Barnie's Master Barista James Duncan Wins Latte Art Challenge in Shanghai Competition

Written by Scott Joseph on .

James_DuncanJames Duncan, the newly named master barista for Orlando based Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen, the rebranded Barnie’s Coffee & Tea, has won the Latte Art Challenge category at the Ultimate Barista Challenge in Shanghai.

The event took place during the 15th International Exhibition for Food, Drink, Hospitality, Foodservice, Bakery and Retail Industries. Duncan was the only representative from the United States.

“We’re so proud of James,” said president and CEO Jonathan Smiga.  “He is extremely talented, disciplined and passionate about his craft.  He’s a great asset to our team and we’re honored to have him represent our company.”

Duncan, originally from Texas, recently relocated to Central Florida to take the position of master barista as Barnie’s gears up to roll out more of its CoffeeKitchen concepts. His latte work may be seen upon his return at the Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen at 118 Park Ave. S., Winter Park.


Rocco's Tacos & Tequila Bar to Occupy Former Samba Room

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, a West Palm Beach chain, will open its first restaurant outside of South Florida in the former Samba Room on Sand Lake Road. This will be the company’s fifth restaurant and its largest, with 8200 square feet inside and a 2000 square foot patio and bar overlooking the lake.

Prato, New Restaurant from Luma on Park Crew, Opens on Park Avenue

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Prato, the new restaurant from the Luma on Park team, officially opens today after a VIP debut Monday night. Indeed, late last week the space, a former Ann Taylor retail store, was still in the throes of construction. But everything is now in place, and the cooks and servers are starting to become familiar with their new place. Prato is at 124 Park Ave. N., Winter Park. It will be open for lunch Wednesday through Sunday and dinner daily. Here's a link to The phone number is 407-262-0050.


Eat Local Week

Written by Scott Joseph on .

eat local weekEat Local Week, a celebration of local farmers and food producers and the restaurants that feature their wares,  kicks off Friday, November 11, 2011, and runs through the 18th. The week is sponsored by Slow Food Orlando to raise awareness about food that is produced in a sustainable and responsible manner and to showcase the high quality of locally produced foods.

The group has put together an impressive list of participating restaurants, which have set up special $15 (or less), $25, $35 or $45 prix fixe menus. All you have to do is choose from the list of restaurants, visit them during the week, and ask for the Eat Local Week menu.

The week will also feature special events, such as tours of local farms and meet-and-greets with producers.

From an environmental standpoint, locally-sourced food matters because it takes less fuel to transport the products from farm to market. Shipping over longer distances adds to pollution and requires more fossil fuels. From a business standpoint, it’s good for the community and local economy.

Below is a list of the participating restaurants. You can see more details, including downloadable menus, at