Chef Venoy Rogers III is the executive chef of American Kitchen Bar & Grill at B Resort and Spa, and a former winner of the Food Network’s Chef Wanted television program. American Kitchen recently released a few new dishes on the menu, which changes seasonally, and we were invited to drop by to chat with chef and take a taste of the new dishes.
Here are a few of the new dishes at American Kitchen:
1. Fried Chicken “Oysters” – Delicious, tender chicken morsels fried with a house aioli sauce and crispy kale.
2. Tempura Avocado – served with tomato-chipotle jam and cilantro-lime creme fraiche. 3.Beet and Burrata
4. Beet Root Ravioli – house made beet and ricotta ravioli with local goat cheese, pine nuts, and beet “soil”
5. Three Cheese Potato Gratin (side)
6. Dry Aged Certified Angus Beef – Delmonic Ribeye Steak
Chef Venoy also talks to us about his food inspirations, growing up in a Brazilian and African American household, and his plans for American Kitchen at B Resort here in Orlando.
Chef Venoy was born in Oceanside, California to an African American father and Brazilian mother – growing up with strong food and cultural influences from South America and the American South.
“My father was in the Marine corps which allowed us the opportunity to live in japan and to have a really diverse group of family friends which all shared their food and culture with us when I was growing up,” Chef Venoy told us in an interview over e-mail.
As a child growing up he enjoyed all of the different types of foods as well as the culture that goes along with it.
“We had Japanese, Filipino, Brazilian, Southern, German, Samoan, Thai and Laotian foods all the time, just to name a few. Growing up my mother made rice with every meal and we had chicken adobo a minimum of once per week. We even ate with our hands a lot as well! I was always intrigued with the different flavors and preparations that our friends shared with us and eventually my parents started making on their own. This most definitely planted the seed for me becoming a Chef. I loved all of it!”
Tasty Chomps: What are some of your earliest childhood food memories?
Chef Venoy Rogers III: One of my earliest childhood memories around food was eating at Sanzoku aka “The Chicken Shack” in Iwakuni, Japan. I must have been four or five years old the last time I ate there. Although we had lived in japan at the time this place and memory has never been forgotten in my mind. I remember sitting on the floor with my family and sometimes friends and taking in the waterfall and ambiance. The thing that stands out the most is the memory of their chicken on a stick which I can almost smell and taste if I close my eyes tight enough. Sticky, sweet, juicy, and charred are the first things that come to mind when thinking back on that experience. It’s funny now that I think about it because when I first started really cooking on my own, I was really into “sweet and meat”. This must have been me subconsciously trying to recreate the flavors I loved so much from the Chicken shack.
Tasty Chomps: How does culture influence some of your dishes – are there any dishes at American Kitchen that draw from your Brazilian roots?
Chef Venoy Rogers III: Culture is huge as far as inspiration in my cooking. Whether it be the holidays, traditional methods of eating, presentations or ingredients; I feel that it makes things interesting and very American. I actually brought one of my Brazilian cousins into the kitchen here to help me perfect my pao de queijo. We ran it as our house bread for “Fuego Fridays”. Currently I have some Brazilian ingredients and condiments being used but not necessarily a Brazilian dish. We use a Brazilian style chimichurri as a marinade, seasoning and finish to a few items on the menu. One dish that is inspired by one of my favorite Brazilian dishes is our East Coast bouillabaisse which is similar to Moqueca, a Brazilian style fish stew.
Tasty Chomps: For those who are fans of the Food Network, what are some dishes that draw inspiration from your time on the show?
Chef Venoy Rogers III: The “Mole Chicken” on our current menu was created with a bit of inspiration drawn from my time on Chef Wanted. I made “Baja mole Chicken lollipops”, which Chefs Ivy Stark and Anne Burrell both said that my mole was pretty damn good. I had some Mexicans on my team that also agreed.
Tasty Chomps: What was your favorite memory on the show “Chef Wanted”?
Chef Venoy Rogers III: The competition. Competing is in my blood and it was pretty intense. I remember being locked in “the zone” numerous times throughout the competition. I thought I was going home a couple of different times. I have to also give props to Chef Anne who took time when the cameras weren’t rolling to coach and push me through the process. I’ll never forget that.
Tasty Chomps: What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with right now?
Chef Venoy Rogers III: It’s spring and I love PEAS! I love the fresh flavor that goes with almost anything and the natural pop they have in your mouth. They are like natures Spherification or vegetable caviar. Another favorite is prime Certified Angus Beef ® brand beef. Its all over my menu and the quality makes it such a fun product to share with our guests. Fruit vinegars and fermented foods have made their way more heavily into my repertoire as well.
Tasty Chomps: What is your favorite meal to eat when you want some “comfort food”?
Chef Venoy Rogers III: I’m pretty straight forward when it comes to comfort food. I think my two favorite things come directly from my parents influence; feijoado (black beans and rice) or Bbq ribs.
Tasty Chomps: Upcoming plans for American Kitchen this summer?
Chef Venoy Rogers III: We will continue to build on our open concept and continue to get better at everything we do. I want to add even more artisan items and continue to expand the already super diverse offerings. We have added large party catering menus done directly through the restaurant and have also started our own “Amerikase” Chef table tastings. We want to do more pairing dinners as well… wine, beer and spirits. The lunch and dinner menus will be redone for the summer season and we are also looking to add a weekend brunch menu as well (maybe before summer). I have always tried to be as well rounded as possible as a cook and I want to continue building my team and sharing our talents with everyone who comes through our doors. I am extremely blessed to have onsite leadership, as well as our owners who trust me and allow me the opportunity to create and express the true meaning of American cuisine and the melting pot that it is.
American Kitchen Bar and Grill
Located inside the B Resort & Spa
1905 Hotel Plaza Blvd, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830