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Chef’s Profile: Chef Jes Tantalo of Redlight Redlight in Orlando’s Audubon Park

This piece first appeared in The Community Paper, March 2024

You may have seen Chef Jes Tantalo around town before, cooking up behind the scenes at places like East End Market in Audubon Park and Lineage Coffee. Now, she brings her Southern-, Pittsburgh-, and Italian-inspired cuisine to Audubon Park’s Redlight Redlight on Corrine Drive, creating a refined yet comforting dining menu to pair with their house-brewed beers and seltzers. We visited her at Redlight Redlight one afternoon to catch up with her on the new things happening with her this year and on the new menu.

What would you say are the most popular dishes right now — or your favorite dishes — on the menu?

The shrimp and beans is like a sneaky hit. I have a love for beans, love for vegetables and shrimp. It’s a good, quick saute item, very homey, and it comes with some fresh potato chips.

I’ve been doing the cabbage for a couple years, and I love it so much. It’s just a nice char sear, and then there’s a curry emulsion sort of hollandaise-adjacent type of sauce.

The [pork] cutlet’s been a hit on the pub side, throwing on carrots and fried greens. I try to balance it between a quick snack versus something you can make a full meal out of. Right now, we just keep expanding on that as we sort of find our groove and get our routines and see what happens.

Where are you sourcing for your menu?

I frequent the Monday night market here in Audubon, and so I use a lot of Everoak [Farm], Winter Park Urban Farm, Zenn [Naturals] Farm. Trying to get more mushrooms from the Florida Mushroom King [Florida Shroom King Mushroom Farm]. He’s working on upping his production. Fleet [Farming]’s out there, get a few things from them. Wild Ocean [Seafood Market] is predominantly where I get my seafood. Trying to keep it Florida based. If there’s a good technique going into it, and it’s just picked, it’s just going to be maximum flavor, which is really what we’re after.

What are some tips for home cooks or chefs?

Shop your farmers markets. The fresher the vegetables, the better they taste. And I think the easier they are to cook because they require some of those basic techniques like a quick blanch or a little roast. So you can actually put less effort into it because it’s so packed with flavor and it’s so fresh.

And, you know, just not being scared of the things that you haven’t had. Like kohlrabi is not scary — it’s just not something that you see everywhere. You can almost cook it as many ways as a potato.

Redlight Redlight
2810 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Phone: (407) 893-9832

Dinner Service by @chefjestantalo from 5-9pm.

Ruthie’s Pierogi! @ruthiesrogis
Farmers Cheese & Potato Filling, Caramelized Onions, Sour Cream

Mini Carrots, Tokyo Turnips, Miso Galangal Marinade, Muscadine Piquette Reduction, Crispy Shallots, Crushed Nuts

Smoked Fish Dip
Olive Oil Poached Tilefish, Smoked Mullet, Capers, Shallots, Creme Fraiche with Cucumbers, Radish & Chips

Salt Brined Frites
A Pound of Potatoes, Bonus Onions, Smothern Sauce

Jalapeno Corn Hush Puppies & Smothern Sauce

Fried Green Olives
Parmesan Sauce, Oregano, Black Pepper

Shrimply the Best
Royal Red Shrimp, White Beans, Blistered Tomato, Garlic Butter, Wine, & Chips (gf)

Impossible Nuggets
Buttermilk Basil or BBQ

Charred Cabbage
Curry Emulsion, Toasted Breadcrumbs, Herbs (gf option)

Pork Cutlet – thinly Pounded 8 oz Pork Loin, Panko Breaded, Pak Choi, Little Gem & Napa Salad, Buttermilk Basil Dressing, Shaved Onion

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