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.  “Barbecue is a big deal in the South so the competition should be fierce and fun.”

This great event also hosts one of the nation’s biggest bbq competitions.  This invitation-only competition brings together the nation’s top pitmasters in one arena for an epic barbecue battle.  Teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event.  The grand champion team will receive $20,000. The total prize pool totals $68,000.

Bryan Mrockzka (Award-winning Head Pitmaster), Montana Coleman (Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown co-organizer), Bob Yarmuth (CEO), Mayor Buddy Dyer, Barbara (Sonny’s BBQ director)

The Sonny’s BBQ catering team were amazing and friendly!

Chicken, pulled pork, baked beans, mac and cheese.  It was such a classic bbq meal that tasted DELICIOUS!!

News 13 interviewing Mayor Buddy Dyer

Rib demonstration

Gifts for everyone that was in attendance.

Be sure to check out the annual Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown at their new location Camping World Stadium (1 Citrus Bowl Pl, Orlando, FL 32805) on Saturday, March 3, 2018!

Tickets are available here for pre-sale for $12 through November 12, and $15 through March 2.
Kid’s 12 and under are free.
VIP tickets can also be purchased for $40.
 
(Source credit: Sonny’s BBQ)

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Join 10+ award winning, well known, and most popular Central Florida restaurants and chefs for an epic, battle-style burger competition unlike anything you’ve seen before at the brand new Ace Cafe in Downtown Orlando. Cast your vote for the Best Burger in Orlando alongside a distinguished panel of celebrity judges as you sample burger creations from all across the area! Experience a sensation for your taste buds as Central Florida’s top chefs present their take on Orlando’s Best Burger.

Attendees enjoy free beer, wine, spirits, and all the burgers they can eat! With live music, performers, fun zones, and of course, some of the rarest and most sought-after motorcycles in the world on display, this battle cannot be missed! Are You Ready To Crown A Champ?

Sep 23, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

at Ace Cafe Orlando, Orlando, FL

Tickets are on sale now  / $55 General Admission / $75 V.I.P.

General Admission Tickets include:
• All you can eat burgers from each participating restaurant
• Beer, wine, and cocktail bars
• Milkshake bar
• Concert
• Games

VIP Tickets include:
• All general admission items plus …
• Early admission to the event
• Exclusive VIP Lounge with Ace Cafe catering
• Private butler service
• V.I.P. gift bag
• Meet-N-Greet with celebrity judges

For more information, please contact catherine.walters@morris.com or call 407-318-7264!

http://www.orlandomagazine.com/Burger-Battle/

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By Hoang Nguyen

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando has unveiled a new weekly themed dinner show, Caribbean Carnaval, featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet and high-energy, live entertainment for the entire family.

Accompanied by stilt walkers and acrobatic dancers, the evening’s lively hosts whisk the audience away on a flavorful, musical tour through the Caribbean with plenty of dancing, singing, limbo and even a conga line.

 

Guests enjoy authentic Caribbean dishes and drinks, including Planter’s Punch, mojo roasted suckling pig, ropa vieja, jerk chicken, grilled snapper, Caribbean rum cake and guava flan.

A colorful cast of characters provides exciting live entertainment as they take guests on a musical voyage from Florida through the Bahamas with stops in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.

We were recently invited to attend the new Caribbean experience at the Loews Sapphire Falls resort.

 First and foremost, the hotel was gorgeous with wooden beams and gave the guest a very beach resort sensation.  The staff was very friendly.  We were greeted in the lobby and lead down to the Cayman Court pavilion where the show would take place.  We were greeted by cast members representing different areas of the Caribbean along the way. 

 

Once we reached the outside dining area, the cast welcomed us with beads and provided island music for us to enjoy during dinner.  A buffet consisting of different dishes from all the different nations were available to us including Jerk Chicken, Coconut rice with mahi mahi and ropa vieja.  

However, the crown jewel of the night was undoubtedly the whole roasted pig.  It was extremely moist.  The meat was flavorful, fatty and fall of the bone tender.  It’s not everyday that patrons get to see a whole pig, head included, served in front of them. The pork paired very well with the planter’s punch and coconut rice.  The sweetness of the punch, saltiness of the pork combined with the creamy flavor of the rice really worked well together.   

Even with the plentiful spread available on the buffet table, we definitely made room for dessert.  The rum cake was definitely heavy on the rum.  It was a little dry for my taste and could have benefited with some extra glaze.  Our favorite was definitely the guava flan.  The texture was creamy, smooth and was not overly sweet with a hint of guava flavor.  

 

As the night went on, we were whisked away on a musical voyage from Florida through the Bahamas with stops in Cuba, Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad.  The show was very engaging and entertaining.  The energy level started off high and dramatically increased as the night went on as the audience loosened up a bit.  The acrobatics were awesome.      

The dances were well coordinated and enhanced with colorful and lively costumes.   The music was upbeat but also made us feel like we were relaxing in the tropical islands.  All of a sudden a conga line started and we were surrounded by dancing audience and performers.  

To sum it up, if you were in the mood for a great show and wanting to sample a variety of dishes from the different Caribbean nations, then this event should be marked on your calendar.  The show was fun and engaging.  The food was plentiful and provided a plethora of food for every palate.

 Caribbean Carnaval takes place every Wednesday night in the resort’s outdoor pavilion, Cayman Court.

Seating begins at 6 pm and the show starts at 7 pm.   

Tickets are $69 for adults and $35 for children ages 3-9. Children under 3 are complimentary. Price includes gratuity, non-alcoholic beverages, wine, beer and Planter’s Punch. Tax and ticketing fees apply.

For reservations, call 407-503-DINE (3463) or visit caribbeancarnaval.eventbrite.com.

 

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The Dinner Party Project and Orlando Artist LeAnn Siefferman present
“Making Conversations,” a unique series of dining and dialogue events.

ORLANDO – (June 9, 2017) Orlando ceramics artist LeAnn Siefferman, in partnership with The Dinner Party Project, will present Making Conversations, a new series of dining events where people will share a meal and share ideas on topics not often discussed around the dinner table.

Making Conversations, which will hold its first event on Thursday, June 29, is a unique opportunity for guests to talk about critical community issues while eating off handmade dinnerware with topical illustrations.

This six-month series will address six topics, with each dinner representing a different conversation:

-Mental Health
-Homelessness
-A Changing Climate
-Race and Privilege
-Aging and Staying Engaged
-and Gender & Identity.

Professional facilitators from the Peace and Justice Institute at Valencia College and select community leaders will moderate each Making Conversations dinner.

Siefferman, a longtime artist who works out of the City of Orlando Pottery Studio in Parramore, will create unique dinnerware for each dining event, featuring illustrations and designs meant to challenge people’s thinking and get guests talking about difficult topics.

Having started the Making Conversations project in January, Siefferman’s partnership with The Dinner Party Project creates a public space for her work to inspire story sharing, active listening and community building over fine food and drink.

“Social media has led many of us to surround ourselves with like-minded individuals,” Siefferman said. “Our aim in presenting Making Conversations is to create an environment for people to have a meaningful exchange of ideas.”

“It is our hope that these small, intimate events can contribute to the larger conversations going on in the Central Florida community,” said Dana Marie Roquemore, Founder of The Dinner Party Project, a weekly invitation-only dinner party that brings together strangers for a night of fine foods, incredible drinks and great conversation.

Making Conversations will be held at 6:30p at 1010 West Church Street in downtown Orlando. The monthly event will be held on the evenings of June 29, July 27, August 31, September 28, October 26 and November 16.

Tickets are $75 per person and includes Tito’s cocktails, a 4-course meal paired with wine, and Credo coffee. A portion of the proceeds collected from ticket sales will be donated to a local charity.

For more information, please contact LeAnn Siefferman at LeAnn.Siefferman@Gmail.com or 256-665-5726

What: Making Conversations, presented by The Dinner Party Project and LeAnn Siefferman
When: 6:30 p.m. on June 29, July 27, August 31, September 28, October 26 and November 16
Where: 1010 West at 1010 West Church Street in downtown Orlando
Tickets: $75 per person, includes a Cocktail, 4-Courses, Wine and Credo coffee
Information: www.thedinnerpartyproject.co

Photos courtesy of LeAnna Siefferman and The Dinner Party Project

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Last year, after the Pulse Tragedy, restaurants throughout Florida came together to fundraise to support the families and survivors of the tragedy through Dine Out For Orlando (https://www.frla.org/dine-out-orlando/).

This year, to honor the memory of the 49 innocent victims who lost their lives at Pulse and to support the survivors, the City of Orlando and Orange County, in collaboration with Pulse, have designated Monday, June 12, 2017, as Orlando United Day – A Day of Love and Kindness.

On this day, a number of community events and activities will take place, including Acts of Love and Kindness – a homegrown movement led by the One Orlando Alliance and influenced by victims’ families.

Local restaurants are also commemorating June 12th with fundraising with specials.

Here are a few (to be updated as we hear more):

Brooklyn Water Bagel

In support of Orlando United Day on Monday, June 12, Brooklyn Water Bagel’s Winter Park and Lake Mary store locations will serve special limited-time only rainbow bagels – with 100% of the proceeds from rainbow bagel sales to benefit the Better Together Fund at Central Florida Foundation. The bagels will be available in-store Saturday, June 10 through Monday, June 12.

Brooklyn Water Bagel hopes to sell thousands of bagels over the course of the weekend, and you can help do your part! Customers who wish to support the effort may purchase the rainbow bagels individually or even take home a baker’s dozen to share the Brooklyn love.

Brooklyn Water Bagel Lake Mary: 3801 Lake Mary Blvd Unit 139, Lake Mary, FL 32746.
(407) 878-7863

Brooklyn Water Bagel Winter Park: 4026 N Goldenrod Rd, Winter Park, FL 32792.
(407) 681-4011

Umi Restaurant

On Monday, June 12 for #OrlandoUnitedDay, 10% from the day’s sales will be donated to Equality Florida, to support all they do for our community.

Umi Japanese Restaurant
525 S Park Ave, Winter Park, Florida 32789
www.umiwinterpark.com.


Sweet By Holly

On June 12, please join Sweet as they #ActLoveGive together as a united community! On #OrlandoUnitedDay, 50% of all Classic sized Rainbow cupcake sales will be donated to Equality Florida. They anticipate on selling out, so call ahead to book yours! Waterford Lakes – 407.277.7746 or Jacksonville – 904.564.2711. #HonorThemWithAction

Waterford Lakes Town Center
711 North Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32828

St. John’s Town Center
4624 Town Crossing Dr., Suite 137
Jacksonville, FL 32246

Sus Hi Eatstation

As a dedication to “Orlando United Day” and in loving memory of the Pulse victims, they will be donating $5 for every t-shirt sold to the onePULSE Foundation. Pre-order at www.makemeninja.com!

– 4498 N Alafaya Trail #324 Orlando, FL 32826 (UCF/East Orlando area)
– 380 S State Rd 434 #1004 Altamonte Springs, FL 32714 (Altamonte Springs area)

The Osprey Tavern

Proceeds from cookie sales to benefit the Central Florida Foundation
4899 New Broad St, Orlando, FL 32814

Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park

Proceeds from marshmallows to benefit Zebra Coalition
300 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
—–

There are a number of ways for you to show the power of love, acceptance and inclusiveness by participating in one of the events and activities on June 12, 2017.

On that day, Orlando After-School All-Stars is also partnering with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Central Florida Chapter to host “Round Up For Kids” to help fund the Summer of Dreams program. This free 10-week program provides homeless youth with meals, academic enrichment and mentoring.

“Engaging in Acts of Love and Kindness on June 12 is a respectful, meaningful and deeply loving way to remember and honor the lives of those who were lost too soon,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “One year later, I still believe the Pulse tragedy will not define us, but will bring us together.”

Some of Orlando’s best restaurants are making it easy for you to contribute on June 12, 2017. When you dine at any of the restaurants listed here, http://orlandoasas.org/round-up-for-kids/ round up your check to the nearest dollar amount and let your server know you want to Round Up For Kids. The change you donate will help change lives.

“Florida’s hospitality industry is proud to lend its unequivocal support to assist homeless youth in Central Florida. FRLA encourages patrons to dine at participating restaurants and to round up their tabs for children in need,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO of FRLA.

Last summer, Summer of Dreams served 1,137 homeless students from 36 different sites in Orange, Seminole and Osceola Counties. Each of those students received academic enrichment, tutoring, mentoring, financial literacy training, a back pack filled with school supplies and two meals a day thanks to support from Summer of Dreams Founding Sponsor, Fifth Third Bank. Those students also worked with staff to provide nearly 8,000 hours of community service.

Barb Scherer, Sr. Vice President/Communications from Fifth Third Bank added, “We are pleased to be sponsoring our seventh year of Summer of Dreams. This program is so critical to provide support for homeless children during the summer gap when there is little access to meals. To partner with the City of Orlando, After School All-Stars, FRLA and area restaurants to honor the Pulse tragedy on Orlando United Day by helping these kids is the ultimate act of love, kindness and generosity. Fifth Third Bank is proud to be a part of the Orlando community.”

http://orlandoasas.org/round-up-for-kids/

Event Site: https://www.frla.org/event/orlando-united-day/

For more information about how you can engage in Orlando United Day—A Day of Love and Kindness, go to orlandounitedday.com and actlovegive.com.

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Brandon McGlamery Prato Luma Winter Park

Winter Park’s Ultimate Foodie Festival

The 32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park takes place on Wednesday, April 19, 2017!
Taste of Winter Park showcases more than 40 of Central Florida’s top chefs, bakers, caterers and confectioners for a fun evening at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. All-inclusive tickets feature unlimited samples of signature dishes, refreshing beverages and decadent desserts.
Top off the evening with live entertainment from saxophonist Johnny Mag Sax, raffle drawing and more!

Event Date

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
5 – 8 p.m.
Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 E. New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789

Event Details

Taste of Winter Park features popular eateries and new destinations sure to become your new favorite. Vendors must be members of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce in order to participate.

 

32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park Participants

ABC Fine Wine & Spirits
Another Broken Egg Café
Antonella’s Pizza
Bailey’s Coffee Service
Barnie’s Coffee & Tea
Ben & Jerry’s
Blaze Pizza
Boi Brazil Churrascaria
Brewstillery/ The Bear and Peacock Brewery
Bulla Gastrobar
Cocina214
Costco Wholesale
Create Your Nature
Florida Distributing
Gator’s Dockside Baldwin Park
Heathrow Country Club + Legacy Club
Hunger Street Tacos
Jeremiah’s Italian Ice
John and Shirley’s Catering
Kona Grill
Luke’s Kitchen and Bar
Luma on Park
Maestro Cucina Napoletana
Mellow Mushroom
New Moon Market
Olde Hearth Bread Company
Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
Prato
Publix Supermarkets Inc.
Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar
Rubio’s Coastal Grill
Scotchie’s “Delivering Celebrations”
Square 1
Sweet Tomatoes
Swine Family Restaurant Group
T.R. Fire Grill
The Gourmet Cuisine at Rollins College
Tijuana Flats Tex-Mex
Umi Japanese Restaurant
Wayne Densch
Whole Foods Market
Zona Fresca
4 Rivers Smokehouse

Raffle Prizes
This year our raffle prizes include 2 Dine Around Winter Park packages, featuring discounts and gift cards for our participating vendor restaurants. More information and additional prizes coming soon!

Tickets

The admission fee is $40 for Winter Park Chamber members and $50 for general admission.
Option to purchase a group of 10 tickets at a discounted rate for $350.
Tickets ordered in advance will be available at Will Call beginning at 5 p.m. on the day of the event. Prices are all-inclusive and tickets cannot be returned, refunded or exchanged. Event held rain or shine. Must be 21 and up to attend.
Buy tickets here:

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PRESS RELEASE: Ocean Prime chefs pair up to create culinary experience for The Dinner Party Project
Tickets now available for pop-up sushi dinner on April 9 benefiting The Human Experience Orlando

ORLANDO AND TAMPA, FL (March 20, 2017) – Ocean Prime’s Orlando and Tampa locations are teaming up with The Dinner Party Project to host a sushi pop-up dinner on Sunday, April 9 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at 1010 West in Orlando. Tickets are $100 per person and a percentage of proceeds will benefit The Human Experience (THE) Orlando.

During the dinner, Ocean Prime Orlando Executive Chef Jeremy Mattson and Ocean Prime Tampa Executive Chef Adam Polisei will walk guests through an Asian-inspired, seven-course meal featuring:

Gravlax and caviar with spring pea, cured lemon, fennel, shiso and crispy skin
Ocean Prime’s Ahi Tuna Tartare with wasabi avocado and ponzu
Hamachi Duo with beet infused rice, red onion pickle and watermelon radish
A selection of popular Ocean Prime sushi rolls including the lobster roll, spicy tuna and prime roll
Ramen featuring king crab, pork belly, mushroom and black truffle
Kobe beef with crispy rice gomae, mirin butter and unagi
For dessert, a coconut sorbet with toasted dashi flakes and shaved micronut

Beverages will include cocktails mixed with Tito’s Homemade Vodka, wine pairings, sake pairings and Credo Coffee. The evening promises to be entertaining as well as appetizing with Opera Orlando providing the soundtrack. Cocktail attire is requested. The dinner is limited to 80 guests who can purchase tickets online here.

ABOUT OCEAN PRIME: Ocean Prime is a modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. The award-winning Ocean Prime delivers an extraordinary experience with stunning settings, an impressive menu of seafood and prime cuts of steak, signature cocktails, a Wine Spectator-honored wine list and truly genuine hospitality.  From the kitchen and bar, there is an appreciation for ingredients that comes through in every dish. The menu is classic and yet there is a modern sensibility to the preparations which range from lighter fare to indulgent seafood presentations, juicy steaks and decadent desserts.  Each Ocean Prime location is dramatically designed and inspired by the unique energy of the city where it’s located.  With stunning spaces, luxe details and truly exceptional service, Ocean Prime is an ideal place to socialize, talk business, celebrate and indulge. For more information, please visit www.ocean-prime.com.

ABOUT THE DINNER PARTY PROJECT: With humble beginnings, The Dinner Party Project (TDPP) started simply as a gathering of friends, new and old, in Founder Dana Marie Roquemore’s home. Through word-of mouth and social media, The Dinner Party Project has quickly become a favorite way for Orlandoans to connect, in welcoming settings complete with local food and great conversation. While the TDPP brand has grown, each dinner maintains its original intimacy and character—with only eight guests who are randomly selected to attend. TDPP also engages the community at large dinners that gather the masses. They are a way to enjoy the incredible food & arts scene we have in Orlando, and a great way to meet new people. For more information or to take part in a future dinner party, visit TDPP here.

