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Planet Hollywood is coming back

Planet Hollywood’s Robert Earl of the Cooking Channel’s “Robert Earl’s Be My Guest” and chef, restaurateur and television personality Guy Fieri have joined forces on the new menu for Planet Hollywood’s transformed flagship location set to open this fall in Disney Springs. Fieri developed the flavor-packed burger and sandwich sections for the updated menu.

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SANTA ROSA, CA – NOV 16, 2011: Guy Fieri. PHOTO BY JOHN LEE

“Guy Fieri has created an impressive culinary empire and has built an incredible TV following with several food-themed shows, so it was a no-brainer to invite him to create a special menu for Planet Hollywood Observatory. This partnership only furthers our commitment to refresh our guest experience while continuing to offer freshly-prepared, pleasing dishes,” said Planet Hollywood International Founder and Chairman Robert Earl.

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Robert Earl Co-Chairman of Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Unveals Plans For The Property on The Las Vegas Strip Photos By: Denise Truscello April 17, 2007 Las Vegas — Nevada — USA

Fieri, a chef, entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author, has brought his signature blend of authentic-meets-surprising flavors to new dishes such as the Prime Time American Kobe-Inspired Burger and the Turkey Pic-a-nic Sandwich, a perfect accompaniment to Planet Hollywood’s creamy hand-dipped milkshakes. The menu will also feature new over-the-top creations that will have guests craving more after the first bite. “It’s awesome to be working with Robert Earl and the Planet Hollywood Team,” states Fieri. “For the Planet Hollywood Observatory, I’m bringing a big time burger and sandwich menu with real deal flavors for everyone.”

Opening this fall, the Planet Hollywood Observatory is centrally located and will overlook the heart of Disney Springs with a newly expanded outdoor terrace and bar. Within the sophisticated entertainment emporium, patrons of all ages will be invited to “Dine Amongst the Stars” through distinctive indoor and outdoor bar and lounge options, an imaginative new merchandise line, and a host of all-star celebrity collaborations.

 

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Orlando’s Taste of the Nation 2016!

We are looking forward to Orlando’s Taste of the Nation this year!

It’s an amazing culinary event that supports the end of childhood hunger and supports local charities Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Over 44 restaurants; 20 breweries, wineries, distilleries and more; and some of Central Florida’s best culinary minds – all for an amazing cause.

Join us August 27th for this great event!  http://ce.strength.org/orlando.

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Chef John Flaherty – The Dedication of a Lifetime!

The Central Florida Atlantic Coast area is often thought of as being a part of the “Space Coast” or even the place to launch an ocean cruise, but it is also home to the water and sand of Cocoa Beach, a world class destination for those seeking a special place in the sun… and what would a world class beach be without world class food? That is where John Flaherty’s skills come in, as Executive Chef at “Pelican’s Bar & Grill,” “Rikki Tiki Tavern,” “Keith’s Oyster Bar,” “The Boardwalk Bar,” and “Sea Dogs!”

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Born in Newport, Rhode Island, and raised in southern New Jersey, Chef John recalls how he broke into the restaurant business, “A friend’s family owned a restaurant, and he offered me a job. He said the position as dish washer was open and asked if I wanted it or not. I told him I was only thirteen, but he said ‘Do you want it or not?’ and of course I said ‘Yes’ and I have been in the kitchen ever since, from thirteen years old.”

Chef John worked for fourteen years in New Jersey in two different restaurants, and he loved the education and culinary training he received in the Northeast. “I never went to culinary school… although I DID drive through the parking lot… I learned as much as I could in the kitchen, from all the books you’re supposed to read to talking and learning from the chefs and being mentored by them. It wasn’t easy, it took a lot of work, but to me, that was the best way to learn.”

Chef John moved to Florida in 1985 and never looked back. “It was like starting my career all over again, I had to break into the culinary scene here in Central Florida. But I also met my wife and settled down, had kids… basically, I calmed down my ‘wild rebel side’ and took a huge step towards being the man I am today.”

