Chef David Ramirez – Chocolatier – Creating the Sweet Life!

David Ramirez describes himself as a pastry chef who loves to make chocolate.  “Ever since I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a chef… then, in high school, I realized I wanted to be a pastry chef, and now I’ve spent 30 plus years making pastries!”
Chef David’s mom was supportive of her son’s passion, and told him he’d love making pastries because you are “in early and out early.”  While Chef David agrees she was right that he would be “in early,” he says the “out early” is not always the case.  “The thing I love most is that, when you walk into a bakery, it is like a warm embrace, everyone smiles… and when you mention baked goods to someone, it is always a good thing, the eyes widen and they get excited… so I have learned, being a pastry chef is bringing excitement to the palate.”
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Chef David grew up in Long Island, New York, to parents who had emigrated from Chile.  “My mom was always cooking, and I was usually in the kitchen with her.  She would tell me that cooking would be great for me, because everyone needs breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so I would always have a job.”  He credits these times with his mom, helping her in the kitchen, as the beginning of his love of food, of the taste of it, preparing it, being creative with it.
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Chef David has combined his love of food with a passion to compete,  and has not only won dozens of awards from the American Culinary Federation, in 2009 he was named Captain of Team USA in one of the most prestigious pastry competitions in the world, the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie.  In 2011, following so many successes in his field, Chef David Ramirez was inducted into Orlando Magazine’s “Culinary Hall of Fame,” a milestone achievement to an amazing career.
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“I’ve always wanted to compete, to be the best… competition can bring out the best in you, or it can overwhelm, but either way, it will sharpen your skills, make you focus on the ingredients, on the food.  You just forget about the nonsense, you put everything else aside, and you focus on making something great.  You push yourself so hard, it becomes second nature to excel at whatever you are doing. Compared to high-level competition, the stress of normal life becomes much easier!”
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Chef David finds his creative inspiration in life, in nature, in all of its colors and themes.  “I am constantly creating in my mind, evolving my thoughts into creations… all an artist needs to create something is the reason to do it, the passion to see it done.”
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When asked what makes a great chef, he points out that it is the same thing that makes a great leader.  “You have to love what you do, and you have to treat those around you with respect.  You have to keep your ego in check, everyone you meet is important, and you should want to get along, to inspire.  It is the same with cooking, all the ingredients are important, and should be respected for what they bring to the table, how they will interact and improve the product.  Quality is the same in every facet of life, and as human beings, we understand quality and respect it.  I always try to bring quality into my creations and into my personal dealings… to me, that is what is important, you never have to explain quality!”
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And, it should be noted, an award winning chocolate or pastry created by Chef David Ramirez is a great way to bring quality to any day!

David Ramirez Chocolates Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Specialty Chef Phillip Fisher – Making the “Good” Awesome!

