Chef Timothy Keating: Passion Is Number One Ingredient!

The award winning Chef Tim has been cooking for over 45 years. He is from an Irish family of ten, he grew up right outside of New York City, and spent his summers on the Jersey Shore where his love of cooking developed. His family is still very close and have moved to the Central Florida area, and spend their holidays together.

Chef Tim attributes his culinary success to deep passion and love for cooking that he developed in a very early age: “Passion for cooking is in my heart and that is number one ingredient.” He developed his culinary skills while working in several restaurants and hotels in California, working with “some of the best chefs in the world” in “a very very intense French environment,” it was tough and rough. He “became executive sous-chef which is one of the first Americans do so”.


After incredible experiences at the several luxurious five-star, five-diamonds resorts, nine years at Disney’s Flying Fish Cafe, chef Tim saw an opportunity to get back to the local community with a new venture, as he is “very much of a local guy whether it’s local products farms, ranches, fishermen,” spending time with “the local chefs in the area and that’s when I was introduced to Urbain 40 family.”

Chef Tim believes that in order to be a good leader, a chef needs to provide an example and be a great role model, taking their lifetime of experience and travels around the world into account. He puts his team first and strives to teach them what he knows, and is grateful to them for being a team that could keep up the kitchen while he travels. To Chef Tim this is especially rewarding when somebody says “I had the best meal of my life,” but I know that I wasn’t there last night, I was off yesterday with my family, those are the best days because then you know your team is the best.”


When asked about most memorable moment, he remembered hearing his name at the the James Beard Awards. Chef Tim always considered cooking as an art, and In 2002, when cooking was recognized as an art for the first time at the Olympics, he was honored to be one of their James Beard chefs. Also a special dinner for about five hundred people with six different chefs from all over the country, Paul Bocuse gave him his jacket “and I know how he signed it for me afterwards, and have it hanging on the wall so I mean those are accomplishments… those are the rewards you could get a raise you can get an award but the real success is what you do every day.”


When asked about the theme for his current restaurant, he said that “I have this strange feeling that I although I was born in the late ’50s I was living in the ’40s, I was one of those people that came back to life you know… so the feeling of this restaurant, if you think about New York or LA or any other places in the 40s there is a feeling that goes to it… that rat pack and the music is amazing… they have a band going almost every night… that side of the dining room has that” retro 40s feeling.


Chef Tim now has a very local focus; “in Florida I’m always looking to get things out of the water, off the ranch out of the farm onto the plate as quickly as possible… I can buy things from all over the world but I’d rather really support the local people here… what is American cuisine is one big melting pot full of different ethnicity from all over the world.”


Produced by: Irina Pabis
Photo/Video by: Richard Pabis
Written by: Katrina Belle


Chef Bob’s Luau: A Hawaiian-themed Culinary Experience

Chef Bob Aungst, Monark Premium Appliance Company on Park Avenue in Winter Park,  Kona Brewing Company and Fire Fruits Artisanal Sauce are hosting a Hawaiian-themed culinary experience. The event will be held on Saturday, August 12 from 1 to 3pm at Monark’s kitchen and appliance showroom at 500 S. Park Ave. Participants will enjoy an interactive culinary experience, featuring the tastes of Hawaii in an easy to prepare family style meal – no suckling pig or fire pit required!


Collectively, participants will prep and prepare the ingredients for an appetizer, main course and sides, and a dessert, while honing cooking skills. Traditional luau flavors, like smokey salty Kalua, sweet pineapple, and refreshing coconut will be incorporated into the dishes. The cooking class will culminate in a shared full meal of the items created during the event. Throughout the experience, guests will enjoy signature Hawaiian brews from Kona Brewing Company.

There are a very limited number of seats, to reserve yours please visit

Dine, Dance, and Live the Havana experience at Cuba LiBRE Restaurant and Rum Bar Orlando!

Executive Chef Jose Gonzalez and his team are proud to introduce a new menu at Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar located in Pointe Orlando on International Drive. The menu includes creative appetizers, entrees, and hand-crafted cocktails, featuring 12 brand new classic and contemporary Cuban dinner items. Take a look at some of the new mouthwatering additions as Chef Jose introduces what’s special and new from his kitchen!

As you can see in the video, Cuba Libre added a number of new appetizers based on traditional Cuban recipes, like this Crab Guacamole:


and this innovative menu item, the Cuban Sandwich Spring Rolls:


Cuban twist on the current poke trend, Cuban Poke – marinated seasonal fish, compressed watermelon and English cucumbers, pickled seaweed, avocado, white rice and toasted macadamia nuts, with pumpkin seed oil vinaigrette.


The Cuban restaurant’s new menu features several massive meat entrees for two, such as the Crispy Pork Pata, a 48-hour slow-cooked Berkshire pork shank, served with grilled seasonal vegetables and Moros y Cristianos, in a citrus pan reduction:


A tropical seafood dish, the Pargo Frito, has also been added – crispy whole red snapper, coconut basmati rice and candied cashews, with a sprouts salad and mango red curry sauce:


Chef Jose recommends to try any or all of the daily featured desserts:


Dine, Dance, and Live the Havana experience as you “Free” your inner Cuban at the “Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar”!


Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar in Orlando serves dinner daily from 5 p.m. until 11 p.m. Happy Hour is available every day from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. The bar is open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. For more information, or to make a reservation, please call (407) 226-1600, visit

Chef de Cuisine Scott Pizzo: Live, Eat, Breathe, Cooking!

Central Florida’s agricultural history has been well known to include abundant harvests of fresh produce, vegetables and livestock. Chef de Cuisine Scott Pizzo, of Orlando’s Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, “Highball & Harvest” restaurant, believes this history of fresh foods and ingredients are what makes the “Farm to Table” concept so appropriate for the dishes served at his restaurant.

