Executive Chef Jose Gonzales – Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar


Beautiful “Pointe Orlando” is the heart of the world famous “International Drive,” and there the adventurer will discover the sounds, culture, and, most importantly, the wonderful tastes of one of Florida’s neighboring countries, when they find themselves at “Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar!”

Executive Chef Jose Gonzales developed a passion and love for Latin cuisine while he was growing up in South America and Spain, and this passion is what he enjoys sharing most with his guests, embodied in each ingredient of every dish he serves.

Simply walk inside and be transported to the romantic atmosphere of the streets of Havana by the balconies, stained glass windows, and the original works of art. On special nights, the lucky traveler will be entranced by special Guest Performers and Singers, Salsa Dancers, and select DJ’s spinning Salsa, Bachata, Merengue, Latin, and Freestyle music, filling your senses with the Havana Nightclub scene, making Cuba Libre a perfect destination for your party or event. The thrilling tastes of such Cuban dishes as Empanadas, Ceviche, and Arroz con Pollo are combined with an extensive selection of Rum to make your meal an authentic experience… just be sure to try the “Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar” signature Mojito, which is made with a syrup extracted directly from the sugar cane right in their kitchen before making its way to your table!


Dine, Dance, and Live the Havana experience as you “Free” your inner Cuban at the “Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar”, located at 9101 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819. You may enter as a hungry traveler, but you will leave as a satisfied friend!

Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar on Urbanspoon

Chef Jared Campbell – Corporate Chef at Tony Roma’s

Chef--2Upon graduation from Florida State University, Jared Campbell joined the Tony Roma’s Team in 2004. Chef Campbell assists with recipe development, culinary systems and tools, new restaurant openings and advises franchise and company restaurants on kitchen operations.

Why did you choose to become a Chef? I have been in restaurants for my entire working life. In that time I have grown a passion for food and the creation of it.

How long have you been cooking professionally? I have been in my current position for 2½ years.

What is the best part of your job? The best part of my job is being on the ground floor of the new food ideas for the entire company. It is a very cool thing to know that all Tony Roma’s around the world serve food that I have helped create.

What are the main ingredients in your kitchen? We utilize a lot of fresh products; fresh steaks and seafood. Our kitchen is an abundance of raw ingredients (produce, spices, etc…) because we make almost everything in house.

Photo by Irina Pabis-29

How do you deal with challenges of your job? I am lucky enough to have a great mentor as a supervisor. He lends experience and knowledge that are great tools for me to overcome challenges.

What is the most interesting or fun experience from your time at the Tony Roma’s? The most interesting/fun experiences I’ve had in this job have been afforded to me through my opportunities to travel and teach in our international markets. It is very exciting to be able to bring what I do here to places like Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Chef James Rogers – Corporate Chef at Tony Roma’s

Photo by Irina PabisChef James Rogers has been with Tony Roma’s for nine years. After spending time as a Kitchen Manager, he moved into the position of General Manager. A few years later, Chef Rogers has become an extension of Executive Chef Bob Gallagher. He assists with recipe development, culinary systems and tools, new restaurant openings and advises franchise and company restaurants on kitchen openings.

Chef-How did you become a Chef? Started with just making pizzas for a local place at a young age. Then moved on to a corporate structure, working with some great culinary people and for some great restaurants

If you were not a Chef what would you be? Probably would have been an automobile mechanic, just from my love of cars.

What is your favorite meal to cook and why? Any one of my Mom’s recipes. They all bring people together and just have that warm homey feeling.

What are some of your customers’ favorite dishes and why? Ribs, ribs and more ribs.

Do you have a kitchen tip that you would like to share? Safety first and foremost, so when walking through a kitchen with a chef knife always hold it by your side with the blade facing towards the rear. Careful to let people know you are walking behind them with a knife.

What are your future plans? I am extremely happy where I am, at this point in my life. I will continue to grow and learn from my peers, in this journey of food.

Chef Bob Gallagher – Tony Roma’s VP of Culinary and Purchasing

Photo by Irina PabisChef Bob Gallagher has been practicing in culinary delights with restaurants for more than twenty years. His experience speaks for itself as he has worked with various multi-unit chain restaurants in the United States where he was responsible for concept development and food innovation. During his time in the restaurant industry Chef Gallagher has opened more than thirty-five new restaurants and has been trained as an instructor by the National Restaurant Association for the Servsafe program.