Specialty Chef Phillip Fisher, of the Gaylord Palms “Moor Restaurant,” is a young chef who is making his mark in the culinary industry, combining knowledge, passion, and vision with a desire to “keep it simple” in a business that is anything but simple!
The son of a successful attorney, Chef Phillip was introduced to many great restaurants at an early age, which laid the groundwork for his love of food.  “When we would go to a really nice restaurant, I was amazed at how awesome the food dishes were… at 10 years old, I may not have known what was in a dish, but by tasting it, I ‘understood’ what it was.  The flavors and aromas combined into an incredible experience, all created by the Chef.”
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By the age of 13, Chef Phillip was cooking at home, discovering ways to combine his new passion with an older one.  “I love to fish, and I wanted to catch, clean, and cook it all myself.  I was often in the kitchen with my mom, and it was always a fun time, always a learning experience.  It all started with Rainbow Trout, and using trial and error to discover how many ways I could prepare it, make it a successful meal… and that started me on my own path of developing fun flavors and techniques, and how to navigate the ‘failure to success’ process, how to get it right.”
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Chef Phillip is the first to admit that cooking can be a little redundant, “How many times can you make a certain dish, and in how many different ways? Some dishes are done a million times over, so I like to start with questions of my own.  ‘What do people know about this dish, what do they like about it?’ That way I have something to build off of, that is the start of the creative process.”  At the same time, he understands that a good chef must resist the urge to “overcomplicate” things, or add too many steps and ingredients.  “My mantra is ‘Keep it simple…’ keep it to 3 or 4 main ingredients.  I don’t want a long list of components, it becomes, just too much… you need to find the peak, everything peaks, the key to being a great chef is to know when to stop cooking something, let it be what it is… don’t overcomplicate!”
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Chef Phillip loves the challenge that comes from balancing the creative passion of preparing the food with the need for properly managing the many needs of running a business.  “Preparing a superior dish starts with growing the food, and the it’s the same with the business side, you have to grow your team, and allow them to grow into who they wish to be.  Cooking is a business, and the purpose of business is to make money, that’s not a bad thing to say, and the best way to grow a business is to  build a team of talented people and then help them grow their passions.”
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This same dichotomy, developing a menu and developing a business, are two things that excite Chef Phillip about his position at Gaylord Palms.  “We wanted to look at what wasn’t there.  The Gaylord and Marriott brands already had successful restaurants, I felt the need to break that mold, to branch out, create something a little different.”  Borrowing a philosophy from Steve Jobs, “Don’t steal ideas, but rather build off of established great ideas,” Chef Phillip found his muse in the “farm to fork, sea to table” mindset of bringing the closest and freshest ingredients to your guests.  “It seems simple, to find what works and then keep doing it, but it is a challenge to find the ‘best’ of what works, but that is what you have to do to create the best.
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If you settle for ‘good’ then you’ll never make it to the ‘best.’  That is the basis of our restaurant.  Every ingredient is selected to provide you the best of the local ingredients.”  In fact, when dining at “The Moor” at Gaylord Palms, you can expect an incredible meal created from ingredients found from local producers, all within a 100 miles.  “We want to be as local as possible, but only the best of the best will do… and that goes for everything about the restaurant, from the ground up.  The best furniture, the best silverware and dishes, finding the best wait-staff and kitchen team, making sure everyone is trained to serve our guests the best way possible.  It is our goal… as one of our managers puts it, ‘Is good what we’re going for?’ No, we’re going for awesome!”
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Put Chef Phillip and his team to the test, just stop by “Moor” at Gaylord Palms, and you will have a good time, enjoying great food, having an awesome night!
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Chef Danilo Martorano – Peperoncino Cucina

Chef Danilo Martorano is from a small town in Calabria, the southern province of Italy. Chef’s love and passion for food grew from watching his mother preparing traditional Calabrian dishes from his favorite local ingredients. Calabria is known for its abundance of the best produce of Italy, as well as fresh seafood and wine. As you can imagine, the Calabrian cuisine is simply amazing.

Chef Danilo started his career in the culinary field as a dishwasher at the age of seventeen to support his passion for motorcycle sport racing. Chef had a chance to work at some of the best Italian restaurants in Germany, England, and Holland. From learning how to make pizza to becoming a Pastry Chef, Chef soon decided that cooking was his true passion.

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Recently, Chef arrived in the United States, a land of opportunity, where he met the love of his life, Chef Barbara Alfano. Right here in Orlando, at the Peperoncino Cucina, they recreate some of the best dishes of Calabria and Southern Italy. Chef enjoys working together as a team, as a couple, and as a family. They enjoy being able to spend time together, doing what they both love. They incorporate their love and passion for Italy in every dish. Chef says, “It is the best thing of my life.”

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Although Chef Danilo loves being a chef, he didn’t lose his passion for motorcycle sport racing. He follows his favorite Italian professional racers, such as Valentino Rossi, as well as Americans Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden. Coming soon – a Peperoncino racing bike!

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Chef realized that there is a need for an authentic Italian pizzeria, serving favorites such as Margarita, Capricciosa, and Quattro Stagioni. By the end of the month, Chef Barbara and Chef Danilo will open a brand new addition, Peperoncino Pizzeria, adjacent to Peperoncino Cucina, adding 100 extra seats. Similar to Pepernicino Cucina, the pizzeria will offer a signature menu, inspired by original Italian recipes and local fresh ingredients.

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In addition to dining in the restaurant, Peperoncino will offer pizza delivery. One can also arrange a personal Chef experience in the comfort of your own home. For more information, please call (407) 440-2856 or visit 7988 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, FL 32819
Peperoncino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato