Chef Jamie McFadden is the award-winning Executive Chef and Founder of the Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events, Winter Park Florida. Since 1998, Cuisiniers has been Orlando’s premier catering company specializing in wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, engagement parties, corporate events, and much more. Chef Jamie’s experience speaks for itself. He is a recipient of the Best Chefs America Recognition and the only caterer to receive Central Florida’s Top 20 Chef’s awarded by the Restaurant Forum. Chef Jamie is Orlando Sentinel’s inductee to the Culinary Hall of Fame and Orlando Business Journal’s 40 under 40 inductee. He appeared as a Guest Chef at the James Beard House in New York City and on NBC’s Today Show. I had an opportunity to ask this award-winning Chef a few questions.
When did you first know that you wanted to be a Chef? I became interested in cooking and entertaining at a young age. Both my mom and dad were excellent cooks, and more often then not would entertain friends and family on the weekends. The holidays of course brought new recipes, and an abundance of delicious memories were created year after year. My Mom loved cookbooks and cooking magazines, Craig Claiborne and Julia Child were both a huge part of the creative process in our families kitchen. Looking back I feel it was a natural progression for me once i began working in restaurants to become a professional chef. College was followed by internships in Europe, and at that point I knew for sure this was the career path for me.
What is the difference between restaurant Chef and catering Chef? I would say very little. I highly recommend that anyone interested in pursuing a career in catering first work a few years in different restaurant kitchens. This teaches speed and organizational skills. Most importantly the development of your Flavor profiles is crucial. Attention to detail is the name of the game when you have multiple events going on around the city in the same day.
What is your favorite restaurant in Orlando and why? That all depends on the day of the week, my mood, even the weather. We now have so many great spots in The Orlando/Winter Park area to dine. To name just one would be impossible. Let’s just say that my buddies Kevin, James, Julie, Brandon, Scott, Henry, Ashley and John all have fabulous spots and I admire their creativity and commitment to service.
Do you have a ‘signature’ dish? I attended College in Baltimore Maryland and while there had the opportunity to work with Chef Nancy Longo of Pierpoint Restaurant. She was passionate about Crab Cakes and taught me a thing or two about authentic Maryland Crab Cakes. I ran with that when I opened my first restaurant, MiMi’s Cafe & Wine Bar in 1991. We served delicious Crab Cakes and the Orlando Sentinel Food Critic at that time Scott Joseph thought so also. He gave us a fabulous review in early 1992 and folks were lined up for weeks to try our crab cakes. Twenty Two years later people still request them at Cuisiniers.
What is your favorite ingredient? Lots of favorite ingredients, but Rhubarb always comes to mind first. It’s a childhood memory from my grandparents farm. I make Dukkah that i love to sprinkle on Roasted beets and certain proteins.
by Irina Pabis