Nina Compton

Nina Compton (above) of Compère Lapin in New Orleans, won the Best Chef: South title at the James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony in Chicago Monday night. JuneBaby, Seattle, was named Best New Restaurant (we'll see how it is when it's a JuneTeenager). Highlands Bar & Grill in Birmingham was named Outstanding Restaurant of the year and its pastry chef, Dolester Miles, was also cited.

The South region theoretically also includes Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi and Puerto Rico, as well as Florida. But over the last decade the awards have gone to a New Orleans chef a little too Big Easily. Compton's fellow nominees in the region were: Vishwesh Bhatt, Snackbar, Oxford, MS; Jose Enrique, Jose Enrique, San Juan, PR; Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus, Coquette, New Orleans; Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami; Slade Rushing, Brennan’s, New Orleans.

This year was the first in many that did not include any Central Florida chefs on even the preliminary ballot. No local chef has ever made it to the finals. (Norman Van Aken and Melissa Perry both won for restaurants out of the area before opening venues in Central Florida.)

Here is a link to the full list of winners at the Beard Foundation's website.

a la cart

Bullet Point Buffet: Tapas-sized nuggets suitable for sharing.

  • A full-time food-truck park to be called À La Cart Street Food and Craft Beer is planned for the Milk District. According to a press release, it will be located at 615 Irvington Ave., Orlando, which is one block east of Primrose Drive (and essentially behind Se7en Bites and Pho Hoa Noodle Soup). It will feature five full-time food trucks in an open-air pavilion with seating for 61 people. So, basically an outdoor food court? Mid summer is the target to open, so I'm guessing sometime after Labor Day and before Thanksgiving.

It's the Chow Hound Report for Friday, May 4, a roundup of the week's restaurant reviews and news from Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide.

Today, reviews of Chef Wang's Kitchen and AJ's Press in Longwood.

It's the Chow Hound Report for Friday, May 4, a roundup of the week's restaurant reviews and news from Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide.

Today, reviews of Chef Wang's Kitchen and AJ's Press in Longwood.

Bloody Mary bar
Mother's Day is May 13 (it's a Sunday this year). We're compiling a list of Mom Meals here. Click to see what's offered, and if you find soething you like, make a reservation right away. Mother's Day is the busiest day of the year for restaurants.

And restaurateurs, if you would like to submit your Mother's Day dining info, send us a note with all the details.