Jetport Food and Wine Festival Will Be Star-Studded Culinary Event

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Daniel Boulud
Paul Liebrandt
Norman Van Aken

The list of chefs participating in this year’s Jetport Food & Wine Festival has grown, and grown increasingly more impressive. I had told you previously that Daniel Boulud of Daniel in New York and Cafe Boulud at the Brazilian Court in Palm Beach, would be there. Joining him will be several of the culinary world’s elite, including: Scott Boswell, chef/owner, Stella! and Stanley, New Orleans; Georges Perrier, owner and founder of Le Bec Fin, Philadelphia; Timothy Hollingsworth, executive chef, The French Laundry, Napa; and Paul Liebrandt, chef/owner, Corton, NYC.

Norman Van Aken, owner of Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, is also listed among the celebrity chefs in attendance.

The above list includes three finalists for 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards. Boulud’s Daniel is nominated for Best Restaurant, Boswell is a finalist for Best Chef, South region, and Hollingsworth, who represented the U.S. at Bocuse d’Or, is nominated for Rising Star Chef of the Year. (Boulud and Van Aken are previous Beard winners.)

The visiting chefs will cook alongside some of Central Florida’s star chefs. Besides Van Aken, they include: Kevin Fonzo, K Restaurant, College Park; Greg Richie, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop, Orlando; Brandon McGlamery, Luma, Winter Park; Jerome Bocuse and Bruno Vrignon, Chefs de France, Epcot; and Jens Dahlmann, executive chef, Epcot. Other restaurants represented include Circa, Seito Sushi, Tutto Italia, San Angel Inn, Blue Martini, Bice, Bruno White Food, Douce France Bakery, and Notter School of Pastry Art.

The Jetport Food and Wine Festival is unique among area tasting events in that it is held in and around a hangar at the Kissimmee Airport and includes an air show, exotic car and private jet displays, and a runway fashion show by Saks Fifth Avenue. The hangar is transformed to a massive nightclub for the evening, with music, lights and, of course, plenty of food and wine. I attended last year, and I was impressed with this event. This is one I urge you to attend.

Part of the Celebration Exotic Car Festival, the Jetport Food and Wine Festival is a fundraiser for Special Olympics Florida. The event is Friday, April 16, 2010, from 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $100 per person prior to April 1 and $125 thereafter, if available. No tickets will be available at the door. For ticket information, visit the Web site for Celebration Exotic Cars.

Finalists Announced for 2010 James Beard Foundation Awards

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The James Beard Foundation announced today the finalists for the 2010 James Beard Awards. The list was read at a press conference at the Palace Cafe in New Orleans.

The five finalists for the South region, which includes Florida, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, are: Zach Bell of Cafe Boulud at the Brazilian Court in Palm Beach; Michael Schwartz, Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, Miami; Christopher Hastings, Hot & Hot Fish Club, Birmingham; John Harris, Lilette, New Orleans; and Scott Boswell, Stella!, New Orleans.

For the top awards, nominees for Outstanding Chef are: Jose Andres, Minibar, Washington, D.C.; Tom Collicchio, Craft, New York; Gary Danko, Restaurant Gary Danko, San Francisco; Suzanne Goin, Lucques, Los Angeles; and Charles Phan, The Slanted Door, San Francisco.

Outstanding Restaurant finalists are: Babbo, NYC; Boulevard, San Francisco; Daniel, NYC; Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham; and Spiaggia, Chicago.

Although no local chefs made the final cut, the long list of nominees included two area chefs: Scott Hunnel of Victoria & Albert's, a previous nominee, and Keven Fonzo of K Restaurant. Both are certain to appear as nominees again.

If a Central Florida connection can be made through any of these nominations, it's via Spiaggia and chef/partner Tony Mantuano. The Levy Restaurants chef developed the new menu for the revamped Portobello at Downtown Disney. To download a complete list of finalists, including journalist awards, click this link .

The James Beard restaurant awards will be announced in a ceremony at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall on Monday, May 3.

Fess Parker, King of the Wild Frontier, Winemaker, Dead at 85

Written by Scott Joseph on .