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Hard work and always keeping his eye on the goal has led Chef John in many different directions. “I have been the Executive Chef at the ‘Orlando Arena and Centroplex’, ‘Columbia Restaurant’ in Tampa, Florida, at private country clubs, the Orange County Convention Center… I really jumped around, but it was a great way to further my knowledge, to learn and educate myself… since I didn’t go to a culinary school, I had to work very hard to learn and perfect my craft firsthand… and it is a process that never stops, I continue to learn new approaches and techniques. If you apply yourself and keep an open mind, you will be surprised at what life will teach you!”

Chef John believes you have to find the delicate balance between being a manager and a culinary artist. “Being a good chef is really combining all your skills and experiences. The numbers are just as important as the artistry… to make it you have to understand the business side, to be able to look at what you are creating and developing and then decide if it is feasible for your business… you can’t afford to be extravagant in your decisions, you have to make solid business sense as well.”

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Chef John has done what it takes to learn what he calls “both sides of the house.” “The path from washing dishes to becoming an Executive Chef was a hard one, but rewarding. I spent nine years in the front of the house, learning everything I could about the front of the house, and I added that to my knowledge of the back of the house, everything that needs to happen to make the kitchen work. Mostly, what I have learned is that we are in the business of making people happy… when I ask people how they are doing and they are smiling back at me, it really touches my heart!”

“The truth is: people are looking for a good, home cooked meal that is ‘kicked up a notch’ with a professional flair. And to be able to do that, you have to surround yourself with a great staff. I cannot do what I do without my staff… my staff makes me, I don’t make them.” With well over 100 people on his team, Chef John believes the secret to being a good manager is being able to read your team members well, “You have to be able to balance people and personalities, which isn’t always easy… but you treat everyone as an individual and maintain a high level of professionalism, and that saturates your team, makes them family.”

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When asked about what is most rewarding about becoming a chef, Chef John becomes very serious, “For me, it’s most rewarding to donate time to help feed homeless children. I work with the ‘Chef and a Child Foundation.’ I have helped in developing that program with the Central Florida chapter of the ‘American Culinary Federation.’ I’ll do whatever it takes to help feed the children and homeless… I mean, we live here, in the United States, and we still have hungry and starving people, which is ridiculous… we need to get it together, get with the program, join humanity!”

What is Chef John’s advice for an aspiring chef? “Listen, it is hard work, on weekends, holidays, you miss your kid’s birthday party, the football game, the basketball game… it is a sacrifice of your time, and if you don’t have a passion for it, you won’t make it, you have to buckle down, learn everything you can, become a sponge, you have to love life and love people and most importantly you have to learn how to thrive on ‘The Grind’ because the stress and pressure of the grind is where you will grow and improve. Look deep inside yourself, find out what it is you want in life, and more importantly, what you are willing to sacrifice to get it… because it takes a ton of dedication… the dedication of a lifetime!”

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The next time you find yourself in Cocoa Beach, Florida, be sure to swing by “Pelican’s Bar & Grill,” “Rikki Tiki Tavern,” “Keith’s Oyster Bar,” “The Boardwalk Bar,” or even the “Sea Dogs” beach grill and order your favorite beach treat… and if you happen to run into Executive Chef John Flaherty, remember that it is your smile that makes his day, just as his smile is sure to make yours!

Surf’s Up!

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Cocoa Beach Pier Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Chef Emeterio “Tello” Luna – From Culinary Traditions of Mexico to Extravagant New York City

Chef Emeterio Luna, known as “Chef Tello” around the kitchen, knows where his passion lies:  “I love to cook with fresh ingredients!”  As Head Chef for “Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill” at The Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida, Chef Tello puts his heart and creativity into every dish.