Since Joining Tony Roma’s in 2006, he has made a significant impact in areas across the system including menu engineering, new products and more. Chef Gallagher is always looking to innovate and add new menu items. He is responsible for years of success at Tony Roma’s by creating innovative recipes and utilizing new cooking techniques that are celebrated all over the world. His introductions of trends are well before the industry begins to talk about these trends!

When did you first know that you wanted to be a Chef? I began cooking at 8 yrs old with my grandmother.  It was fun and interesting how you could transform ingredients into a great tasting recipe.  I cooked for my parents during the summer months in grammar school. I probably didn’t realize it until I was in college, but it was always there.

How do you create the menu? I try to balance menu offerings with flavor, ingredients and price as equally informant aspects.  The menu must fit the building and service experience you provide in the operations as well.  Orchestration in all these four elements helps to insure success.

Photo by Irina Pabis-24

How do you accommodate your guests with dietary restrictions? I like to prepare foods with relatively clean, and unaltered ingredients.  As a responsible chef, I also must be willing to provide honest information and design plates that can be slightly modified upon request.

Since you spend so much time in your restaurant’s kitchens, do you ever cook at home? If so, what do you make? I travel internationally 50 % of the time because we have a presence in over 36 countries.  I live in Florida, so I grill on weekends.  I usually cook based on family requests, but some of the dishes include Roasted Poblanos with grilled chicken and Ranchero sauce, sautéed chicken with prosciutto and Madeira sauce, calzones, and baby back ribs; my kids love them.   I always cook during holidays, traditional items but experiment with sides and desserts.

What are some of the ‘must try’ dishes at Tony Roma’s? The smoked baby back ribs are delicious and a TR staple.  I really think our Smoked Prime Rib is special, delivering a great balance of flavorful beef, smoke and crusted rub.  Our guests love the Baked Pizza Dip and has become a top selling appetizer. Our fresh baked Cheesecake has origins from a personal family recipe so I am partial to this dessert, but the Major Chocolate Mayhem always turns heads and provided excitement at the end of a meal.

Photo by Irina Pabis-19

Photo by Irina Pabis-38

What is next for Chef Gallagher? Tony Roma’s is an international brand, so we are developing menus for Bangladesh and Myanmar right now.  Our international business allows me access to countries I would never had the opportunity to experience, so we will see where our growth takes me.

Check our previous post by following this link: Highlights from Tony Roma’s NEW Fire Grill & Lounge

Tony Roma's Fire Grill & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Chef Adam DuCharme


Carmel Beach, California, is known as one of the most romantic places in the world, and it is also the namesake for the “Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar”, which should be on the list for your next local romantic outing! The magic is found in a casual, yet elegant, atmosphere, and enhanced by its Mediterranean and Modern European cuisine, large selection of wines, beer, cocktails, and friendly service that makes you feel like a “Regular” even on your first visit. With such daily specials as “$4 After 4″, “Tuesday Trilogy”, “Wine and Unwind Wednesdays”, “Martini Night Thursdays”, and “3-Course Prix-Fixe for $14″ on selected days, the “Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar” brings fun to your evening without breaking the bank. It’s eclectic, yet comfortable, atmosphere makes it the perfect place for a quiet, romantic dinner, or any special occasion,like a birthday, bachelorette party, or simply a girl’s night out.


One of the six “Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar” locations is found in Winter Park, Florida, and on our visit, we were warmly welcomed by the Operating Partner, Brian Waggoner, and the Chef, Adam DuCharme. Chef Adam is not only a recent graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, but also a man with a passion for cooking. His creativity along with a strong background in economics combine to provide a modern spin on classic dishes with only the freshest ingredients, a true formula for success!

Never one to “hide in the kitchen,” Chef Adam enjoys his daily interactions with his guests, and describes the many other facets of life in our interview with him:

With a creative menu of freshly prepared dishes served in a casual, romantic setting, “Carmel Cafe and Wine Bar” is a great way to bring a little “California Dreamin’” to your meal!
Mezze Trio: Edamame hummus, muhammara, goat cheese-stuffed Peppadews
Grilled lemon Chicken & Artichoke: fontina, arugula, lemon Parmesan a ioli
Moroccan lemon Chicken: all natural chicken breast, pine nuts, saffron, olives, lemon, roasted vegetables
Carmel Café & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon