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Sous Chef Grouper

Jacob Rios of B Resorts is the winner of Scott Joseph's Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing. Rios competed along with five other sous chefs in the competition, which was part of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show this past weekend at the Orange County Convention Center.

Sous Chef Rios 2The chefs were challenged to create a dish they thought would represent a coming trend, whether it be an ingredient, a cooking style or a presentation.

Rios' dish was Herb Crusted Florida Black Grouper with sweet potato puree with house-made butters. Rios said that it was "the next big thing" because "making and producing as much as possible in house" is becoming popular. "I feel this concept is more than just a trend, is a movement designed to change the culture on how we eat," he said.

The other chefs included Edwin Fernandez of the J.W. Marriott, Grande Lakes Resort; Porter Holloway, Urban Tide; Denny Roach, Walt Disney World All Star Resort; Maelo Cotto, RusTeak; and Kent Rustin, Hamilton's Kitchen.

The event was sponsored by the American Culinary Federation, which provided the prize of $1000 for the winner, and Sysco and FreshPoint, which provided ingredients for the chefs.

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Blake and Beacon

Orlando chef and restaurateur Kathleen Blake was presented the 2018 Beacon Award at the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Show Friday. The Beacon Award is presented by the Foodservice Council for Women and The Food Shows to recognize a woman in the industry for her leadership and inspiration.

Blake, owner of the Rusty Spoon in downtown Orlando, has been active in Women Chefs & Restaurateurs, an organization dedicated to promoting and advancing female culinary professionals. Last year, she launched Pioneers & Legends, a local fundraiser supporting the James Beard Foundation's work in advancing women in culinary. She has been nominated for a Beard award as Best Chef-South Region multiple times.

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FRLA floor

Spending some time today at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show at the Orange County Convention Center.

This morning, I presented my Diner’s Bill of Rights and explained the new Scott Joseph’s Server Training Course. This afternoon, I’m helping to judge a cooking challenge.

Tomorrow I’m hosting my Sous Chef Challenge: The Next Big Thing and you’re invited to come out and watch and, of course, taste. The show is not open to the general public, but if you get your ticket at this link, you can come on in and experience the Challenge and see all the vendors on the convention floor. We’ll be in the West Concourse and it starts at 11 a.m. Tickets are just $30.

FRLA dishes

Everything you can imagine that might be involved in a restaurant is being displayed (and sold) here, from dishes to furniture and food. Lots of food.

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Tin and Taco case

When it opened in downtown Orlando, in early 2017, Tin & Taco did little to elevate the "things in a tortilla" category. I wasn't overwhelmed by what I tasted; I wasn't underwhelmed, either. I was just whelmed.

So I was a bit bemused to learn that T&T would be opening a second location, in the SoDo district less than three miles away. What could they possibly have learned in a short time to warrant a second location?

A lot, it would seem.