Mings interior

Some new friends, new to town, invited us to join them for Chinese food, but, naturally, asked me to select the restaurant. Based on its location, and the fact that it had been years since I reviewed it, favorably, I chose Ming’s Bistro in the Mills 50 district.

Why, right there on the front window was a banner with a quote and my name. As we passed it on our way inside, I thought my new friends must think I really know what I’m talking about.

By the end of the dinner they were probably thinking I don’t know a thing. The meal was largely a disappointment.


Sous Chef Challenge 2019

The second annual Scott Joseph’s Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing is Sunday, Sept. 15, and you’re invited to attend, taste the competitors’ dishes and vote for your favorite.

The event will be at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention Center and will be part of the ACF Central Florida Chapter’s Culinary Arts Competitions. Up to 15 sous chefs – the men and women who serve as second in command in a restaurant’s kitchen – will prepare and serve a dish that they think represents the next big food trend, whether that’s an ingredient, a method of preparation or a way of serving. The winner of the challenge will be presented a check for $1000.

The winner will be selected by a panel of certified chefs (and me) who will evaluate the entries for taste, creativity and presentation.

The contestants will cook in the Tasting Arena that will be set up on the convention floor next to the vendor exhibitions. The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show is generally open only to restaurateurs and culinary professionals. But those holding a ticket to the Sous Chef Challenge will be allowed to wander the convention floor, where, not incidentally, there will be dozens of other food, beer and wine samples to taste.

Only 95 tickets are available to the general public. The cost is $35 and all proceeds from ticket sales will go to Give Kids the World. Tickets can be purchased at the Sous Chef Challenge event page.


TAstecfl logo

We’re less than a month away from Taste! Central Florida, Saturday, Sept. 14, from 6:45 to 10 p.m. at the Orlando World Center Marriott. This will be the 30th annual Taste! Central Florida, which is now in its third year.

I should explain. For the first 27 years, the event, which raises money and awareness for childhood hunger, was known as Taste of the Nation and was part of Share Our Strength. In 2017, the beneficiaries, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida took it local, so now all of the proceeds stay right here.

And those proceeds are sorely needed. Childhood hunger is persistent problem in Central Florida. The money raised at Taste! — more than $252,000 last year — fund community outreach programs to feed those in need. Thanks to a roster of volunteers — even the Marriott donates the space – 100 percent stays right here.

Also volunteering their time and talent are many of the area’s top chefs representing some of our best restaurants, including our friends at Raglan Road and Ritz-Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes, and a cadre of beverage representatives serving wine, beer and craft cocktails.


Kadence Painting

I would say that Kadence is one of the best restaurants in Central Florida but I’m not sure that it is. A restaurant, I mean.

Sure, it meets most of the criteria: It prepares and serves food for which customers pay; beverages are available; full service is provided.

But those components are applied in such a way as to produce something unique.

For starters, you don’t so much as make a reservation to dine here as you do buy a ticket. You essentially pay for your meal in advance and your purchase is nonrefundable, just as it would be if you were buying a ticket to a performance, which in a way you are. The policy helps to cut down on the number of no-shows and lessens the pain if a booked seat goes empty.

Because there are only nine seats in the place.