Orlando's Se7en Bites wins big prize at SOBEWFF

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Seven Bites win

The South Beach Wine and Food Festival, or SOBEWFF, took place last week in Miami and over four days hundreds of chefs, celebrities and celebrity chefs participated in dozens of events.

There was a new event this year, a walkabout food and wine tasting called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives LIVE, based on the Food Network program of the same name (without the LIVE). As with the television, or nonLIVE, version, this one was hosted by Guy Fieri, who selected 30 participants who had been featured on DDD.

And right there on the sand Thursday night representing Central Florida were George Markward of the Pastrami Project and Trina Gregory-Propst of Se7en Bites.

Newsy Nuggets

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Honolulu ext

Spam, chicken, donuts and doctors.

HOnolulu harryWho would have thought Hawaiian cuisine would emerge as a food trend of 2022? I mean, we’ve been seeing restaurants specializing in poke, the dish of sliced raw fish and other accouterments, for a few years, but restaurants with menus that expand to include other traditional Hawaiian foods is new.

Last year the 808, named for its address on Washington Street, which also happens to be Hawaii’s area code, took over the former Dexter’s of Thornton Park. And there’s Hawaii Grill & Sushi in St. Cloud.

Now, Honolulu Harry’s is set to open soon in College Park, apparently taking over the former Scoops ’n’ Brew space, shown at top in butcher paper splendor, on the ground floor of the Wellesley Condominiums building. Expect Spam.

It will take some more Hawaiian themed restaurants to catch up with the overwhelming trend of chicken sandwich shops. Two new ones coming: Dave’s Hot Chicken is slated for Waterford Lakes, and ChicknCone is set for the Winter Park district along Orlando Avenue that is quickly becoming known as the Chicken Strip (or Cock Block to some).

5 Central Floridians nominated for 2022 Beard Foundation Awards

Written by Scott Joseph on .

Sue and Jason chin

Jason and Sue Chin of Orlando’s Good Salt Restaurant Group, are semifinalists for the James Beard Foundation’s 2022 award for Outstanding Restaurateur. The Chins, shown above in 2017 during construction of Reyes Mezcalaria, also own The Osprey, Seito Sushi Baldwin Park, and The Monroe.

Rabii Saber of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney Resort has been nominated in the Best Pastry Chef category and Evette Rahman of Sister Honey’s in Orlando is a semifinalist for Best Baker. In November, Rahman won the World Food Championship’s Dessert category for the third time.

Kabooki Sushi’s Henry Moso is on the long list as the South region’s Best Chef. The Beard Foundation groups Florida with Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Puerto Rico and Louisiana, which is to say New Orleans, in the South category. Of the 20 semifinalists for the region’s Best Chef award, six are from New Orleans. Six other Florida chefs – all from South Florida – are vying for recognition.

No Central Florida chefs have ever advanced to the finals stage.

Typically, judges, all of whom pledge that they have dined in restaurants or have “eaten the chef’s food,” will choose up to five nominees in each category. Those getting the most votes will advance to the finals. The finalists will be announced on March 16 and the winners will be recognized in a ceremony on June 13 at Chicago’s Lyric Opera.

This year will mark a return to the awards, which were suspended during the pandemic.

Note: I was a judge for the Beard Foundation Awards from their inception in 1991 but ended my relationship with the organization in 2019.

You can see the full list of nominees here.

Local restaurants to visit during Black History Month

Written by Scott Joseph on .

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Nikki's Place has long been a favorite in the Parramore neighborhood.

Nikki's Place serves up ample portions of Southern and soul food, such as Carolina Beef Stew.

Nile is the area's oldest Ethiopian restaurant and is known for its elaborate coffee service and large platters of food on injera bread.

Nile is the area's oldest Ethiopian restaurant and is known for its elaborate coffee service and large platters of food on injera bread.

Selam specializes in both Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine and is a past winner of Scott Joseph's Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

Selam specializes in both Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine and is a past winner of Scott Joseph's Foodster Award for Independent Restaurants.

Shantell's Just Until in Sanford's Georgetown neighborhood is a gathering spot where owner Shantell Williams greets regulars and newcomers.

Shantell's Just Until in Sanford's Georgetown neighborhood is a gathering spot where owner Shantell Williams greets regulars and newcomers.

Chicken Fire near the corner of Bumby Avenue and Colonial Drive is known for its hot Nashville style chicken sandwiches.

Chicken Fire near the corner of Bumby Avenue and Colonial Drive is known for its hot Nashville style chicken sandwiches.

Caribbean Sunshine Bakery is a big restaurant at the corner of Colonial Drive and John Young Parkway. Its oxtail dinner is delicious.

Caribbean Sunshine Bakery is a big restaurant at the corner of Colonial Drive and John Young Parkway. Its oxtail dinner is delicious.

Brick & Spoon is a Maitland breakfast and lunch spot.

Brick & Spoon is a Maitland breakfast and lunch spot. Eggs Benedict is a specialty.

The food truck known as Grandma’s BBQ was started by an actual grandma, Marcia Owens Ballard. Her grandson, Deodrick, continues to run the business and keeps the truck moving around to spread his late grandmother’s joy.

The food truck known as Grandma’s BBQ was started by an actual grandma, Marcia Owens Ballard. Her grandson, Deodrick, continues to run the business and keeps the truck moving around to spread his late grandmother’s joy.

In honor of Black History Month, here are some Black-owned businesses worth checking out.