New Restaurant Coming From Luma's McGlamery

Written by Scott Joseph on .

EXCLUSIVE -- Brandon McGlamery, the chef at Luma on Park who did so much to make that restaurant one of the top dining venues in town, is planning another restaurant near to that Park Avenue location.

The new restaurant will feature “wood-fired, Italian inspired” cuisine with almost everything cooked in two brick wood-burning ovens. The ovens are being hand-crafted in Naples, Italy, by an artisan oven maker. McGlamery says he and the new restaurant’s chef de cuisine, Matthew Cargo, are planning a trip to Italy soon and will visit the new ovens.

The restaurant, as yet unnamed, will occupy the former Ann Taylor women’s wear retail space. McGlamery and his partners, which include Brian France, the Nascar executive who is also a partner in Luma, are aiming for a fall opening.

McGlamery says the restaurant will be “more accessible” with a lower price point but with the same sort of creativity found at Luma. There will be no cross-over of dishes between the two restaurants, although they may share local ingredient sourcing.

Cargo has been working with McGlamery for four years and has represented Luma at various events. I’ve been impressed with some of the dishes he’s created.

Watch for more details as they develop.


White Wolf Cafe Will Present an Evening of Molecular Gastronomy

Written by Scott Joseph on .

The menu for a special dinner being presented by White Wolf Cafe Friday evening might need a little explaining. Some of the ingredients listed include air, clouds, dust and dirt. Truffled dirt, to be exact.

They’re some of the ingredients that chef Jason Schofield has planned for an evening of molecular gastronomy and sous vide cooking to be presented Friday, May 27, 2011, in the White Wolf’s Harrison Graham dining space.

What is molecular gastronomy? At its simplest it is the incorporation of chemistry and physics into the preparation of food. That’s certainly nothing new; those principles have been applied for eons -- just consider the transformation of egg yolks and oil into a semi-solid mayonnaise, for example.

But newer techniques go way beyond simple emulsification. Chefs might incorporate liquid nitrogen, dehydrators or even carbon dioxide to create new forms of familiar flavors.

Pizzeria to Occupy Former Hot Olives Space

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Old_Hot_OlivesArmando Martorelli, owner of the very good Trattoria Toscana on Park Avenue, is taking over the old Hot Olives space in Winter Park’s West End. The new restaurant will be called, curiously enough, Armando’s, and will be primarily a pizzeria with other foods, such as pastas and antipastos.

Martorelli told me that he has installed an authentic Neopolitan brick pizza oven that is combination gas and wood-burning. The restaurant will also feature a large antipasto table in the center of the room filled with cheeses and meats and fish dishes, the items found in typical Italian trattorias.

One of the building’s distinguishing characteristics -- its openness and feeling of al fresco dining even though under the roof -- will be changed and the restaurant will be more enclosed. There will be, however, according to Martorelli, an indoor and outdoor bar (it’s visible now to those driving down New England Avenue, he says.)

The existing site also had a notoriously small kitchen that hampered previous tenants. Martorelli says he is converting the current kitchen to basic dishwashing and storage duties and will expand the new kitchen in about the only way possible -- by moving it outdoors.

Armando’s is aiming for a September opening. Martorelli says he plans to keep Trattoria Toscana open, at least for a while.


2011 Chef's Gala is Saturday

Written by Scott Joseph on .


Some of the chefs from the 2010 Chef's Gala. Many of them will be back at Saturday's event at Walt Disney World.
As you prepare to slog through another week, I hope you have Saturday’s Chef’s Gala in mind. It’ll help you get through the workweek knowing that the area’s premier charitable food and wine event is waiting at the other end.


Chef’s Gala benefits Heart of Florida United Way’s local health and human services that provide food, shelter and other services to Central Floridians in need. You know there’s a need -- even more so than in years past. This great organization would be worthy to just write out a generous check. But here’s a chance to contribute and also enjoy some pretty fabulous food and wine. (You can also write a generous check if you wish.)

Chef’s Gala will once again be in the ginormous World Showplace at Epcot. The voluminous venue allows guests to move about the food and wine stations without being jostled and crammed. Walt Disney World, which has hosted and sponsored the event for 19 years, always does a terrific job with setting the proper party mood. (In fact, the Chef’s Galas are very similar to the Party for the Senses events during the Epcot International Food & Wine Event, and you know how much fun those are.

Of course, for Party for the Senses, you have to buy a ticket to get into Epcot, then park in the main lot and walk all around the World Showcase to get to the Showplace. By the time you get there you’re all hot and sticky. Those attending Chef’s Gala are directed to a special area of the parking lot where air-conditioned buses wait to drive you through Epcot’s backstage area -- which itself is a treat if you’ve never seen it -- right to the door of the World Showplace. You arrive fresh as a daisy, especially a daisy decked out in cocktail attire (that means suits for the gentlemen, gentlemen).

And once you’re inside, you’ll be treated to a champagne and martini reception and a silent auction. Then it’s inside to the main event. There will be approximately 20 stations this year from some of Central Florida’s and WDW’s top culinary talent. There will be Kouzzina by Cat Cora and La Luce by Donna Scala (Scala’s food was my favorite last year with her scotch pudding made with real Macallen Scotch; can’t wait to see what she has this year). Also in the lineup: Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion; Napa; Todd English’s bluezoo; Primo by Melissa Kelly; Artist Point; and a bunch of others. Trust me, you’re not leaving this thing hungry. Or thirsty. The wines are always top-notch. In fact, I often find a new favorite to stock up on.

Individual tickets are $225 and couples tickets are $400. You can purchase online by going to the 2011 Chef’s Gala site.

Reception and silent auction begin at 6:45 p.m. Saturday; curtains to the main event open at 7:30. Last buses leave to take you back to the parking lot when the event ends at 10 (buses shuttle continuously throughout the evening, so you can leave whenever you’re full). I’ll be there; hope you will be, too.