We were extremely fortunate to meet and interview so many amazing and talented chefs in just ten months. Thank you very much for all of your hard work, dedication and passion that you share with us every day. Happy International Chefs Day! Watch this tribute video we made for our Chefs:
Hollis Wilder began as a personal chef to celebrities in Los Angeles. This three-time winner of Food Network’s Cupcake Wars is now the author of the cookbook and owner of Sweet by Holly, with locations in Waterford Town Center in Orlando and St. Johns Town Center in Jacksonville. Watch with us as Hollis speaks about how she got started and shares her future plans.
Her cookbook, Savory Bites, is filled with innovative recipes for meals you can make in your cupcake pan. The Queen of Cupcakes has some great ideas for entertaining or fun mini meals with the family. This is a thoughtful gift idea for anyone – busy moms, college students, and young families.
Sweet by Holly is a cupcakery offering over 30 gourmet cupcake flavors. There is a flavor for everyone, with vegan and gluten-free choices, as well.
Chef Keith R. Esbin is embarking on a new endeavor as Corporate Chef USA for Paramount Fine Foods. This self-taught chef won numerous culinary and recipe contests during his career. He is very active in the American Culinary Federation Central Florida Chapter.
Chef Keith is known as the Greyhound Chef, for his passion and involvement with the local non-profit rescue group, Greyhound Pets of America Greater Orlando. Every year, Chef Keith organizes Greyt Plates, a culinary tasting event benefiting this cause. Over the years, Greyt Plates grew, bringing many of the finest local celebrity chefs and participants, and raised over $20,000 last year. Held on Tuesday, December 16th. at the gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek, the 4th Annual Greyt Plates is promising to be bigger than ever.
More than 20 Central Florida Top Chefs, including Celebrity Chef Emily Ellyn, Julian Hopke, and Paul Joachim, will create amazing signature dishes. Guests will sample wine and beer from local distributors, and participate in live and silent auctions. Proceeds benefit the Greyhound Pets of America Greater Orlando, helping to pay for food, medical expenses and electricity. Tickets are $35 advance purchase (www.greyhoundpetsorlando.org) or $40 at the door.
Picasso, Chef Keith’s rescued Greyhound
On September 18, 2014, JFS Orlando presented Pantry to Plate – A Chef’s Challenge, showcasing four Orlando chefs. Each chef was challenged to create a recipe for the event using ingredients found in the JFS food pantry.
On the evening of the event, B.B. King’s staff prepared the recipes for the guests and judges. The event was hosted by world-renowned Chef Cat Cora, the first female Iron Chef. Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon designed a recipe for Black Bean Burgers for the first course, followed by a second course of Peach-Glazed Grilled Chicken designed by Chef John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop. The third course was Contemporary West Indian Chicken designed by Chef Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant.
The event culminated with cupcakes by Hollis Wilder of Sweet! and an award presentation. After careful consideration, the judges awarded first place to Chef John Rivers. The People’s Choice Award was also presented to Chef John Rivers. Everyone had a fun evening, sampling creative recipes, while supporting JFS Orlando. Many thanks to the staff of B.B. King’s for preparing dinner and for outstanding service.
Established in 1978 as a non-profit human service agency, JFS Orlando provides social programs and services to struggling children and families of all faiths in the Central Florida community. JFS particularly supports the efforts to prevent hunger and provide counseling to those in need. For more information on JFS and its programs, please visit http://www.jfsorlando.org.
Chef Chau came to the United States from Vietnam. Growing up around the restaurant industry, helping his parents in their family-owned restaurants, he was influenced greatly by food. Intrigued by the unique taste, simplicity, and freshness of sushi, Chef Chau was inspired to become a chef and began his career by opening his own restaurant serving Japanese Cuisine. After dining at the famous restaurant Nobu in New York City, Chef Chau decided to bring Nobu’s unique combination of traditional Japanese cuisine with citrus and herbs to Central Florida.
Sushi Pop is a contemporary restaurant designed in the style of Harajuku with fun, bright, young and creative decor, representing J-Pop Culture. Chef Chau and his staff create sushi art with every dish, carefully selecting only the best and freshest seafood ingredients, directly from the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, Japan.
Sushi Pop is a hidden treasure located at 310 West Mitchell Hammock Road in Oviedo. If you enjoy sushi like I do, you do not want to miss an opportunity to indulge yourself.
Many Central Florida chefs are on the scene when it comes to giving back to our community and are closely involved with local charities and non-profit organizations. Celebrity Chef and Retro Rad Diva Emily Ellyn is no exception. In addition to her involvement with the Second Harvest Bank of Central Florida, Florida Hospital Foundation, Orange County Public Library, Ronald McDonald House, and many more, she acts as a spokesperson for Give Kids The World’s Ice Cream For Breakfast campaign.
Give Kids The World Village provides a cost free, week-long vacation for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. The Village was established by hotelier, philanthropist, and Holocaust survivor, Henri Landwirth in 1989. Since its opening, Give Kids The World Village has hosted over 120,000 families. Everything is included: accommodations, theme park tickets, trips, transportation, meals, snacks, and daily surprises for each child in the family. All this, and more, is provided through the support of numerous volunteers, generous individuals, and community-minded corporations.
At the Ice Cream Palace located at the Village, for example, families can have ice cream ANY time of the day… even for breakfast!
The Ice Cream For Breakfast campaign was set up to help fund the awesome work done at GKTW and was inspired by a “wish family” who celebrates their anniversary by eating ice cream for breakfast. They suggested a campaign to encourage individuals, families and corporations to support Give Kids The World Village by signing up for a virtual fundraising campaign or hosting an ice cream social in their place of business or home.
Give Kids the World Village is a truly magical place where families and, especially children, can forget the everyday reality of hospitals, doctor visits and treatments. It’s a week to have an unforgettable time with each other and enjoy a “happiness that inspires hope.”
Meet dynamic and always evolving Chef Philip Romano of Teak Neighborhood Grill. His inspiration to became a chef came from the love of fishing and making meals from the catch of the day. Although he is preparing famous burgers at Teak, seafood remains his specialty. Along with Thai cuisine, it is his absolute favorite meal to cook at home. Chef Philip is striving for the best in everything he does; he is not afraid of the competition and accepts any culinary challenge sent his way.
Teak Neighborhood Grill is a neighborhood bar with TV screens designed to watch any sporting event inside or outside on their spacious patio. Teak serves a wide variety of the award winning dishes and is known for their tallest and heaviest handcrafted burgers.
Drunken Monk was voted Number One Burger by WESH’s Orlando My Way. Angry Orchard onion jam, roasted cherry tomatoes, smoked bacon, herb mayo, provolone cheese & Teak chips topped with melted white cheddar cheese served on a pretzel bun.
Caprese Burger and the Cronie, a “french doughnut” tossed with cinnamon-sugar.
Teak Neighborhood Grill is located at 6400 Times Square Avenue, in the Southwest Orlando community of Metrowest.