 

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“Women in the Kitchen: A Celebration at Lake Meadow” will celebrate and support the James Beard Foundation’s work in advancing women in the culinary industry. This seated four-course dinner takes place on the beautiful grounds of Lake Meadow Naturals farm and will feature food from James Beard Foundation Award-winning women chefs and restaurateurs from across the country.

The Women in Culinary Leadership is an accelerated, learning-by-doing mentorship program. Offered under the auspices of the James Beard Foundation, WCL gives women with a background in hospitality or the culinary arts and at least two years of relevant work experience a chance to work with top industry leaders and build in-depth skills in the kitchen or in restaurant management and hospitality. The James Beard Foundation is committed to correcting the gender imbalance in the restaurant/culinary industry by cultivating, training, and supporting women throughout their professional careers.

This event proudly supports the James Beard Foundation’s Women Entrepreneur Leadership Program, an annual fellowship for a class of women to attend an entrepreneurship and leadership training program developed with and hosted at Babson College. Curriculum will address basic business and finance concerns, provide gender-specific training and skill development, provide access to top mentors in the field, and provide ongoing support to participants.

Host Chef:
JBF Award Nominee Kathleen Blake (The Rusty Spoon, Orlando)

Participating Chefs:
Paula DaSilva (Artisan Beach House, Miami)
Katharine Elder (Elderslie Farm, Bramble Café, Valley Center)
Adrienne Grenier (3030 Ocean, Fort Lauderdale)
JBF Award Winner Melissa Kelly (Primo, Rockland)
JBF Award Winner and Board Chair Emily Luchetti (The Cavalier, Leo’s Oyster Bar, Marlowe, and The Park Tavern, San Francisco)
2012 Atlanta Rising Star Whitney Otawka (Cumberland Island), JBF Award Nominee
JBF Award Nominee Jennifer Puccio (Marlowe, Park Tavern, The Cavalier, San Francisco)
JBF Award Winner Anne Quatrano (Bacchanalia, Star Provisions, Floataway Cafe, Little Bacch, W.H. Stiles Fish Camp, SUMMERLAND, Atlanta)
Gloriann Rivera (1921 by Norman Van Aken, Mount Dora)
Music by Beth McKee.

DATE AND TIME
Sun, April 23, 2017
3:00 PM – 6:30 PM EDT

LOCATION
Lake Meadow Naturals
10000 Mark Adam Road
Ocoee, FL 34761

TICKETS – $150
www.womeninthekitchen.eventbrite.com

We spoke to Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon (who was recently nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef of the South) about the upcoming benefit dinner.

1. How did this team of amazing wonderful chefs come together for this dinner?

I invited them! I spent 36 hours in San Francisco cooking for the first fundraiser for this program. The program is the first of its kind geared to those of us that are seasoned in our careers. I wanted to keep the momentum going. Some are chefs I met along the way, some I have worked for or with and all INSPIRE me!

2. What are some challenges you have faced in the culinary world as a woman and how did you overcome them?

Being taken seriously, I still get, “Can I speak to a Manager or the Owner”, and raising a family. I just did it, as far as the family part! I chose my bosses carefully and worked in the type of restaurants where I knew I would learn the most. As far as being taken seriously, I just smile and say, “That’s ME!”!

3. What advice do you have to young women who wish to go into the culinary field?

Do the research! Don’t job hop, look for chefs that provide you with great ingredients, a structured atmosphere, and challenge you to taste and try!! Be fearless about starting at the bottom! It takes TALENT to multitask and an educated palette to get seasoning on point.

4. What are some dishes that might be featured at the dinner (I know it is a little early!)

Melissa Kelly, PRIMO, will be doing pasta. Anne Quatrano, Bacchanalia, StarProvisions, FloatAway, WH Stiles Fish Camp, Little Bacch, SUMMERLAND, will be doing a delish fish crudo. Paula DaSilva and Adrienne Greiner are teaming up for the Hor d’oeuvres and Emily Luchetti, on dessert. Of course there will be lots of eggs from Lake Meadow!

5. Chef Kathleen, you recently were nominated for the James Beard Award – how do you feel about this and what do you think makes your food stand out?

YAHOOOOOOOOOOO!!! It just affirms my philosophy of cooking within the seasons and buying as much local, thoughtfully grown and responsibly sourced ingredients as possible. They require minimal manipulation and that flavor stands out! Also, Central Florida deserves recognition for all the great dining options – so many talented chefs and so many ingredients right here!

6. What are your most popular dishes right now at The Rusty Spoon?

Always the stuffed deviled eggs, the crudité’s, the “55” and the fresh pastas. We have a Chef’s Whim that changes daily – Today, Lake Meadow Pork Hocks, tomorrow, Florida Softshell crabs arrive!

7. What do you cook for yourself when you are looking for “comfort food”, say after a long day at work?

EGGS! I’m also obsessed with an Indian comfort food, kitchari (a dish made with rice and lentils_ right now.

Lake Meadows Naturals Deviled Eggs

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PRESS RELEASE:

Eat, Sip, Meet James Beard Award-Winning Cookbook Authors/Chefs
Art Smith and Norman Van Aken at
10th Annual ‘Reading between the Wines’ Event April 12
Adult Literacy League Fundraiser at Orlando Science Center Serves Community

ORLANDO, Fla. (March 13, 2017) – James Beard Foundation award-winning cookbook authors and celebrity chefs Art Smith and Norman Van Aken headline the 10th annual “Reading between the Wines” Adult Literacy League of Central Florida fundraiser April 12, 2017 from 6-9 p.m. The event at Orlando Science Center is presented by Bank of America.

Two of the country’s most renowned culinary artists and celebrity cookbook authors, Smith and Van Aken will engage in a lively discussion moderated by local author Bob Morris. Central Florida News 13 feature reporter and anchor Allison Walker-Torres will emcee the evening.


Smith and Van Aken will share their take on Florida’s distinctive larder and harvests. Covering topics ranging from pecans and mangoes to beef to seafood, these masters of Florida fare will dish with the audience and sign books at the event celebrated for its generous food and wine offerings by some of Orlando’s top restaurants.

During the festive three-hour event, guests can mix and mingle while enjoying savory and sweet tapas-sized noshes by Swine & Sons, 4Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop, Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant of Disney Springs, Carmel Café, Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse at Hyatt Regency Orlando, The Palm and Olde Hearth Bread Co. Art Smith’s new Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen at Disney Springs and the new 1921 by Norman Van Aken in Mount Dora, also will feature signature bites. Darden Restaurants and its suppliers and PRP Wine International will provide wines to pair with the food. Guest also can bid on silent auction items that include everything from theme park tickets to resort spa and restaurant packages.

All event proceeds will support Adult Literacy League (ALL) programs and services designed to build a literate community. ALL provides one-to-one tutoring and classes to more than 1,000 adults on a weekly basis, plus books and learning materials to 600 preschoolers in low-income families each year.
Tickets for the event are on sale now. Individual tickets are $90; a $600 Connoisseur’s Table includes four event tickets, a reserved cocktail table, two gift bottles of wine and recognition as a sponsor in the event program.

When the sipping, noshing and bidding wind down, guests can grab a seat to hear from event headliners Smith and Van Aken.

Norman Van Aken is “the founding father of New World Cuisine,” a celebration of Latin, Caribbean, Asian, African and American flavors. He also is known internationally for introducing the concept of “fusion” to the culinary world. He is on the James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage,” and his Orlando restaurant “NORMAN’S” was nominated as a finalist for the James Beard Foundation’s “Best Restaurant in America.” He was even named a James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for “Best Chef in America.”

Van Aken has published five cookbooks and one memoir: Feast of Sunlight 1988, The Exotic Fruit Book 1995, Norman’s New World Cuisine 1997, New World Kitchen 2003 and My Key West Kitchen 2012 (with Justin Van Aken), No Experience Necessary, The Culinary Odyssey of Chef Norman Van Aken, 2013 and My Florida Kitchen (with Janet Van Aken) 2016. His radio show, “A Word on Food,” appears twice a week on NPR station WLRN 91.3 FM. He has appeared on television, including on CNN, Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations,” and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He is the Chef-Owner of “NORMAN’S at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, Orlando.” His new venture is a Cooking School, “In the Kitchen with Norman Van Aken,” in partnership with Candace Walsh, being built on Biscayne in Miami. 1921 by Norman Van Aken is located in Mount Dora, Fla.

Art Smith has received the culinary profession’s highest awards and has cooked for some of the world’s most famous celebrities. In 1997, Smith became the personal, day-to-day chef to Oprah Winfrey, a position he kept for 10 years. Now, he coordinates and cooks for events all around the world. Smith was honored by Chicago magazine as a Chicagoan of the Year in 2007 and is a two-time James Beard Foundation award winner. In 2008 Chef Art Smith received an Honorary MBA Degree, awarded by the Dedman School of Hospitality at Florida State University and was inducted into the Chicago Culinary Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2010. He has made numerous television appearances including on Iron Chef America, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Nightline, Fox News, Extra, Entertainment Tonight, BBQ Pitmasters, The Dr. Oz Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
He is also the author of award-winning cookbooks: Back to the Table, Kitchen Life: Real Food for Real Families, Back to the Family, and Art Smith’s Healthy Comfort, which focuses on healthy cooking and healthy living.

Chefs Art and Norman will sign books following their question-and-answer period.
Visit www.adultliteracyleague.org for more information. To purchase tickets to Reading between the Wines call 407/422-1540, ext. 111 or click on http://www.adultliteracyleague.org/buy-tickets/ .

The Adult Literacy League (ALL) was created by a group of dedicated volunteers in 1968 and, since then, has helped thousands of adults 18 and older gain employment and economic self-sufficiency through one-on-one tutoring and classes in reading, writing, math, computer skills and other key studies. ALL holds classes in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and its Family Literacy program teaches parents to become the first and most effective teacher in their children’s lives. When an adult cannot read, it is a detriment not only to the individual, but also to our community. ALL’s Reading between the Wines event was designed to raise awareness, funds and friends so we can continue to change people’s lives through literacy. For more information and to purchase tickets to the event, please call Gina Solomon at 407-422-1540 ext. 111.

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Photos by Negin Alimohammadi

Chef Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant in Deland recently hosted an outdoor family style meal for 300 featuring the cuisines of the 7 countries who are part of the Trump administration’s immigration ban – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen.

Here are a few scenes from the dinner captured by our good friend, Negin, who herself is an Iranian national who has lived here for the past 6 years as an engineer and who was personally effected by the immigration ban on her way back to Orlando from a family visit to Iran.

Chef Hari

Guests who attended could taste “deeply flavoured stews, herbaceous sauces, rustic breads, aromatic rice dishes, and complementing side dishes.”

“My goal is to present the meal with dishes from many countries during the same course to illustrate that there are few rules and most dishes complement each other and that the power of food as a great equalizer, at a communal table, is a lesson for the ages,” said Chef Hari Pulapaka in a recent interview.

The benefit dinner raised over $10,000 for International Rescue Committee (rescue.org), a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization. Founded in 1933 at the request of Albert Einstein, the IRC offers emergency aid and long-term assistance to refugees and those displaced by war, persecution or natural disaster.

Menu
Couscous with carrots, beets, broccoli and cauliflower (Syria)
Lamb maraq (Somalia)
Saffron rice pudding, rose water, dates (Iran)
Polow with saffron, raisins and cashews (Iran)
Roasted corvina with spices and olive oil (Iraq)
Wagyu beef and potato kubba (Iraq)



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Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola Set for February 25 and 26, 2017

ORLANDO, Fla. (January 20, 2017) – The Ninth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26, 2017 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe.

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Robinson Street, the two-day Fest features mouth-watering dishes from 30 ofOrlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment.  A portion of the proceeds benefit UCF Foundation, Inc. and Valencia Foundation.

Headline entertainers include Gavin DeGraw and KC and The Sunshine Band. Additional live music artists to be announced onwww.downtownfoodandwinefest.com.

Date / Time: Saturday, February 25 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 26, 2017 (noon to 7 p.m.)

Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street

 

Fest Admission: 

 One-Day General Admission

Admission is $20 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $25 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission

For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $35 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club

A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $20 per person at the Fest.  Club members will enjoy up to five 2 oz. pours of their choice throughout the Fest and a souvenir lanyard.

Ultimate Fest Experience

A limited number of Ultimate Fest Experience packages are available for $115 per person, per day and includes a VIP parking pass, general admission, Wine Tasters Club, $20 value in food and beverage tickets, access to the private stage-side VIP tent, private wine/beer bar with premium wines (food and beverage tickets required) and access to private bathrooms reserved for VIP guests.

Food & Beverage Tickets:

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.

“One of my favorite things about Downtown Orlando is the variety of restaurants and event options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The Downtown Food & Wine Fest combines both by adding to the array of event options residents and visitors can attend, as well as, helping to enhance the vibrancy of the area all the while increasing awareness of our local businesses and strengthening economic growth in the area.”

Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our partnerships with the Orlando Downtown Development Board (DDB), restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”

Top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings to complete in the Golden Fork Awards as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2016 Foodie Award:Baoery’s Asian Tacos

2016 Sweet Treat Award:Siro Urban Kitchen’s Black Cherry Liquid Nitro Gelato with Balsamic Drizzle

2016 Best of Show:Primo by Chef Melissa Kelly

 

Stay Connected

For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:

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Sonny’s BBQ to Host National BBQ Competition and Festival in Central Florida
Winter Park-based BBQ chain to host second annual Sonny’ s Smokin’ Showdown

The third largest BBQ chain in the country is back with its highly anticipated Smokin’ Showdown Invitational BBQ competition and festival, inviting visitors from across the country to for a full day of BBQ amongst the nation’s top Pitmasters.

On January 14, Sonny’s BBQ is hosting its second annual Smokin’ Showdown Invitational at the Central Florida Zoo (3755 US-17, SANFORD, FL 32771).

The Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown BBQ competition and large-scale festival is designed to make Florida a BBQ destination by bringing BBQ enthusiasts from across the country to Central Florida for a full day of live music, family fun and delicious BBQ. While attendees watch more than 50 professional BBQ competition teams and taste their award-winning recipes, Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown attendees may also participate in rib and donut eating contests and enjoy live music, featuring Frankie Ballard at the family friendly festival.

The invitation-only competition brings together the nation’s top Pitmasters in one arena for an epic BBQ battle.

Teams are judged on five different meat categories: chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and a mystery meat, which will be announced at the event.

The grand champion team will receive $20,000. The total prize pool totals $68,000.

“The Smokin’ Showdown celebrates what we’re all about; good BBQ and great company,” said Montana Coleman, Co-Organizer of Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown. “We look forward to seeing these talented Pitmasters showcase their skills in our home state of Florida.”

Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown will host local vendors, family-fun activities and musical performances by top country artists, including Hayfire, Rockit Fly and Jill’s Cashbox. The headliner will be Frankie Ballard. The event is $5, kids 10 and under are free.

For more information about Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown, please visit sonnysshowdown.com. For more information about Sonny’s BBQ, visit sonnysbbq.com.

Event Schedule
7:30 AM
Judges Check-In
8:30 AM
Judges Meeting (Mandatory)
12:00 PM
Kid’s Donut Eating Contest
12:30 PM
Cooking Demo
1:00 PM
Rib Eating Contest
1:30 PM
Cooking Demo
2:30 PM
Meet the Masters
3:00 PM
Live Music: Hayfire
5:00 PM
Live Music: Rockit Fly
6:00 PM
Awards Ceremony
7:15 PM
Live Music: Jill’s Cashbox
8:30 PM
Live Music: Frankie Ballard

“In 1968, we were just a local BBQ joint in Gainesville, Florida. Today, we’re still a local BBQ joint. We just happen to be in a few more locations. But we still do things the same way Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille, did back then. We still slow-smoke over oak for up to 12 hours at a time. We still serve generous portions. And we still believe people should be able to go out to eat and feel right at home.” – Sonny’s BBQ Team

About Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown
Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown Invitational is a national BBQ competition hosted by Sonny’s BBQ and sanctioned by the Florida Barbecue Association. Taking place at the Central Florida Zoo on January 14, this competition and large-scale festival is designed to bring BBQ enthusiasts from all over the country to the heart of Florida for a full day of live music, family fun and delicious BBQ.

First of its kind in the area, Sonny’s BBQ created the Smokin’ Showdown to share its passion and expertise with the BBQ community, as well as provide a platform for Pitmasters to showcase their talents alongside some of the best in the business. Last year, Sonny’s Smokin’ Showdown had about 10,000 attendees and close to 50 competing teams.

About Sonny’s BBQ®
With 113 locations throughout the southeast, Sonny’s BBQ® is one of the largest and most popular barbecue restaurant companies in the country. The Daily Meal has named Sonny’s BBQ the Best Barbecue Chain in America for the last two years. Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille founded Sonny’s BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. in hopes of creating a local BBQ joint for their community to enjoy. Forty-eight years later, Sonny’s BBQ continues to be just that – a passionate BBQ brand constantly perfecting the craft of BBQ. For more information and to find the Sonny’s BBQ location closest to you, please visit: www.sonnysbbq.com.

 

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Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram

Every year, Wat Florida Dhammaram, a Thai Theravada Buddhist monastery and temple in Kissimmee, Florida, hosts the Taste of Thailend festival. I’m embarrassed to admit this is the first time I’ve attended though it is the 15th year of celebration. Thai restaurants and local families from all over Florida come to this temple to sell food and fundraise for the temple. Entrance is $12 and it’s all you can eat. From pad thai noodles to pork and sticky rice, to chicken satay and Thai tea and more – you can pretty much try a wide range of tasty Thai food while you are here.

Two menacing Buddhist protector guardian dieties stand guard over the main meditation hall where a gold plated Buddha sits. Various statues and scenes from Buddhist literature can be found around the sprawling temple grounds, like a statue of Buddha’s mother Maya standing over a baby Buddha.

Performances and dances take place on the main stage while visitors line up to nosh at the many booths set up around the temple.

One of my favorite items that I tried was the Thai rice crepes with sweet coconut and this coconut rice dessert. Everything was quite tasty, though. Check out photos below:

Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram
Taste of Thailand 2016 at Wat Florida Dhammaram

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After a successful dinner at Hyatt Regency Orlando’s Urban Tide last week, in honor of Orlando Magical Dining Month, our Orlando Foodie Forum presented by Tasty Chomps! has partnered with Visit Orlando for a special dinner event at Chef Kathleen Blake’s Rusty Spoon on Thursday September 8th.

