Matchbook Memories is an occasional series or restaurant remembrances based on matchbooks picked up at host stands from around the world, and especially Central Florida.
The building that now houses Ravenous Pig, and before that its sister restaurant Cask & Larder, for many years was home to what many considered to be one of the area’s swankiest restaurants: Le Cordon Bleu.
It was owned by Swiss-trained chef George Vogelbacher and his wife, Monique, who ran the front of the house. Its menu, of course, was classic French. It seems odd now but when I first arrived in Orlando in the late eighties, there were few restaurants specializing in French cuisine. By that time, Le Cordon Bleu, which predated the now-defunct local chapter of the cooking school with the same name, had been around for a couple of decades, since 1968.
I first reviewed the restaurant in early 1989, during my first year at the Sentinel as I made my way around to check out the longtime local favorites. My review has been lost to the electronic gods who oversee newspaper archives, but I remember my assessment was less than a rave. More than the food, I took issue with the decor, which I recall featured a lot of red-flocked wallpaper. I seem to remember having a discussion with my editor about whether or not I could use the word whorehouse. I could not. I might have gotten the words French cathouse past the copy desk.