Jason WolfeJason Wolfe – Photo via Tornatore's Facebook page.

Jason Wolfe, who became the executive chef at Tornatore’s Ristorante nearly three and a half years ago, is leaving the popular College Park restaurant. His final day in the kitchen is Saturday, April 22.

In a text message Friday, Wolfe wrote, “I have many opportunities lining up [but I’m] just not sure the direction I’m going to go just yet.” He said he’s looking for a position that will allow him to spend more time with his 19-month-old son. He said that he is considering starting a private-chef business but realizes that in the meantime he will have to “keep the lights on and food on the table while I build it. Going to take this week to decide which direction to go in.”

Denny Tornatore texted that he will step back into the role of executive chef. “I will be taking over the kitchen like I did the first 11 years here,” he wrote. He added that he and Wolfe are “best friends and I wish him the best."

“I have 30 years experience cooking Italian food so I will bring it back to the classics that we built our restaurant on,” Tornatore said. “I am actually excited to get back in there.”


Kaya front

I drove past the building twice, drove around the block thinking that I was mistaken which street it was on, then finally pulled over and entered “Kaya” into my Google Maps app.

I was sitting directly in front of it.

And if the transformation of the exterior of the building, an old house in the Mills 50 District that for the last couple of decades was Dandelion Community Cafe, is surprising – it helps that it is no longer painted kelly green – the changes to the interior are even more stunning.


Epcot Food and Wine

Walt Disney World culinears have have announced the dates for the 2023 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and while for the past several years the fest has been getting longer, this year it will be shorter.

Mind you, it will still run a pretty long while, from July 27 through November 18. Last year it started on July 14 and ended Nov. 19, but not everything opened right away; certain marketplaces – the food stands set up throughout the theme park – didn’t open until mid August.

Still waiting on word about whether the festival will return to its prepandemic schedule of events. Last year we were still missing winemaker-hosted tastings, special luncheons and wine dinners, and the splashy Party for the Senses, which had previously run most Saturday nights during the event’s run.


Barnies23 ext

Barnie’s Coffee & Tea, the homegrown caffeinator, had big plans when it opened Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen in late 2011. Previously serving mainly the hot beverages stipulated in its name, the one-unspaced-word CoffeeKitchen featured a menu by Camilo Velasco, a chef who had previously cooked at Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton.

So the Barnie’s bunch was clearly serious about adding a food element, and the Park Avenue location became the prototype for what was planned to multiple locations.

But for some reason – certainly not Velasco’s food – the concept lagged and the CoffeeKitchen branding quietly went away. It was once again good ol’ Barnie’s Coffee & Tea, and the company focused on putting its products on to supermarket shelves. (Velasco moved on, first to 1921 by Norman Van Aken then to Ravenous Pig and currently chef de cuisine at Tiffins at Animal Kingdom.)

But food is back at the Winter Park Barnie’s, with a menu that perhaps is not as ambitious as before but more than just a few pastries as you might find at other coffee shops. And, no, CoffeeKitchen has not returned. Now it’s just referred to as the flagship cafe (flagship being a freighted word that implies others to follow, though I don’t know if that’s the case).