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Meet Orlando Foodie Forum friends at The Rusty Spoon for an exclusive dinner event celebrating Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. Your experience includes a complimentary cocktail reception at The Rusty Spoon bar featuring signature cocktail selections. Dinner will follow giving guests a first taste of The Rusty Spoon’s three-course Magical Dining Month menu with wine pairings and special presentations from Chef Kathleen Blake.

Gratuity included. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Limit two tickets per party.

MAGICAL DINING MENU

Choice of Appetizers

Lake Meadow Scotched Egg
Soft boiled egg, house italian sausage, pickled vegetables

Charred Squid & Octopus
Watermelon 2 ways, crispy chorizo,
house pickled peppers, arugula & spicy vinaigrette

Crudite
A taste of the season

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Choice of Entrèes

Lake Meadow Skirt Steak
Crispy potatoes, vegetables of the moment & salsa verde

Lake Meadow Chicken Thigh Alla Diavola
Slow roasted with our italian sausage, house hot pickled peppers, wilted greens & grit fries

Native Pirlau
Canaveral head-on shrimp, chicken andouille sausage, charred vegetables with rice & smoky shrimp broth

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Choice of Desserts

Floating Island
Seasonal sorbet & poached fruit

Rusty Donut Hole
Stuffed with something yummy, chocolate sauce

Chocolate Cake
Salted caramel gelato & seasonal fruit

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WHEN
Thursday, September 8, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)
WHERE
The Rusty Spoon – 55 West Church Street, Orlando, FL 32801

TICKETS LINK:
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/magical-dining-at-the-rusty-spoon-x-orlando-foodie-forum-tickets-27378049483

Photos Courtesy of The Rusty Spoon

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In honor of the upcoming Orlando Magical Dining Month, we are partnering with the folks at Visit Orlando and Hyatt Regency Orlando for a special dinner event at Urban Tide – Hyatt Regency Orlando, exclusively with the Orlando Foodie Forum presented by Tasty Chomps!.

Meet Orlando Foodie Forum friends at Urban Tide for an exclusive dinner event celebrating Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month. Your experience includes a complimentary cocktail reception in our new Orlando Museum of Art onsite gallery featuring local artists, a summer cocktail demonstration with our mixologist, and a first taste of Urban Tide’s three-course Magical Dining Month menu with special presentations from Chef Jared Gross. Gratuity included. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Limit two tickets per party.

WHEN
Thursday, August 25, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT)

Tickets available: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/magical-dining-at-urban-tide-x-orlando-foodie-forum-tickets-26909349589?aff=
Password: foodie

There are a limited number of tickets available. Hope to see you all there!

For more info on the month, visit http://www.orlandomagicaldining.com/

Urban Tide Magical Dining Menu
——
Choice of Appetizers
Plantain Crusted Diver Scallop
Beet root mash, pickled corn and chorizo salsa

Crispy Pork Belly
Apple mustard, Brussel sprout and hazelnut slaw

Little Gem Lettuces’
Roasted artichoke, heart of palm, piquillo peppers, charred ricotta salata,
lemon thyme vinaigrette

Choice of Entrèes
Florida Atlantic Swordfish
Olive oil and green onion crushed potatoes, Maine lobster bisque

Grilled Skirt Steak
Honey roasted butternut squash, cilantro pesto

Smoked Fettuccini Pasta
Edamame, Cipollini onions, arugula, oven dried tomato and crème
fraiche cream sauce (vegetarian)

Choice of Desserts
Grilled Bread Pudding
Blackberry “au jus”, vanilla ice cream

Intense chocolate mousse
Caramelized macadamia nuts, fudgy brownie bites

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PRESS RELEASE

Unprecedented 90 Restaurants Participating in Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Sponsored by American Express 
 Guests Can Enjoy Three-Course Meals for $33 and Support a Local Charity
ORLANDO, Fla. – This fall, food lovers can experience deals at 90 of the most popular restaurants in Orlando – including 19 new program participants – during Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, sponsored by American Express. From Aug. 29 through Oct. 2, guests can choose from these participating restaurants to enjoy three-course dinners for $33, averaging a savings of 33% per meal. The program, developed by Visit Orlando, Central Florida’s official tourism association, includes some of the hottest new arrivals to Orlando’s culinary scene, including chef-driven establishments in the new Disney Springs area as well as local favorites across town. One dollar from each meal will also be donated to a local charity, with last year’s program contributing more than $160,000 – the largest donation to date.

A full list of all participating restaurants, menus and OpenTable reservations are available at OrlandoMagicalDining.com. New restaurants to the program include:

·         STK, a brand new upscale steakhouse with a high-energy atmosphere at Disney Springs.

·         Morimoto Asia, by Chef Masaharu Morimoto of Iron Chef America fame, offering pan-Asian flavors from across the continent.

·         Urbain 40, glinting with 1940’s glamor and a continental menu crafted from largely local, seasonal ingredients.

·         Cask & Larder, a local favorite featuring brewed-onsite beer, home-cured meats and pickled vegetables. Cask & Larder is the second restaurant created by five-time James Beard-nominated chefs James Petrakis and Julie Petrakis.

In its 11th year, Magical Dining Month gives both locals and visitors alike a chance to experience Orlando dining at its finest all over town – from options near the theme parks to hidden gems in Orlando’s local neighborhoods. Examples include:

·         Convention Area – RA Sushi*, Itta Bena*, Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit*, Urban Tide (Hyatt Regency Orlando), The Capital Grille, Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, A Land Remembered (Rosen Shingle Creek),

·         Disney/Lake Buena Vista – Black Fire Brazilian Steakhouse, deep blu seafood grille (Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort), NINE18 (The Villas at Grand Cypress), Todd English’s Bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin)

·         Downtown – Shari Sushi Lounge*, Artisan’s Table, The Boheme, Citrus Restaurant, KASA Restaurant & Bar, Maxine’s on Shine

·       Restaurant Row – SLATE*, Big Fin Seafood Kitchen, Christini’s Ristorante Italiano, Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood Restaurant, Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Ocean Prime

·       Universal/CityWalk – Amatista Cookhouse* (Loews Sapphire Falls) , Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, Island’s Dining Room (Loews Royal Pacific), The Kitchen (Hard Rock Hotel), Mama Della’s Ristorante (Loews Portofino Bay)

·        Winter Park – Blu on the Avenue*, The Ravenous Pig, Luma on Park, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Chez Vincent, Hamilton’s Kitchen, Ruth’s Chris Steak House

·        Surrounding Areas – F&D Kitchen and Bar*, Osprey Tavern*, Kabooki Sushi*, Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Orlando and Lake Mary)

*First year in Magical Dining

Each year, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining Month, sponsored by American Express, benefits a local cause chosen the year prior. This year, The Russell Home for Atypical Children is the recipient, and will be given $1 from every Magical Dining meal. The Russell Home is the first non-profit institution in the country to provide a home atmosphere with a family structure for special needs children and ‘child-like’ adults. In continuous operation for over 60 years without any government support, the home also provides 24 hours of free respite care and free day care for the local families with special needs dependents.

Last year, Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining raised a record $160,735 for ELEVATE Orlando. The funds raised by Magical Dining enabled ELEVATE to expand its mentorship programs into Jones High School, equipping thousands of urban youth in Central Florida to graduate with a plan for their future.

About Orlando Dining

From internationally renowned chefs to home-grown venues specializing in takeout charcuterie, Orlando is a destination where the culinary possibilities are both fresh and seemingly endless. Theme parks restaurants keep Central Florida on the map with award-winning dining, and independent restaurateurs bring fresh concepts to the table. Whether locally owned or part of expanding franchises, many of the destination’s newest restaurants mirror the national trends: American cuisine, farm-friendly menus and simple food with regional accents. Nationally, Orlando has emerged as a prominent dining destination, and continues to grow in both quantity and quality of flavors.

About Visit Orlando

Visit Orlando is the official tourism association for the most visited destination in the United States, with representation in more than a dozen countries around the world. Visit Orlando, together with its 1,200 member organizations, represents the area’s leading industry.

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For foodies that love a good glass of wine, TR Fire Grill is hosting a Wine Dinner that includes a chef crafted four course meal expertly paired with Hope Family Wines.

Created by TR Fire Grill’s Head Chef Bob Gallagher and Sommelier Andrew Bateman, each course will highlight elements in the wines and showcase certain flavors.

When:   May 15, 2016, 5:30 p.m.

Where: TR Fire Grill, 1035 North Orlando Avenue

What:    Four courses chef-inspired courses

  1. Charcuterie & Cheese with grilled wine infused onions, Treana Chardonay
  2. Market Salad with white wine vinaigrette, Treana White Blend
  3. Surf & Turf with red blend demi-glace and Chardonnay butter, Treana Red Blend
  4. Double Trouble Chocolate Waffle with wine infused blueberries, Troublemaker Red Blend

Price:     $60 per person, tickets can be purchased here.

