Bruno Vrignon, executive chef at Epcot’s France pavilion, announced Friday that he was retiring after 38 years.

Vrignon, 61, has been chef at the pavilion since it opened, in 1982. Prior to that, he was chef de partie at Restaurant Paul Bocuse in Collonges-au-Mont-d’or, near Lyon, France. The French restaurants at Epcot, including Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul, are operated by JBI LLC, a company owned by Jerôme Bocuse, the son of the late master chef.

A native of St. Hilaire de Talmont, a village in western France, Vrignon’s first culinary job was preparing meals in a castle for a noble family. He also worked at L’Eaubergarde in Paris under Lucien Ogier and Jean Bordier before joining the Bocuse organization in 1980. He has cooked for the Dalai Lama at a benefit in New York and was the chef for the French team at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.


ravpigtogo ext

Since March, I’ve published approximately 40 reviews on takeout food from a variety of restaurants, and most of what I’ve sampled has made for good at-home eating.

But with the takeout I recently got from Ravenous Pig, I felt like I was having true “restaurant food” at home. What I mean is that even in takeout containers, the dishes from Ravenous Pig still had the sort of specialness that you’d expect if you were dining at the restaurant itself.


Tornatore still

In this episode of Scott’s Kitchen, chef Jason Wolfe of Tornatore’s Cafe & Pizzeria in College Park walks Scott through the process of making the fan-favorite dish Rigatoni alla Vodka, complete with death-defying flambé.

(If you don’t have a gas stovetop, you can flambé the vodka using a long-handled butane lighter.)

Watch the video, then give the recipe a try.


Blackbean plated

I had been anticipating visiting the new Black Bean Deli location in Winter Park. I wanted to see how the former Winnie’s Oriental Garden had been transformed into a Cuban deli.

But since I’m sticking with takeout cuisine for the time being, I’ll have to wait a while longer to see the inside of the new dining room. But I can tell you the quality of the food is just as good as it was when BBD was just a little pocket place on Orlando Avenue.

And Black Bean Deli is especially appropriate for takeout because that’s how it started out. The original location, at 325 S. Orlando Ave., had no tables. There was a shelf in front of the window and six stools for people who couldn’t wait to tear into their boxed food. But for the most part, you were expected to pick up your order at the counter and take it home.

In fact, for many years Black Bean Deli was a frequent winner of the Sentinel’s Foodie Award for Best Takeout, both the readers’ award and the critic’s (my) choice. That included the 2002 awards, which is the year that the longtime owners of Black Bean, Gladys and George Miavitz, who opened the restaurant in 1982, retired and sold the operation to Andres Corton.


covidPhoto courtesy Debbie Goetz, Your Community Paper

It has become de rigueur for restaurant owners to post their Covid-19 policies to assure the dining public of all the steps they’re taking to keep their staff and customers safe. Standard bullet points include requiring masks, gloves for staff, distancing between tables, frequent sanitation of touch points, and taking the temperature of all employees prior to their shift.

Steve Gunter, owner of the Tap Room at Dubsdread, is taking another proactive step: He’s testing every staff member once a week – at no cost to the employee – and he’s inviting members of the public to come in for a free test, too.

Tests are conducted in the ballroom at Dubsdread Monday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. Tests for the public are on a first come, first served basis. Reservations are required and can be made at this link. Gunter said the company administering the tests can handle 300 people.

The medical company, Alliance of Physicians Against Covid-19 (APAC), offers tests for both the presence of Covid-19 with a throat swab (instead of the more invasive nose swab) and for coronavirus antibodies, using a finger prick.

Gunter says Covid-19 test results have been coming back reliably within 72 hours and often as quickly as 48 hours. Antibody results are promised in 24 hours but have been ready in 12 to 15 hours, he said. Samples are tested using area hospitals and labs.

A free test for the virus, results faster than the state is promising, and a cocktail and good food at the Tap Room after. Win, win, win.