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Divas Cauliflower

Calling all cauliflower heads! Try this crisp-tender mélange featuring golden, pan-roasted cauliflower, tossed with garlic, then simmered in marinara. Of course you could stop right there, but the divas prefer to top things off with a nutty mix of feta, asiago and shredded mozzarella cheeses. And for added color and a fresh herbal edge, Italian basil is scattered over all. It's as delicious as a gooey square of mom's lasagna, without the huge carb overload.

As most cauliflower enthusiasts know, the trick is in caramelizing the veggie to bring out the natural sweetness. We love this one-dish wonder as a quick weeknight supper, or for brunch with poached or scrambled eggs. On the side, serve up some crusty bread or a chopped arugula salad, tossed in lemon fresh lemon juice and your very best extra-virgin olive oil.

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Chef Mariano Vegel copyChef Jadan Sheive

Jadan Sheive has been named executive chef for JW Marriott Orlando. He replaces Chris Brown, who last month was appointed director of food and beverage at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando. Both properties are on the Grande Lakes estate.

JW Marriott also announced that Mariano Vegel will be taking over as chef de cuisine at its top restaurant, Primo by Melissa Kelly. Vegel replaces Gilberto Ramirez, who has moved to a JW Marriott in Austin.

Sheive (above right), who worked with Kelly at her flagship restaurant in Maine, was part of the opening team of Primo when it opened at Grande Lakes in 2003. Most recently he was executive chef at the company's Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. He will oversee all of the hotel's restaurants, banquet operations and the property's Whisper Creek Farms, as well as the upcoming Whisper Creek Farms: The Kitchen. Sheive is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America.

Vegel, who graduated from the Argentine Institute of Gastronomy, has been with the Orlando JW Marriott since 2006 in various positions and venues.

It isn't unusual to see chefs move around — as a group, they are a peripatetic lot. But this latest round of Musical Chefs tells us two things: The JW Marriott people like to hire within and honor loyal workers, and chefs obviously like working for the company.

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CEC Four Seasons

I've always enjoyed the food and wine element of the annual Celebration Exotic Car Festival because they always do a classy presentation. This year, they're trying something different: a seated dinner featuring Champagne Taittinger and ZD Wines. And the venue is the new Four Seasons Resort, which is just the sort of place you'd expect to see Lamborghinis, Ferraris and DeLoreans drive up to.

CEC taittingerThe dinner is Saturday, April 11, and begins at 7:30 p.m. with a Champagne reception with hors d'oeuvres on the resort's terrace overlooking its pools and the lake beyond.

The eight-course dinner (yes, eight courses) will be in the Four Season's ballroom (see below for the planned menu). While guests finish with dessert and Fonseca Bin 27 port, comedian and Saturday Night Live alum Joe Piscopo will entertain.

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To commemorate its 10th anniversary this year, Downtown Disney's Raglan Road is hosting a cooking contest for the title of Raglan Road Master Chef. In this case, Road is a key word because the finalists will take a little road trip to Ireland for the finals.

Kevin Dundon announced the competition at a luncheon Wednesday at the Irish themed restaurant. Amateur cooks are invited to submit a video featuring a three-course menu they think would best commemorate the anniversary. Five finalists will be chosen to fly to Ireland to stay at Dundon's Dunbrody Country House and Hotel in Southwestern Ireland.

The full details of the contest won't be announced until Monday on the restaurant's website, but keep this in mind: Finalists must have a valid passport and be able to travel to Ireland on May 21 from Orlando International Airport, returning on May 26. While at Dunbrody, the finalists will cook with Dundon and visit local fisheries and farms where he sources his ingredients. The winner, however, will not be announced until October at a private 10th anniversary dinner back in Florida at Raglan Road.

Watch for more details soon.

 

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310 patio

Whenever I visit 310 Lakeside, I always go in with the hope that it will suddenly have been transformed into a restaurant befitting its location. My hopes are always dashed. A recent brunch visit didn't change that.

310 Lakeside is the restaurant in an office building on Central Boulevard across the street from lovely Lake Eola. The glass and steel structure wants a power-lunch mien; the lake-view patio wants tasteful elegance. Neither is fully met.