The restaurant formerly known as 1921 by Norman Van Aken has appointed Josh Oakley executive chef. Oakley was one of the founders of the Smiling Bison, which first opened in Orlando then Sanford. He sold his interest in the Bison in October.
Van Aken ended his association with 1921 in November, prompting the restaurant to change its name to 1921 Mount Dora. Van Aken was the restaurant’s executive chef, though Camilo Velasco ran day to day operations as chef de cuisine. Velasco parted with 1921 in December to take a position with Winter Park’s Ravenous Pig. Pastry chef Gloriann Rivera also left 1921 to join the Pig Rusty Spoon.
Just to tie all of this together, Oakley was also with the Ravenous Pig before opening Smiling Bison on Bennett Road in Orlando in 2013. A Sanford outpost of the Smiling Bison opened in November of 2015 and the original Orlando SB closed a year later.
Without a celebrity chef overseeing his work, Oakley should have free rein to make menu changes at 1921 Mount Dora. We’ll look forward to seeing what he does with the place.