The JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa, which opened here in Orlando in July 2020, recently hosted the Masters of the Craft – an internal competition among the culinary team and bartenders highlighting the immense talent that is on their property.
Masters of the Craft is actually a National Marriott competition, and this is the first time in three years the Masters of the craft is occurring due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
I had the honor to judge the event recently, alongside Sam Basu- General Manager of the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek and Kelly Pentecost- former Master of the Craft bartender National runner up. I can attest first hand to the great caliber of talent among both the culinary team and the bartenders team at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek.
For the culinary competition, contestants had just 30 minutes to prepare a dish featuring the signature ingredient – corn. Meanwhile for the bartending competition, contestants had just 7 minutes to create a cocktail featuring the plumcot – a plum / apricot hybrid. Below are the winners and results of the competitions as well as some background on the participants!
Andrew “Drew” Landis- first place – Originally from Missouri, Andrew is extremely passionate about cooking and discovering new cuisine. Drew has traveled around the country, and Puerto Rico cooking in various restaurants for the last 9 years. Drew joined the JW Marriott Bonnet creek team 6 moths ago and primarily works at Sear and Sea on the wood fire grill.
Christopher Butler- 2nd place is currently finishing his culinary arts degree at Valencia – joined the team 5 months ago in Unreserved
Alicia Priestly- 3rd place winner- joined our banquet culinary team 8 months ago, and has over 25 years’ experience
Anthony Newell- a 20 year culinary veteran, joining our team 4 months ago in Unreserved
Dom Smith- Dom recently finished his culinary training in Augusta, GA and joined our team 3 months ago, coming in as an intern. Currently he works in Illume Kitchen.
Hunter McIntosh- 1st place winner; Illume bartender 5 years working for Marriott, 11 years total experience
Raymond Schmitz- 2nd place winner- S&S Lobby bar bartender for the last year, with over 17 years’ experience
Francisco Cadena- 3rd place winner Illume bartender for the last year, with 16 years’ experience
Juan Gorbea- 5 year bartender with Marriott, 21 years in the industry, currently works at Palm Cove pool bar
Dom Smith- Dom recently finished his culinary training in Augusta, GA and joined our team 3 months ago, coming in as an intern. Currently he works in Illume Kitchen. While in Culinary school, Dom would work as a bartender, and is passionate about Food & Beverage as he continues to curate his career path.
Samantha Deacy- Joined the S&S lobby bar team 4 months ago and brings 16 years of experience
Abel Caraballo- banquet server, has 7 years’ experience working for Marriott as a bartender and server, and has been in the industry for 14 years.
The winners of the competition at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek will compete at a regional event later this year, with an opportunity to go to Bethesda, Maryland where the National competition will be held at the new headquarters.
Executive Chef Melissa Sallman, who oversees all dining outlets at the resort— including illume, Sear + Sea, the Sea + Sea Lobby Bar, Unreserved, the Unreserved Beer Garden, Palm Cove and the JW Market—and the resort’s banquet options, said, “I was thrilled by the level of the excitement, not only from the contenders, and fellow F&B associates who came to cheer, but also the excitement it generated throughout the hotel. I cannot wait to see how far Drew and Hunter go in the competition, but I am also looking forward to making this an annual tradition at the JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek.”
Scenes from the Masters of the Craft 2022 event at JW Marriott Bonnet Creek
About JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
- The full-service, five-star JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa opened in July 2020 and has everything guests need for a luxurious Orlando getaway, from 516 plush guestrooms to fun-filled amenities. Situated conveniently right outside the gates of Disney World, the resort boasts a 10,000 square foot spa with treatments unique to the resort; an outdoor pool with swanky cabanas; seven onsite restaurants and bars, including the chic steak and seafood restaurant Sear + Sea and the new illume rooftop bar; a rooftop miniature golf course and rock-climbing wall; and a complimentary shuttle service to the theme parks.
JW Marriott Orlando Bonnet Creek Resort & Spa
14900 Chelonia Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32821