Born in Mexico, Chef Tello moved to New York City when he was sixteen years old.  “My first job in the City was washing dishes… when I walked into the kitchen and saw all the celebrity chefs, the famous chefs that were well known in the New York restaurant circles, I knew I wanted to be one of them.”
As a dish washer, Chef Tello started at the bottom of the kitchen hierarchy, but he knew that was only going to be his first step towards his career, “I didn’t want to be washing dishes for a living, I needed to start learning from the chefs I met in the kitchen. So, I started asking them if I could help out, and they would let me assist in the prep, getting things ready for the busy day. Good things don’t happen overnight, it takes a lot of effort and patience to get the ball rolling, but little by little, if you have a passion for something, you will get there through hard work.”
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His first steps to becoming “Chef Tello” had very simple beginnings. “I learned ‘old-school’ cooking from my Mom.  We didn’t have all the modern equipment that most kitchens have, like blenders and ovens, we just didn’t have the money to buy them.  My mom would dig a hole in the ground, build a fire in it, and cook ‘Bar-B-Que’ style.”  When he got to New York City and saw all the tools and appliances used in the kitchens, Chef Tello told himself, “I can cook!”  It was much easier than the way his mom had taught him!
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Chef Tello is quick to answer when asked about his favorite dish: “Chicken Mole, definitely… it is a Mexican dish with a spicy-sweet sauce that has about 10 different ingredients.  Momma used to make it on Sunday’s for dinner, it would take hours to make the sauce.”  He says it is still one of his favorite dishes to make, although “no matter how good I make it, it never tastes as good as Momma’s!”
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 “If you want to become a chef, you have to have a passion for it, because it is not easy to work in a restaurant.  There are a lot of long hours, you work holidays and weekends, and you need to have an artist’s eye to present the dishes, to prepare them in an appealing way.”
What do the guests like to eat at “Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill” the most?  “MahiMahi is a favorite dish here at ‘Harry’s’, and we cook it Carribean-style, which means we wrap the MahiMahi in a banana leaf, steam it, and then add a Coconut Curry sauce, Jasmine Rice, and Mojo Tostones.  It’s really good, and once you try it, it will be your favorite, too!”
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 Let’s see… Florida sunshine – check!  Tropical palm trees – check!  A gorgeous, inviting swimming pool and lounge deck – check!  A mouth-watering Carribean-Cuban styled gourmet meal served with a favorite tropical beverage – check!  Paradise is found at “Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill” at the Rosen Centre in Orlando, Florida… it’s a long way from cooking over a hole in the ground!  Gracias, Chef Tello… ¡Te veo pronto!

 

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Chef “Macy” MacNealy: Spreading Love for Cooking

There’s only something bigger than her smile, and that’s her passion for cooking. We are talking about Chef Macy MacNealy, Resident Chef at Publix Aprons Cooking School, a woman who can’t hide her love for what she does.

In fact, she loves cooking so much that she can work 18 hours shift and then get back home to cook again for her family and friends, and you can tell this is true by the spark in his eyes when she talks about how much she enjoys herself in kitchen.

But this could have been foreseen very early, as since she was a little girl she would sneak on the kitchen the moment her parents weren’t home so she just could play pretend being a chef even if the dishes never came out right back then. At the moment, it wasn’t clear where that path would take her, but now, several years later, she knows that’s when all started. Maybe it had to do a bit with the fact that MacNealy`s mother wasn’t that skillful as a cook, so the moment our little soon-to-be chef started trying new flavors and combinations, a new world opened and she began to understand cooking was more than just eating.

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Moving to Louisiana after living most of her life in California, shocked her in many ways, but mostly because of the food. Although she used to stick to Mexican and Asian food while in California, when she moved south the food, and its flavors really opened her mind, giving her the final push into a cooking career.

As a chef, she understood that clients want a bit of everything, “not too spicy, not too sweet”, which is why she always tries to find that “fine line”, that balance, that will captivate the diners, which is finally the rewards that motivates her. And that’s what really moves her, the faces and the expressions of its clients when they try her dishes, that “wow” moment it’s that makes all the effort worth it for her.

