Branlard, waving goodbye to Central Florida, heads for Miami's Fountainbleu

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Branlard headshotLaurent Branlard, the award-winning pastry chef, is leaving the Lake Nona Wave hotel just months after its opening to take the pastry chef position at the Fountainbleu Miami Beach.

Branlard is the only person to win the World Pastry Team Championship competition twice, in 2002 and again in 2008. He said Monday that he had been recruited by a headhunter to move to the fabled Miami hotel. He’ll be leaving Florida’s newest hotel for one of its older

Just last week, we reviewed Bacán, the signature restaurant at the Wave and singled out Branlard’s dessert as one of many hight points.

Prior to joining the Lake Nona Wave, Branlard had been at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort since 2002. When he announced in October that he was taking the position at the then not-yet-open Wave, he told me that one of the attractive points was that it was a boutique hotel with only 234 rooms. “We won’t have to mass feed and do mass banquets,” he said then.

Newsy Nuggets: An Edible anniversary, Magic money, Knife Burger opening, chef news and more

Written by Scott Joseph on .

EEE exteriorPhoto: Edible Education Experience via Facebook

Edible Education Experience, the nonprofit that operates the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden in College Park, is celebrating its fifth anniversary with two special dinners, Sunday, April 10, and Monday, April 11.

Resident chef Kevin Fonzo will be joined by culinary compatriots from throughout the area to cook the dinners. Sunday’s dinner will feature Jason Wolfe of Tornatore’s; Michael Collantes, Soseki; Hari and Jenneffer Pulapaka, Global Cooking School; Jamie McFadden, Cuisiniers Catering; and Trina Gregory-Propst, Se7en Bites.

Monday will feature Wendy Lopez; Reyes Mezcalaria; Lordfer Lalicon, Kadence; Fabrizio Schenardi, Four Seasons; and Julie Petrakis, Ravenous Pig.

Tickets are $150 plus gratuity and you can purchase them online here for Sunday and here for Monday. Both dinners begin at 6 p.m.

The second Orlando Wine Festival & Auction, which was slapped together in just 45 days, raised nearly $750,000 for the Orlando Magic’s Youth Foundation, which serves at-risk kids in Central Florida. The event, which was held at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes last month, included a wine and food tasting event Saturday afternoon and a live auction and formal dinner that night. Attendees who purchased packages that started at $2500 for two people, also received tickets to the Magic’s game the next day and will be invited to a ceremony presenting the funds on April 10.

Speaking of Grande Lakes, John Tesar, who fronts the Ritz-Carlton’s Knife & Spoon, will softly open his casual Knife Burger this weekend at the JW Marriott there.

Dr. Phillips Charities, which is developing the Packing District near Orange Blossom Trail and Princeton Street, has tapped Hospitality HQ to run the food hall that will be located there. HHQ is headed by Akhtar Nawab, a New York-based chef, and currently operates food halls (foods hall? feed halls?) in Brooklyn, New Orleans, Chicago and Philadelphia. Construction won’t begin until August, which probably means it won’t begin until after the first of the year, so...a December 2024 opening? Any wagers? The development will also include a seven story hotel, a signature restaurant and bar (currently unsigned) and a microbrewery.

Speaking of microbreweries, we have many. But the Mills 50 district will be getting the area’s first micromeadery. Zymarium Meadery is taking over the Orange Studio – you know, that studio, the orange one – at 1121 Mills Ave. Later this year, maybe.

In other chef news, Huy Tin, who has been with Seito Sushi Baldwin Park since 2012 and was promoted to executive chef in 2017, has been named chef/partner. And New York-based Hung Huynh has joined Orlando’s Omei Restaurant Group (Bento, Doshibox, Collab Kitchen) as its director of culinary innovation. Huynh, a winner of tv’s Top Chef, has also collaborated with Orlando’s Earl Enterprises to open Asian Street Eats by Chef Hung Huynh, a fast-food concept at LAX.

