Voting ends Thursday, Nov. 9, in the preliminary round to decide which honey-based dessert will represent the area as its signature dish. There are 29 entries in the competition. The 10 top vote getters will be presented to a panel of judges on Nov. 16; the winner will be announced at Visit Orlando's annual meeting and luncheon on Dec. 7.
I will be a judge for the finals along with Art Smith of Homecoming Kitchen; Tish Boyle from Dessert Professional Magazine; and Lauren Delgado, food reporter at Orlando Sentinel.
The competition, which is being sponsored by Visit Orlando, was championed by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who challenged local chefs to come up with a food that could be touted as the area's signature dish. The focus was narrowed to a dessert featuring honey to highlight the abundance and variety of honeys produced in Central Florida.
Besides using honey as a major ingredient, the desserts were required to be available for ordering at a restaurant. Among the entries are:
Honey Dessert Trio from David Ramirez, available at Cala Bella at Rosen Shingle Creek
Honey Peach Streusal Coffee Cake (pictured at top), Stephane Cheramy, Highball & Harvest
Orange Blossom Baklava, Vassilis Coumbaros, Taverna Opa
Galberry Honey and Pecan Cake, Kathleen Blake, The Rusty Spoon
You can see the full list and place your vote at the Visit Orlando website.