WEB_Fire Grill_Wine Dinner

Charcuterie & Cheese

Grilled bread, grainy mustard, cornichon pickles,

and grilled wine infused onions

Treana Chardonnay

Second Course

Watermelon, cucumber, mango, kiwi, blueberries,

pickled red onion, Feta cheese, sunflower seeds,

Treana white wine vinaigrette

Market Salad

Treana White Blend

Third Course

Smoked flank with Treana Red Blend demi-glacé,

potato hash, cedar wood shrimp, Treana

Chardonnay butter, smoked asparagus

Surf & Turf

Treana Red Blend

Fourth Course

Double Trouble Chocolate Waffle

Chocolate waffle, tempura strawberry bananas,

wine infused blueberries, mango sauce, ice cream

Troublemaker Red Blend

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Chef-owner John Rivers and Chef Whitney Miller of The COOP, a Winter Park neighborhood restaurant, introduced “A Southern Affair,” a new cooking demonstration series that launched on March 16. For this series guests are invited to a demo hosted by Rivers, Miller and/or a visiting guest featuring an easy-to-make, Southern-inspired recipe, followed by a sampling of the dish and an open format question and answer session on The COOP’s indoor patio.  The interactive and intimate experience offers the unique opportunity for guests to learn from and sample dishes with award-winning chefs from near and far. The first event of the series kicked off last month with Crawfish-Pimento Mac n’ Cheese and White Chocolate Bread Pudding Beignets.

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Every Wednesday, 30 to 40 guests are invited to a demo hosted by Rivers, Miller and/or a visiting guest featuring an easy-to-make, Southern-inspired recipe, followed by a sampling of the dish and an open format question and answer session on The COOP’s indoor patio.  The interactive and intimate experience is set to take place on the third Wednesday of every month and will offer the unique opportunity for guests to learn from and sample dishes with award-winning chefs from near and far.

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The two will kick off the first event of the series with Crawfish-Pimento Mac n’ Cheese and White Chocolate Bread Pudding Beignets. DSC02712Chef John Rivers helping out with the Crawfish Mac N’ Cheese.

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Then both Chefs got their hands dirty for the white chocolate bread pudding beignets.

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At the end of each demo we got a little sample of each to know what it tastes like for when we cook it at home. The Mac N’ Cheese were creamy with a bit of a kick.
DSC02728The beignets were crispy out the outside and fluffy and sweet towards the core.

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Overall the event was quite informational and fun as we got to learn how to make the tasty dishes while also interacting with the Chefs.

I’m excited for the next live demonstration happening on April 27th with Chef Greg Richie of Soco Thornton Park! Richie will join Chef John Rivers and Chef Whitney Miller for a cooking demo and tasting of some Southern favorites.

Here’s a little clip of how the event went!

 

The COOP
13.7 mi · 610 W Morse Blvd
(407) 843-2667

 

 

 

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We’ve had a few local Orlandoans cast on the MasterChef series, most recently Zac Kara in Masterchef Junior and Francis Biondi in the original MasterChef series in season 5. Biondi was actually found by production staff who met him while he was a server at The Rusty Spoon.

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Zac Kara – no relation to Orlando Weekly’s Faiyaz Kara – from Masterchef Junior is an Orlando local

America’s first MasterChef winner, Whitney Miller, is now chef de cuisine leading recipe creation and development of John River’s The Coop here in Orlando.

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Francis Biondi from Masterchef Season 5 was found by producers at The Rusty Spoon

Now, America’s most-watched cooking competition show, MASTERCHEF, is returning for its eighth season with a visit to Orlando for open casting calls on Saturday April 16, 2016.

Open casting calls will be held across the country in search of talented home cooks from all types of backgrounds and with a range of cooking styles.

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Master Chef’s first winner Whitney Miller – now with The Coop!

The casting team is looking for home cooks who enjoy preparing everything from delightful desserts and hefty main courses to fine French cuisine, great tasting burgers and more! For anyone looking to follow their culinary dream – take this first step by preregistering on the casting website www.masterchefcasting.com and heading down to one of the open casting calls below.

check out the last time Master Chef was in town with our article from Season 5 here.

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Press Release

“MASTERCHEF” SEASON EIGHT BEGINS LATEST SEARCH FOR AMERICA’S BEST HOME COOK WITH OPEN CASTING CALLS
STARTING SATURDAY, MARCH 5

Casting Calls for FOX’s Hit Cooking Competition Series to Take Place in San Diego, New York City, Oklahoma City, Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, Orlando, Portland, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

Visit http://www.masterchefcasting.com for the Most Up-to-Date Casting Information

America’s most-watched cooking competition show, MASTERCHEF, begins casting for its eighth season Saturday, March 5. Open casting calls will be held across the country in search of talented home cooks from all types of backgrounds and with a range of cooking styles.

The casting team is looking for home cooks who enjoy preparing everything from delightful desserts and hefty main courses to fine French cuisine, great tasting burgers and more! For anyone looking to follow their culinary dream – take this first step by preregistering on the casting website www.masterchefcasting.com and heading down to one of the open casting calls below.

Open casting calls will be held in the following cities:

San Diego – Saturday, March 5
Oklahoma City – Saturday, March 12
New York City – Saturday, March 12
Chicago – Saturday, March 19
New Orleans – Saturday, March 19
Dallas – Saturday, April 16
Orlando – Saturday, April 16
Portland – Saturday, April 23
Boston – Saturday, April 23
Los Angeles – Saturday, April 30
Washington D.C. – Saturday, April 30

Additional details, including venues and times, will be announced soon. Visit http://www.masterchefcasting.com for the most up-to-date audition information including eligibility and other audition terms and conditions.

For those unable to attend an open casting call, home video may be submitted. Instructions can be found at http://www.masterchefcasting.com/videos.

All applicants must be 18 years or older on or before August 1, 2016.

Season Five winner Claudia Sandoval’s cookbook “Claudia’s Cucina” featuring authentic Mexican recipes with innovative and modern flair is now available for preorder on Amazon.com and will be released wide this summer. Season Four winner Luca Manfe launched his cookbook, “My Italian Kitchen,” in 2013. Season Three winner Christine Ha, the series’ first blind contestant, continues to be an inspiration to millions. Her cookbook, “Recipes from My Home Kitchen: Asian and American Comfort Food,” is a New York Times bestseller.

America’s first MASTERCHEF winner, Whitney Miller, is the author of “Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm.” Her recipes have been featured in various national publications, such as People and Cooking Light. Fans can also find their favorite All-Star contestants, including Luca and Claudia on the MASTERCHEF Cruise setting sail in the Caribbean Nov. 2016. For more information on the cruise visit www.masterchefcruise.com

MASTERCHEF is produced by Endemol Shine North America and One Potato Two Potato, and is based on a format created by Franc Roddam and Endemol Shine. Elisabeth Murdoch, Eden Gaha, Robin Ashbrook, Gordon Ramsay, Adeline Ramage Rooney, Patricia Llewellyn and Ben Adler serve as executive producers. “Like” MASTERCHEF on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MasterChef. Follow the series on Twitter @MasterChefonFOX and follow the judges on Twitter: Gordon Ramsay – @gordonramsay; Christina Tosi – @christinatosi.

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Epcot’s Tapestry of America: Celebrating African American Heritage

Guests can celebrate Black History Month throughout the month of February with special experiences at the American Adventure Pavilion at Epcot. From historical displays and intriguing artifacts to book signings by Celebrity Chef G. Garvin and best-selling author Terry McMillan, guests can take a stroll through the pages of America’s history and learn about the influence of African-American culture.

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Dorcas Williams, marketing manager at Disney Parks and Resorts, tells us that Epcot’s American Adventure Pavilion features Legacy Portraits of famous African Americans and their contributions around the rotunda as well as “Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of pieces displayed at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, which draws from an extensive assortment of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. The exhibit will be available all year long.

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At the Liberty Inn at the American Adventure, guests can try out a peach cobbler based on Mrs. Fischer’s recipe. Mrs. Abby Fischer was one of the first African American authors to publish a cookbook dating back to 1881. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking,” includes 160 Southern-style recipes.

Chef G. Garvin, one of many authors visiting Epcot for Black History Month this month, spoke with us about his plans from upcoming food product projects as well as a new cook book based on tastes of the South (which includes not only Georgia and the Carolinas, but also New York and Los Angeles). He currently has a list of spices, olive oils, cookies, and sea salts available at marketplaceonline.co.

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Chef Garvin grew up cooking for his mother and grandmother as part of his daily chores – yardwork, cleaning, making dinner. It wasn’t until when he was 18 years old when he worked at the Ritz Carlton in Atlanta that he fell in love with cooking. The streets in his childhood were rough – kids were getting jailed or killed, and he did not want any part of that.

“Food didn’t save me, I saved myself through food,” Chef Garvin tells us.

Today he works with Magic Johnson as Chief Culinary Advisor for SodexoMAGIC, which serves as the catering culinary team for Walt Disney World. He also has several successful shows under his belt, including Road Trips on Cooking Channel.

The first person who told Chef Garvin that it might be a good idea to get into television was Chef Tim Keating of The Flying Fish. When Chef Garvin was 20 years old, the two actually roomed together at the opening of the Ritz Carlton in Palm Springs. Chef Keating told him he had the personality that would do well on TV and gave him opportunities to demo when he could.

His latest book, “Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple”, is available now online.

Press Release

Black History Month Author Series
In honor of Black History Month, guests have the opportunity to meet three renowned African-American authors and cultural icons select Saturdays during the month of February. Book signings are open to all guests and hosted at the American Adventure Pavilion, where books written by each guest author are also available for purchase throughout the month.