Omei’s Johnny Tung wrote on his Facebook page: “My goal is to keep great chefs that come through Orlando to stay and help build our community into a nationally and internationally recognized food city. With Michelin now coming we have to take advantage of this momentum and help retain culinary talents such as Chef Hung.” I like that thinking.

Science of Wine returns April 23

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Sponsored

SOW2020

The Science of Wine, the deliciously educational event benefitting the Orlando Science Center, returns this year on Saturday, April 23, from 7 to 10 p.m. throughout the Loch Haven Park facility.

This is the 10th annual SOW (even though the ninth annual event was in 2019) and it combines the enjoyment of savoring wines – more than 150 – with some oenological learnin’. But don’t worry, there will not be a quiz and the only way you can fail is to not show up.

SOW patioPhotos by Roberto Gonzalez Photography

It’s a walkabout event with wine pouring stations set up throughout the Science Center and spilling onto its rooftop balcony with terrific views of the part and Orlando’s skyline. Interspersed among the wine stations you’ll find numerous food stations hosted by area restaurants. Participants include: Yak and Yeti, Black Rooster, Hungry Pants, 4Rivers Smokehouse, Tim Webber, Sonny’s BBQ, and Bonefish Grill.

Monday Meals

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Many restaurants close on Mondays, but these restaurants are open and recommended. Be sure to call ahead before going – hours are subject to change.

BoVine, the upscale restaurant on Winter Park's Park Avenue, serves its premium steaks on Mondays. Sit on the patio to people watch or in the dining room for quiet conversation. But do be sure to have one of the fine steaks.

BoVine, the upscale restaurant on Winter Park's Park Avenue, serves its premium steaks on Mondays. Sit on the patio to people watch or in the dining room for quiet conversation. But do be sure to have one of the fine steaks.

Delaney's Tavern south of downtown is a great spot for any day but especially Mondays. The Shrimp & Scallops with Purple grits is a favorite.

Delaney's Tavern south of downtown is a great spot for any day but especially Mondays. The Shrimp & Scallops with Purple grits is a favorite.

Hangry Bison is a great spot to satisfy a Monday burger urge. Besides the original in Winter Park Village, a new HB recently opened in Winter Garden.

Hangry Bison is a great spot to satisfy a Monday burger urge. Besides the original in Winter Park Village, a new HB recently opened in Winter Garden.

The Whiskey, the popular Restaurant Row bar and grill, is another place for a start of the week burger – and a good stiff drink, too.

The Whiskey, the popular Restaurant Row bar and grill, is another place for a start of the week burger – and a good stiff drink, too.

Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe is a recent winner of our Best New Restaurant Foodster Award for Independent Restarants. Besides a great view, Russell's has terrific food, including a tuna tartare appetizer.

Russell's on Lake Ivanhoe is a recent winner of our Best New Restaurant Foodster Award for Independent Restarants. Besides a great view, Russell's has terrific food, including a tuna tartare appetizer.

Tabla, the fine-dining Indian restaurant, now has three locations, in Orlando, Winter Park and Lake Nona. They all have the same great food, and it's all available on Mondays.

Tabla, the fine-dining Indian restaurant, now has three locations, in Orlando, Winter Park and Lake Nona. They all have the same great food, and it's all available on Mondays.

Perennial favorite Tap Room at Dubsdread is great any day, but it's especially nice to know it's open on Mondays. Burgers and steaks are the usual go-to here, but the seafood deserves equal attention.

Perennial favorite Tap Room at Dubsdread is great any day, but it's especially nice to know it's open on Mondays. Burgers and steaks are the usual go-to here, but the seafood deserves equal attention.

Saffron, another Restaurant Rower, is also a good choice for Indian cuisine. And it's open for lunch and dinner on Mondays.

Saffron, another Restaurant Rower, is also a good choice for Indian cuisine. And it's open for lunch and dinner on Mondays.

Sear + Sea at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek has a beautiful veranda overlooking said creek. The menu is balanced between meat and seafood options, and it's all good.

Sear + Sea at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek has a beautiful veranda overlooking said creek. The menu is balanced between meat and seafood options, and it's all good.