Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival Will Welcome Belgium and South Korea

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Belgium and South Korea will be represented in the marketplace kiosks at this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and there will be new menu offerings from returning countries, such as Singapore, Argentina, Chile, Poland, South Africa, Australia, Spain and the U.S.A.

The fest, which will run from October 1 through November 14, marks the 15th year for the event. Over the six weeks, guests can sample food and wines from across the world, attend cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, bottle signings and author events. Among the celebrity chefs scheduled to attend this year are Warren Brown, Cat Cora, Todd English, Gale Gand, Robert Irvine, Art Smith and Andrew Zimmern.

Something new this year: a festival preview night on September 30 called First Bites, to be held in the Festival Welcome Center, with sips and samples from an array of kiosks and vendors.

Also new, Disney’s Dessert Discovery (3D) that will put a pastry-otic twist on the Party for the Senses experience. Like the Parties, 3D tastings will be held in the World Showplace.

So far there are not a lot of specific dates for some of the events, and no word on pricing. Also, a date for ticket sales has not yet been announced.

More details soon.

Kevin Fonzo Headed to White House to Take Part in First Lady's Program

Written by Scott Joseph on .

fonzoKevin Fonzo, chef/owner of K Restaurant in College Park, is heading to the White House June 4 to participate in Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” program, part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign to fight childhood obesity.

Trish Shawn of Deep Creek Ranch and Orlando Slow Food nominated Fonzo and was invited to go along. The two will attend a breakfast sponsored by Share Our Strength then participate in a seminar on the South Lawn where they will mee Michelle Obama. They'll wrap up with a tour of the White House’s vegetable and herb garden, which was started by Obama a year ago.

Chefs Move to Schools will pair chefs with schools in their communitites to 
bring fun to fruits and vegetables,” according to a blog post by White House assistant chef Sam Kass, and “teach kids about food, nutrition and cooking in an engaging way.”

This is not a foreign concept for Fonzo; in fact, he’s a front-runner in this initiative. Last year he started working -- during the day, when he wasn’t overseeing his restaurants -- with Orlando Junior Academy to improve its school lunch program. "I'm a big believer that we shouldn't be feeding our kids crap," Fonzo said in an article written by Linda Shrieves at the Orlando Sentinel. "I wanted the kids to eat real food, including as much organically grown food as possible – not just the empty carbs and sugars that kids get in most school lunches."

The school year has ended, but not Fonzo’s commitment. He has committed to spearheading the school's lunch program when the school year starts in August.

The White House is calling on other chefs to get involved with schools in their communities. (Central Florida is a large community, and more chefs are needed to follow Fonzo’s lead.) To find out how you can get involved, visit the Chefs Move to Schools page of the USDA’s Web site. School administrators can visit the site to learn how they can pair up with a chef, too.

We Have a Dinner Winner - 2 More Drawings to Go

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Vivien Obritis is the winner of dinner for two at La Nuova Cucina this Thursday. But there are still two more dinners and two more chances for you to win.

All you have to do is what Viv did: sign up to receive my monthly newsletter. Names will be drawn from that pool. (You can sign up by filling in the form on the right side of the page; if you're already signed up, you're already entered to win.) Don't worry, I won't spam you, and I won't share your e-mail address with anyone else. The newsletter is simply a way to share some special deals and newsy news with those who like to know about what's happening with area restaurants. People like you.

And that's why I think you'll like the dinner we have planned at La Nuova Cucina. The remaining dates are June 2 and 8. Drawings will be held 5/26 and 6/3, so get your name in early.

Food & Art for Thought Will Offer PEAS of Mind

Written by Scott Joseph on .

On Thursday, May 20th, the PEAS Foundation (that’s Produce Eating Alternatives Simply) will have its first fund-raising event, Food & Art for Thought, benefitting the Hi-Five Kids Pack Program. Hi-Five provides nutritious meals to children who don’t have access to school cafeterias during the weekends. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida partners with 15 public elementary schools that have a significant percentage of student participation in free and reduced lunch programs.

Food & Art for Thought will feature food art. What does that mean? It’s not food that looks too pretty to eat. It’s any kind of art -- photography, painting, etc. -- with food as the subject.

But don’t think there won’t be anything to eat. There will be a sampling of hors d’oeuvres prepared from local restaurants. But here’s a twist: the chefs from these restaurants aren’t the stars; the food will be offered by the sous chefs, what the PEAS press release calls the “workhorse” of the restaurant. Participating workhorses include sous chefs from Cuisiniers, The Ravenous Pig, Crave, K Restaurant and Antonio’s.

The event will be held at the Gallery at Interlachen, 5510 Lake Howell Road, Winter Park, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.. Tickets are $30 in advance or two for $50. Tickets at the door are $35 each.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit foodbankcentralflorida.org or call 407-975-8763.

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