After just less than a year, Venoy Rogers III is leaving his post as executive chef at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando to join the Certified Angus Beef brand organization in Wooster, Ohio, near Akron. He will be executive chef for the company, which maintains a culinary center for recipe development and education experiences for chefs and restaurateurs interested in expanding their meat knowledge.

Rogers moved to the downtown hotel and its signature restaurant, the Boheme, last year from the B Resort at Walt Disney World where he oversaw the American Kitchen Bar & Grill. He had been at the B Resort since 2016 and had previously cooked at the Palm Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach and W in San Diego. He is a 2008 graduate of the Culinary Institute of Platt College in North Oklahoma City.


Seed Coasters

It’s Earth Day. But don’t worry if you’re not reading this on Friday, April 22 – all of April is considered Earth Month, too. (If you’re reading this in May, you missed it; and where have you been, anyway?)

And while you might think that a good tie-in for Earth MonthDay for a restaurant would be specials on mud pie or planet-based foods, some are going more flowery. Patina Restaurant Group’s Disney Springs restaurants – Morimoto Asia, The Edison, Maria and Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway and Pizza Ponte – are replacing their conventional coasters and beverage napkins with special paper coasters embedded with wildflower seeds. After you’ve consumed your refreshing beverage, you can take the coaster home and plant it in some dirt (if you’re in a hurry you can take the dirt with you to the restaurant). Then, after the appropriate germination period, lovely flowers will sprout. As far as I can tell, the plantable coasters will only be available during April. Then, presumably, it’s back to the old ones that eventually end up in the landfill.

Also part of Patina’s promotion: specials on Sierra Nevada’s Hazy Little Thing and Impossible Burgers. No mention of mud pie.

Also available on Earth Day only, 4 Rivers Smokehouses will be handing out pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds to dine-in customer. Just the seeds; you have to bring your own coaster. And dirt.


Lale ext

I don’t know why but whenever I consider places to dine on Park Avenue I usually begin my mental restaurant roll call at Lyman Avenue and head north from there. But of course that means I miss some others worth recommending that are on the lower end of the street, such as Cafe de France, which is one of the oldest restaurants on the avenue, Umi Japanese and Grato, a newcomer Italian.

Now add an even newercomer to the list, Lale a Mediterranean/Turkish restaurant that has moved into the compact space next to Umi (they’re so close to each other that it’s difficult to distinguish which sidewalk tables belong to which restaurant).


WCKPhoto: World Central Kitchen via Facebook

Members of World Central Kitchen, the humanitarian initiative established 12 years ago by chef José Andrés (Jaleo, Disney Springs), were injured Saturday in a missile attack while serving food from a relief kitchen in Kharkiv in northeastern Ukraine. Four staff members of Yaposhka, a ghost kitchen being used by WCK, were hospitalized with burns, some severe, after the Russian attack. All have since been released and have returned to duties.

WCK has been known for setting up stations to serve food to people in traumatizing situations, usually following natural disasters like hurricanes and floods. It also leapt into action in New York to provide food to first responders following the recent terrorist shooting in the subway. This is the first time it has set up operations in a war zone. It is serving nearly 300,000 meals daily in the war-torn country

Even before Saturday’s attack, several local fundraisers had been planned to benefit WCK’s efforts in Ukraine and the region, including neighboring countries that are taking in refugees. Now, those efforts seem even more urgent.

You can help by participating in one of these fundraising events. You can also make a contribution directly to the organization at World Central Kitchen.


Amare entrance

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin opened its new companion hotel, the Swan Reserve, in November. It’s distinguished from the two larger resorts – it sits separated across Epcot Resort Boulevard – with a more modern glass-and-steel design and the absence of frighteningly large creatures on its roof.

With the new hotel comes another signature restaurant, Amare, to join the likes Todd English’s bluezoo, Kimonos and Shula’s Steak House.

Amare is a Mediterranean restaurant whose name means to love. (It’s the verb form of the word as opposed to the noun. That’s amore.) However, the succinct menu has more of a Greek accent. The restaurant is described on the hotel’s website as casual upscale. I can agree with that. The decor is tastefully casual – it’s a breakfast, lunch and dinner venue – with bare blond wood tables set with blue and white chargers with a spirographic motif, cloth napkins, basket light fixtures, wood flooring and an open kitchen. Large windows from the second floor restaurant look out toward the other hotels.