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MacNealy likes it old school though, she highly enjoys preparing an amazing fried chicken, or macaroni´s and cheese while elevating the cuisine level with a twist, dishes she consider “comfort food” that have the power of bringing back home memories and touching people sensitivities.

Although she worked as a Sous Chef for Fleming’s, she considered that the corporate side wasn’t quite right for her, she wanted a bit more creativity freedom. When she heard about Publix and its Aprons Cooking Schools she discovered something in her, her desire to teach other people, to give “hacks” and advice to them, to make their lives easier while cooking, spreading love for well prepared food.

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Publix Aprons Cooking School it’s not necessarily about certifying people as a chef, but more as making them love home cooking by making it easier and fun for them, even if it’s something as simple as grabbing and using knife correctly (something most people assume they know, but they don’t).

MacNealy considers herself more of an artist than a manager, and that’s not really hard to tell from the way she speaks. She loves creating, she loves creativity and then, she loves sharing her work and experience with everyone else.

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And for those who are starting a chef career, she has a clear piece of advice, which is not thinking that a diploma will instantly shoot you to an executive chef position, in fact, the path to get there will be long and rough, but the secret is really enjoying the whole ride.

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Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery: Arts, Crafts, & Taking Chances

Winter Park, Florida, is home to many varied and unique restaurants that are, by design, simple, sophisticated, trendy, and tasteful. Two uniquely themed restaurants, Luma on Park and Prato, are helmed by non other than the simply sophisticated, trendy, and always tasteful, Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery.

“I’m just a normal guy who wears a Chef’s jacket five to six days a week,” is how he describes himself with a disarming and amiable smile. “I have a passion for food, preparing tasteful dishes for people, and working alongside like-minded individuals.” When not in the kitchen, Chef Brandon is content with his role as a father and a husband and also with his other great passion: fishing for Tarpon!

While preparation of food has often been viewed as “culinary art,” Chef Brandon has a little different take on the subject, “I view cooking as more of a craft than an art. You can obviously have artistic expression through it, but in order to reach that level, you need to have the foundations and techniques of a craftsman.” Of course, mastering the basics includes more than creating a tasteful dish, “You also have to be part psychiatrist and part leader… you have to learn how to lead your team, get them motivated to perfect their skills. You set the game plan and then articulate the vision in such a way that everybody understands both the vision and the part they play to successfully enact it… and then you have to have the stamina to keep it up, night after night, to produce high quality food that makes you both happy and proud. That is what will keep a restaurant busy, which is the best sign that a Chef is doing something right.”

When asked what got him interested in the culinary world, Chef Brandon says it was a very pragmatic decision. “I didn’t like school, didn’t want to be in the college scene, it just wasn’t me, wasn’t what resonated within me… but I didn’t know what else to do. And then I thought, ‘If I cook, I could at least always feed myself.’ Of course, once I was introduced to that world, cooking, creating different tastes, it just drew me in, and I became very focused on food. It really set my compass bearing, learning the techniques of the craft, and having the desire to make a career out of it.”

While attending the California Culinary Academy, the future-Chef Brandon was presented with a life-impacting experience. “My mother got us reservations to Thomas Keller’s restaurant ‘The French Laundry’ in Yountville, California, which was well-known then and even more famous now. It was amazing, such an inspiration for me at the time. And then my mother and I were touring the restaurant, and by my questions and knowledge, they found out I was in culinary school, and somehow, I wound up in the kitchen, talking with Thomas, meeting the man himself, and he asked me what I was planning on doing once I was out of culinary school, so I told him ‘coming to work for you.’ He looked at me and said ‘send me your resume,’ which I did and about six months later, I was there, working in that very kitchen.” Of course, Chef Brandon’s story doesn’t end there, apparently his rather brash statement made an impression upon Chef Thomas as well, for when “The French Laundry Cookbook” was released, the story of an upcoming student and his mother just happened to make it in as an anecdote! “When I met the co-writer for the book, Michael Roman, he said, ‘I know you from somewhere,’ and then he figured it out, ‘Oh, you’re the kid from the book!’ It is just so cool to have been included, my mom and I, in something that is as widely read, loved, and used as that book.”