DanielBooneDVDDaniel Boone is dead. So is Davy Crockett. That doesn’t sound like news, but to anyone who was a child in the ‘50s and ‘60s, that means Fess Parker is dead, too. Parker died Thursday at the age of 85. Parker personified the legendary personalities of Boone and Crockett in Disney movies and television shows. He was one of the few people who could look good in a coon-skin cap.

After his movie career had cooled, when he was in his sixties, Parker pursued a dream he had had for many years, to own a winery. He started Parker Wines in the early ‘90s, and his product earned some critical praise. (The winery would eventually add his first name to the label to take advantage of his considerable name recognition -- marketing is everything.)

Parker visited Central Florida in early 1992 as part of the Walt Disney World Village Wine Festival, the precursor to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. To tout his wines, he agreed to have dinner with the restaurant critic and wine writer for the local newspaper.

I remember arriving at his Disney Village townhouse to pick him up. I remember thinking he really is a big man as he walked into the room and shook my hand. I remember some of the things we talked about at dinner, including politics. (It was pretty evident our views weren’t the same, so we quickly moved on to other topics.

I remember that “Old Yeller” had just been released on VHS that week or the week before. Movies coming out on tape was a fairly new innovation. Parker said he hadn’t been aware of the release. I wanted to tell him what an impact the movie had on me, that I remembered seeing “Old Yeller” as a child, at a drive-in, with my family, and how I was certain it was the first movie that brought me to tears with its ending. It still can. But I didn’t. When you’re sitting at a table with Daniel Boone, you somehow don’t want to admit crying like a baby at one of his movies.

I remember a great deal about that dinner, including what a charming, gentle gentleman Fess Parker was. But I can’t for the life of me remember what restaurant we were at. It doesn’t matter.

My account of the meeting ran in the February 7, 1992, edition of Calendar. Read it below.

Win Dinner With Scott at Crave

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Stop by Booth 756 at the Central Florida Home & Garden Show this weekend for a chance to win dinner for two with me. You’ll go with me when I visit Crave, the new restaurant opening April 12 near Mall at Millenia, and I’ll use your quotes in my review. All you have to do is fill out an entry form at the booth. I will also have free copies of Orlando Home & Leisure magazine and the new food section called Flavor while supplies last.

Also Friday at the Home Show, Tim Keating, executive chef at Flying Fish Cafe on Disney’s BoardWalk will be doing a demonstration at noon in the Grilling Garden. At 2:30, Dan Drayer has fish and steak (I believe he’s bringing some Kobe beef!) to grill -- and sample.

Sunday at 12:30 p.m. in the Grilling Garden, John Rivers of Four Rivers Smokehouse is going to show you how to make a pizza on the grill. He’ll be using some of the delicious brisket that has people lining out the door of his Winter Park ‘cue joint. (Yes, you’ll get samples of that, too.) And award-winning pastry chef Laurent Branlard will demonstrate a very special kind of ‘smores at 4.

In between the cooking demos on Sunday, at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., I’ll be helping master sommelier Brian Koziol with tastings of Mondavi Wines.

Saturday evening, of course, is the big food & wine event benefitting the Little Haiti House, the manufactured homes that Harris Rosen is sending to the earthquake devastated region. Chefs David Ramirez, Michael Mullen, Jorge Olivera and Michael Rumplik will prepare such items as Focaccia-Crusted Lamb Chops, Tropical Crab Cakes with Mango Salsa, Tobias-Braised Short Ribs, Pan-Seared Diver Scallops, and Chocolate Sabayon for dessert. In addition, we'll be pouring wines from Rodney Strong and Opici. The chefs are going to demonstrate their dishes there, too.

If you don’t yet have your tickets to the Home Show, click here and enter promotional code SJO for a special $6 ticket. Tickets to Saturday’s food & wine event, from 6-9 p.m., are $25 -- that ticket also gets you into the show Saturday, so you don’t have to purchase a separate ticket.

It’s going to be a lot of fun, so come on out. And stop by Booth 756 to say hi and enter to win dinner at Crave!