Terry McMillan, author of “Who Asked You?”
Saturday, Feb.6, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Terry McMillan is known for her powerful novels and short stories about African American women. Her novel, “Waiting to Exhale,” was adapted into a film starring Whitney Houston and Angela Bassett in 1995. Many of McMillan’s other novels, including the award-winning “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” “Disappearing Acts,” and “A Day Late and a Dollar Short,” have also been brought to life for film and television audiences. McMillan recently published her eighth novel, “Who Asked You?,” a story about the challenges and strength of a family.

Chef G. Garvin, author of “Turn Up The Heat With G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple”
Saturday, Feb.13, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Acclaimed chef and television host, Chef G. Garvin has mastered the art of cooking as well as writing. His first cookbook, “Turn Up the Heat with G. Garvin: More Than 200 Incredible Recipes from the Chef Who Keeps it Super Simple,” received an American Literacy Award and nomination for an NAACP Image Award. Chef Garvin has enjoyed continued success with his subsequent cookbooks and television show “Road Trip with G. Garvin” on The Cooking Channel.

Pattie LaBelle, author of “Recipes for the Good Life”
Saturday, Feb. 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m. (one signing only): Patti LaBelle is a New York Times bestselling author, two-time Grammy Award-winning recording artist, three-time Emmy nominee, and star of the cooking television series, “Pattie LaBelle’s Place.” This beloved soulful performer is just as captivating in the kitchen as she is on stage with her hit cooking show and cookbooks filled with southern-style recipes, including her recent book, “Recipes for the Good Life.”

Terrence Roberts, author of “Lessons from Little Rock”
Saturday, Feb. 27, 1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.: Terrence James Roberts, Ph.D. is one of the “Little Rock Nine,” a group of history-making African American students who, in 1957, were the first black students ever to attend classes at Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Roberts was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton in 1999. His book, “Lessons from Little Rock,” is a memoir of his experience during the integration of Little Rock Central High School and the lessons learned from that historic episode.

New pieces at Epcot’s Kinsey Collection exhibit
“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection,” a collection of pieces displayed at the American Adventure pavilion at Epcot, draws from an extensive assortment of rare art, documents, books and artifacts attributed to African American history. Philanthropists Bernard, Shirley and their son Khalil Kinsey share some of their vast personal collection of artifacts spanning 400 years of history. Touch screens and guest-activated lanterns with narration by Whoopi Goldberg, Diane Sawyer and other celebrities help bring the history to life. Three new pieces recently have been added to the exhibit which is open daily.

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“Banneker’s Almanack and Ephemeras” by Benjamin Banneker, is the mathematical and mechanical work of Benjamin Banneker. Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, read and approved of Banneker’s work. The almanac was published in 1771.

“My Bondage and My Freedom” by Frederick Douglass, is an autobiography recounting Frederick Douglass’s life as a slave and that as a freeman. Published in 1855, the book is a first edition.

“Survivor” by Elizabeth Catlett, is a beautiful Linoleum block print inspired by a photograph taken by Dorthea Lang titled “Ex-slave with a Long Memory.” The print was created in 1983.

“Re-Discovering America: Family Treasures from the Kinsey Collection” is included in Epcot admission. For more information about the collection, visit TheKinseyCollection.com.

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Legacy Portraits Tell a New Story
As guests explore the American Pavilion Rotunda, they are greeted by images of influential men and women who contributed to the progress of America. New portraits have been added to the collection for the month of February to further illustrate the contributions of many African American notables.

The new displays feature African American figures such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice; Ronald Erwin McNair, the second African American to fly in space; and Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to stage a public airplane flight in America.

Taste of Southern Comfort
Mrs. Abby Fischer was one of the first African American authors to publish a cookbook dating back to 1881. “What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Southern Cooking,” includes 160 Southern-style recipes. One popular dessert recipe featured in the cookbook, Mrs. Fisher’s Peach Cobbler, is available for guests to purchase and enjoy at Liberty Inn at the American Adventure Pavilion.

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PRESS RELEASE:

The Eighth Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest is set for Saturday, February 27 and Sunday, February 28, 2016 for more than 30,000 foodies and wine lovers to experience unique local cuisine paired with wines from around the globe.

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola on Robinson Street, the two-day Fest features mouth-watering dishes from 30 of Orlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment.

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Date / Time: Saturday, February 27 (noon to 9 p.m.) and Sunday, February 28, 2016 (noon to 7 p.m.)
Location: Located in the heart of downtown Orlando at Lake Eola along Robinson Street
The live entertainment schedule* includes:

Saturday, February 27, 2016

12:50 p.m. Adam Moreno
2:30 p.m. Orange Avenue
4 p.m. The Mud Flappers
5:30 p.m. Special acoustic performance by Mike Posner
6:30 p.m. Michael Franti Acoustic Duo
7:45 p.m. American Authors

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Sunday, February 28, 2016
12:45 p.m. Nicholas Marks
2:15 p.m. Sidereal
3:45 p.m. Derek & The Slammers
5:20 p.m. Best of the Fest Awards
5:45 p.m. Firefall

*Performance times and artists subject to change without notice.

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Tickets:

One-Day General Admission
Admission is $15 per person, per day with advance online purchase. Admission at the door is $20 per person, per day.

Two-Day General Admission
For all-weekend Fest fans, a two-day ticket is available for $25 per person with advance online purchase.

Wine Tasters Club
A limited number of Wine Tasters Club passes will be available for purchase for $15 per person at the Fest. Club members will enjoy up to five 2 oz. pours of their choice throughout the Fest and a souvenir lanyard.

Ultimate Fest Experience
A limited number of Ultimate Fest Experience packages are available for $100 per person, per day and includes a VIP parking pass, general admission, Wine Tasters Club, $20 value in food and beverage tickets, access to the private stage-side VIP tent, private wine/beer bar with premium wines (food and beverage tickets required) and access to private bathrooms reserved for VIP guests.

Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets.

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The Downtown Food & Wine Fest is produced by MIX 105.1, 1059 SUNNY FM, and 101.9 AMP Radio in partnership with the Central Florida Chapter of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) Educational Foundation.

“With more than 1,000 events a year, Downtown Orlando offers residents and visitors alike with unique experiences and affordable entertainment options,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Reoccurring community events like the Downtown Food & Wine Fest help to highlight our growing dining scene and bring awareness to our local businesses, strengthening economic growth to the area.”

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Steve Carver, senior vice president and market manager, CBS RADIO Orlando commented, “Through the power of radio and the strength of our partnerships with the FRLA and Orlando restaurateurs, foodies and fans will come together to celebrate the sights, sounds and tastes of Orlando.”

Thirty top restaurants are scheduled to present culinary tastings including the return of the 2015 Foodie Award winners as honored by a panel of Orlando elected officials, food writers and reporters and celebrity chefs.

2015 Foodie Award: Marlow’s Tavern Shrimp & Grits
2015 Sweet Treat Award: Primo at JW Marriott Orlando Cannoli Gelato Cone
2015 Best of Show:Siro at Orlando World Center Marriott (winner 2013-2015)

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Stay Connected
For more information on the Downtown Food & Wine Fest:
Visit www.DowntownFoodAndWineFest.com
Like Downtown Food & Wine Fest on Facebook
Follow @DTFoodWineFest
Use #DTFoodWineFest on Twitter and Instagram
Call the events hotline at 407-919-1048
eMail DowntownFoodandWineFest@cbsradio.com

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Orlando Ramen Rumble
Orlando Ramen Rumble

Chef Austin Boyd of Seito Sushi, Chef Greg Richie of Baoery Asian Gastropub, and Chef Chau Trinh of Sushi Pop Restaurant will battle each other on Monday March 7th from 6:00pm  – 9:00pm in Orlando’s first Ramen Rumble.

The chefs come together in a friendly competition to see whose bowl of ramen reigns supreme. The prize to the winning chef is not just bragging rights, but the decision to which charity the proceeds will go. The purpose of this event is to celebrate the growing culinary scene in Orlando through these magical bowls of slurping wonderment.

We all win as long as we have one of these bowls in front of us!

Orlando Ramen Rumble

Ramen, the Japanese noodle dish that has continued to grow in popularity in Orlando, will be made by the chefs from scratch from the broth to noodles.

The event is organized by Ricky Ly of TastyChomps.com in partnership with Jason and Sue Chin of The Osprey Tavern to bring together local chefs and the local Orlando community in appreciation of ramen.

The proceeds from the event will be donated to the winning chef’s choice of charity.

The ticket prices are $30 and will feature a tasting bowl of ramen from each chef, 1 draft beer, and housemade sweet desserts.

For tickets, visit http://ramenrumble.bpt.me

Illustrations by Sue Chin

Orlando Ramen Rumble

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On Saturday, March 5, at the Orlando World Center Marriott, top local Central Florida chefs from renowned restaurants and resorts will showcase their creativity to help raise funds at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida’s Appetite for the Arches event.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida finds, creates, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and families. The cornerstone program, the Ronald McDonald House®, provides temporary lodging, meals, and a network of support to families with children receiving medical treatment at local hospitals.

There are two Ronald McDonald Houses in Orlando— one on the campus of Florida Hospital for Children and one on the campus of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.

A third Ronald McDonald House will open in Spring 2016 on the campus of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona.

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This is a culinary event with a twist – chefs will use McDonald’s ingredients to create their signature dishes.

Guests will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with participating chefs and each other, enjoy live music, and a silent auction too.