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Chef Brandon is very straightforward about how he gets his inspiration to create a menu. “First and foremost, you have to ask yourself, ‘What is in season? What is being brought in fresh from the farm, fresh from the ocean?’ Then, once you know the type of food, ‘What is the traditional way to prepare it, to season it?’ ‘What have we done in the past and do we want to do it again or try something different?’ I am very into collaboration, especially as a mentor, and I often want to see what my team brings to the table, what flavors they will suggest. Cooking is a craft, and it is often fun to experiment, but you must keep in mind, people have been cooking for a very long time, so it is not likely you will create something that hasn’t been done before. You just cook from your heart, trust your gut, and add in the experiences that you have had before, the things you have seen. It is a very exciting and insightful process!”

Does this ever lead the taste in a bad direction? “Of course, but if you are experienced, it won’t happen that often. I have a saying, ‘It’s either good or it’s not.’ Don’t try to save something if it isn’t working, most likely it is never going to work. However, I also realize that, just because something isn’t appealing to my personal tastes, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. I’ll tell my team to put it on the menu, see what it does; and sometimes our guests have a really good reaction to it, which means it is a great teaching moment for us all.”

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The menu’s at both “Luma on Park” and “Prato” follow the personalities of the restaurants. “Luma is new American, it is about freedom, there is an open flow to the menu, perhaps more experimental at times. The idea for Prato was to keep the nod to the Italian influence. Of course, both restaurants are seasonally directed and ingredient driven, but they each have a solid core menu, dishes that you would expect, that become your favorites to enjoy again and again. But, that doesn’t mean we won’t experiment a little, keeping the door open for innovative tastes. Prato is more structured, so we have about a 25% flexibility with that menu, but Luma is much more open with about 50% flexibility in the menu, which leads to new and exciting taste combinations.”

Chef Brandon is never afraid of stepping out of his comfort zone, “Experience is about taking a chance, pushing your boundaries… you never know until you try it!”

If you haven’t experienced the craftsmanship of “Luma on Park” or “Prato” in Winter Park, Florida, be sure to push those boundaries aside and open your taste buds to new and wonderful culinary experiences… you will be glad you did!
Luma on Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Harry’s Brewmaster Series

On Friday, May 13th, Rosen Centre’s award-winning Chef Tello Luna will be preparing five course delicious meal paired with five local brews by Crooked Can Brewing Company at the Harry’s Pool Side Bar and Grill.

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Harry’s Brewmaster Series Menu:

*Shrimp & Scallops
Tomato & Saffron Consommé with Ratatouille Bruschetta
Mr. Tractor Kolsch Style Ale – 5.0% ABV

*Duck Tacos
Shredded Duck with Tamari and Tropical Coleslaw
Served in a Wonton Taco Shell with Tomatillo Sauce
American Pale Ale – 6.5% ABV

*Cucumber Sorbet
Cucumber Salsa and Cloud Chaser Hefeweizen

*Stuffed Beef Tenderloin
Stuffed with Spinach, Mushroom and Manchego Served atop a Potato Cake with Wine Reduction Sauce
Domestic Bliss Belgian Golden Strong Ale – 9.5% ABV

*Tortilla Crusted Lamb Chops
Sweet Potato Hash and Ancho Sauce
High Stepper American IPA – 7.0% ABV

*Chocolate Nest
Fried Cheesecake topped with Vanilla Ice Cream Drizzled with Warm Caramel
Taproom Stout – 5% ABV

Here are the highlights from previous event featuring Cigar City Brewing Company:

For reservations and more information, please call (407) 996-8560 or visit www.rosencentre.com