Participating restaurants include:
– 4Rivers
– Capa at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
– Cask & Larder Public House
– DoveCote
– Emeril’s Tchoup Chop
– Hard Rock Orlando
– Hamilton’s Kitchen at the Alfond Inn
– K Restaurant
– LUMA on Park
– Orlando World Center Marriott
– Ravello at Four Seasons Resort Orlando
– RusTeak
– Spanish River Grill
– Swine & Sons Provisions
– The Ravenous Pig
– The Rusty Spoon

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Julie Petrakis, who owns The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder and Swine & Sons Provisions with her husband James, sits on the planning committee for the event and was in charge of organizing chef participation.

“Appetite for the Arches unites Central Florida’s best chefs and the community on a night of culinary surprises and delight for a special cause. All proceeds from the gala help Ronald McDonald House keep families together when they need it most —during the treatment of a critically ill child.”

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For additional information about Appetite for the Arches including ticket information and sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.appetiteforthearches.org.

Facebook: @Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida

Twitter: @RMHCCF
Event hashtag: #AppetiteOrlando

Photos below by So May Ly Photography.

Here are 5 Surprising Dishes made from McDonald’s Ingredients that will appear at the upcoming Appetites for the Arches:

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1. Chef Kathleen Blake: The Rusty Spoon – Red Devil Stuffed Eggs,Bacon Brittle,Oven-Dried Tomatoes
McDonald’s Ingredients: Bacon, Eggs, Grape Tomatoes

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2. Chef Kevin Fonzo: K Restaurant – Chicken Tortilla Soup, Savory Biscuit Bread Pudding
McDonald’s Ingredients: Chicken Breast, Jalapeno, White Onion, Egg, Bacon, Milk, Biscuit, Pepperjack Cheese, Grape Tomato, Corn Tortilla
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3. Chef Rhys Gawlak: Cask & Larder – Kale Gnocchi Carbonara
McDonald’s Ingredients: Canadian Bacon, Kale, Spinach, Egg, Romaine, French Fry, Parmesan Cheese, White Onion, English Muffin

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4. Chef Clayton Miller: DoveCote – Smoked Beef Tongue Reuben, Crispy Potato, Big Mac Sauce
McDonald’s Ingredients: Hash Brown, Lettuce, Big Mac Sauce

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5. Chef Julie Petrakis: The Ravenous Pig – Cheesecake, Espresso Crumble, Strawberry-Frangelico Sauce
McDonald’s Ingredients: Strawberry, Whole Eggs, Espresso Bean, French Vanilla Syrup, Butter, Granola, Cream Cheese, Oatmeal Cookie

Cocktails courtesy of Republic National Distributing Company and prepared by Cask & Larder

Russian Standard Vodka Infused Cucumber Lemonade Soda
McDonald’s® Ingredients: Cucumber, Lemon

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Old Fashioned with Brown Butter Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, Smoked Simple, Orange Bitters

McDonald’s Ingredients: Simple Syrup, Butter

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It’s that time of year again! Seems like only yesterday.

The local Asian American community here in Orlando will be celebrating the Lunar New Year once again – one of my favorite times of the year, not just for the festivities but also for the great food that goes along with the holiday celebrations.

I remember gathering around at home growing up with my uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandma around the family dinner table having a huge feast, praying to our ancestors and the gods of fortune for a lucky and healthy new year. My favorite dishes were the fried egg rolls and roasted duck, Hakka style, filled with Chinese spices, herbs and wild mushrooms.

This year the Chinese/Vietnamese Lunar New Year’s Official Date (which changes each year because – surprise – it follows the cycles of the moon) is Monday February 8th, 2016 – but the celebrations begin much earlier and last almost all month.

This is the year of the Monkey and those people born in the year of the Monkey are said to be “smart, clever and intelligent, especially in their career and wealth. They are lively, flexible, quick-witted and versatile. In addition, their gentleness and honesty bring them an everlasting love life. Although they were born with enviable skills, they still have several shortcomings, such as an impetuous temper and a tendency to look down upon others.”

Luckily for us here in the Central Florida community, we are home to the largest ethnic enclaves of Asian Americans in the entire state, particularly around the Mills 50 district with shops, restaurants, and markets all getting ready to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

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Lunar New Year Traditions
  • Eating dinner together as a family – people journey from wherever they are, to come home and have dinner. Every year this time marks the largest mass migration of people when workers in the cities travel home to their home villages to visit their families again.
  • Giving/Recieving Red Envelopes – filled with lucky money from elders to the young. Asian culture is big on karma so want to start off the year doing good things for others and hope for good things to happen to you in return later in the year. Universal balance.
  • Clean the house before the new year start the year new, and pay off all your debts
  • Big parades with lots of firecrackers. The loud noise “scares” away any evil spirits so you can start off the new year fresh.
  • On that Monday, February 8th if you have lunch in the Mills 50 area, you will see the Wah Lum Kung Fu Lion Dance team “blessing” each business with their lion dance and fire works. Last year we had lunch at Chuan Lu and they came with fireworks and a dancing Buddha and two lions – quite the festive sight!

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What to Order – Traditional Chinese Dishes for New Years

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Eat
  • Noodles – The longer, the better – the noodles represent longevity and long life
  • Dumplings – They are shaped like little gold nuggets, symbols for good fortune and wealth
  • Fish – The word “yu” sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, so your new year will be abundant with good luck – eat whole fish so that your whole year is full of good luck
  • Fried Spring Rolls – The name also sounds like “good fortune” in Chinese, eat it for a lucky new year
  • Oranges are also plentiful during new years because the name and look of the orange is similar to gold. So giving oranges as a gift is also quite common, as it the giver is seen as wishing prosperity on the receivers.
  • Vietnamese Banh Tet – Bánh tét is a Vietnamese savoury but sometimes sweetened cake made primarily from glutinous rice, which is rolled in a banana leaf into a thick, log-like cylindrical shape, with mung bean or mung bean and pork fillings, then boiled. It is a must have traditional food in Vietnamese Lunar New Year. It demonstrates the importance of rice in the Vietnamese culture as well as historical value. During Vietnamese Tét, family members would gather together and enjoy feasting on bánh tét, the central food of this festive Vietnamese holiday to celebrate the coming of spring.

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Drink
  • Wash it all down with a glass of Baijiu
  • Baijiu – traditional clear grain spirit made from sorghum and wheat
    • The number one drink in the world at about 40-60% alcohol
    • Like Vodka to the Russians, Rum to Puerto Rico, Baijiu is to the Chinese
    • It’s drank at almost all meal gatherings in China.

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Chinese baijiu - Credit-PassportsandCocktails-com

Say Happy New Year!
  • Vietnamese – Chuc Mung Nam Moi
  • Cantonese – Sun Lien Fai Lok
    or Gung Hay Fat Choi (Literally : Congratulations on your Prosperity – have a prosperous new year)
  • Mandarin – Xin Nian Kuai Le
Places to Celebrate:
Local Orlando Restaurants:
    • Ming Bistro – Chinese Dim Sum – Great for Families/Friends/Groups
      1212 Woodward Street #6, Orlando, FL (407) 898-9672
    • Chuan Lu Garden – Authentic Sichuan cuisine – for spicy food lovers
      1101 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL – (407) 896-8966  http://chuanluyuan.com
    • Tasty Wok – Chinese street food / barbecue and noodles
      1246 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL  (407) 896-8988
    • Chan’s Chinese Cuisine – Dim sum and traditional Chinese cuisine 
      1901 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL (407) 896-0093
    • Golden Lotus Chinese – Dim sum and traditional Chinese cuisine
      8365 South John Young Parkway, Orlando, FL (407) 352-3832

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Local Markets – Pick up New Year goodies
  • Saigon Market
    1232 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 898-6899
  • Tien Hung Market
    1112 East Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 849-0205 http://tienhungmarket.com/
  • 1st Oriental SuperMarket
    5132 West Colonial Drive, Orlando, FL 32808, United States
    (407) 292-3668 http://1storiental.com
  • Phuoc Loc Tho Super Market
    2100 E Colonial Dr, Orlando, FL 32803, United States
    (407) 898-6858

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Street Food Festivals/Events

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Vietnamese New Year Festival by the Vietnamese Catholic Church
Saturday January 30 and Sunday January 31 at the Central Florida Fairgrounds
Orlando Foodie Forum facebook group meet up on that Sunday January 31 at 10:30AM
– Try the pork meatballs, sugarcane juice, Vietnamese banh mi, other street foods
http://www.philipminhparish.org/

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Vietnamese New Year Festival by the Vietnamese Community of Central Florida
Saturday February 6th – Sunday February 7th at the Central Florida Fairgrounds
– Street food and also Miss Vietnam of Florida Pageant on Sunday

See below for last year’s schedule for an idea of what will go on –

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Vietnamese Vegetarian Food Festival at Bao An Temple

Sunday October 31st –   8am – 2pm (local cultural acts, lots of vegetarian Vietnamese food for sale)
and the new years eve celebration is the night of February 7th (they have singers, performers, food for sale)
Bao An Buddhist Temple – 5788 North Apopka Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32818, United States

Last year’s flyer below for now –

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Other temples such as Chua Phap Vu Temple on Dean Road will also have a Vietnamese new year celebration / ceremony on the eve of Lunar New Year – Sunday February 7th, usually around 8pm.

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Dragon Parade and Lunar New Year Festival
at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall – Sunday February 14 at 11am
http://www.centralfloridadragonparade.org/

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