“‘Highball’ is the signal a train conductor would use to initiate a full-speed departure, especially when fully-loaded with produce from a harvest… so ‘Highball & Harvest’ is a way to pay homage to the legacy of moving great, fresh food from the farm to the table, something we practice daily here at the restaurant!”

Describing himself as your basic “positive person,” Chef Scott says his daily life goals are “Live, Eat, Breathe, Cooking!” as well as a constant desire to learn, teach, and make the best out of life.


Chef Scott is not one to shy away from what he calls his humble beginnings: “Unlike a lot of chefs, I did not grow up in a ‘cooking’ household. My mom, who was an excellent baker, was not the best cook, and I was not particularly interested in it when I was younger, so I definitely didn’t grow up ‘cooking in the kitchen with Mom and Grandma.’” After a brief pause, he continues to reflect, “Sometimes you have to find things on your own, I guess. My mom passed away when I was 15, and my Dad was working, so I had to learn to cook for myself. That’s where my drive and passion originated… ‘cook or starve’ is a great motivator, and it was that need that opened the door to the rest of my life.”


According to Chef Scott, the first step in creating a successful menu is also the number one rule in being successful in real estate: Location. “I like to start with the location, where the restaurant actually is, finding out what the local cuisine is based on, what foods the area is known for, what ingredients can be easily found locally and brought as freshly as possible into the kitchen. Then I factor in the season, what is currently being harvested, without looking to a different climate or even hemisphere to create flavorful and local dishes. Local is always best, because you understand the markets, seasons, and the products so much better… you know what you’re getting, what you’re eating, what you are putting into your body. You don’t have to rely on someone else telling you, you have your own personal experience!”


“I like to think of the menu at ’Highball & Harvest’ as being traditional Florida food, with local ‘farm to table’ ingredients that really set the stage for a great meal.” Chef Scott believes the ingredients not only create the basis for the taste of the food, but also form the basis for how the entire restaurant is perceived. “The ingredients that you bring into the restaurant, how you make the food, creates the world surrounding it… which provides the vision for what the restaurant is and reflects the atmosphere you want to instill into your guests. If you wish to enhance your guest’s experience, you begin with the ingredients, it’s right on their table, all the tastes, presentation, and quality… that becomes the experience for them.”


When asked what advice he would give an aspiring chef, Chef Scott is quick to say “always keep learning.” “I learned in a classic, French-style kitchen, and it is great to have that background and those techniques. However, when you want to keep learning and expanding your knowledge base, such as Japanese or Italian cuisines, you become familiar with how they prepare foods, how they work, and you can then take those techniques and blend them into other traditions to create something new, different, and exciting… and that inspires you to continue to create even more unique and flavorful dishes!”

“A chef doesn’t have to be an artist… but to really achieve your own style or mark in the culinary world, you have to view it as your own artistic expression.”


You can enjoy the artistic expression of Chef Scott at your own table just by visiting “Highball & Harvest” at Orlando’s Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes… and partake in his life mantra: Live, Eat, Breathe, Cook! Namaste!

Produced by: Irina Pabis
Photo/Video by: Richard Pabis
Written by: David Morizot

May 19-21 Food Wine Conference at Rosen Shingle Creek

Join Me on MAY 19-21, 2017 for the Annual Celebration of Food & Wine at the Rosen Shingle Creek in beautiful, sunny Orlando Florida. During the three-day conference, bloggers, small business owners, winemakers, chefs, public relations professionals, traditional media, new media, authors and brands will have the opportunity to gain knowledge and insight to:
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Marketing and promotion on social media channels
Effective writing
Publishing a cookbook
Working with PR agencies
Food photography
For further details or to purchase tickets, visit the event’s web page Please mention Promo code “Irina2017” and you will receive $50 off tickets to Food Wine Conference at Rosen Shingle Creek. For guests looking to get the full experience, weekend packages offer access to exclusive after parties and more. You are going to have a GREAT time!!

Chef Art Smith – “Homecomin’” at Disney Springs – Enjoying the Florida Funshine!

With over 900 freshwater springs in the state of Florida, there are many places to choose from to relax and renew yourself while traveling. One of the best, and newest, is Chef Art Smith’s “Homecomin’” restaurant, at Orlando’s own “Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs!”

Chef Art is no stranger to the culinary world, being a two-time winner of the James Beard Foundation Award, known as the “Oscars of Food.” Additionally, his many fans know him from such television shows as “Top Chef Masters,” “BBQ Pit Masters,” and the “Today” Show. With talent, skill, and, most importantly, his gregarious and friendly personality, he has truly blazed a trail throughout the national food scene.

“I am a native Floridian… a sixth generation native Floridian. Opening my restaurant at Disney Springs is part of my own “Homecomin’.” With restaurants in such places as Chicago, Atlanta, Washington D.C., and others, one could wonder why Chef Art wished to return to the Sunshine State. His excited response if very clear, “Florida is one of the fastest growing states in the U.S.A…. it is the land of sunshine, but also the land of deliciousness! Florida has palm trees, beaches, and attractions, but it also has oak trees, dirt roads, and farmland. Florida produces wonderful fruits and vegetables, has an amazing cattle and beef industry, is a producer of fine poultry… and don’t forget about the awesome seafood!”


“Every great Chef must have a great repertoire, a great pantry, in order to cook great dishes, and here at “Homecomin’” I have been able to use all the wonderful things that Florida produces, the things I grew up with, all the fabulous family recipes… nothing gives me more joy than to take a wonderful cake my Grandma used to make and serve it to the thousands of guests we entertain here at the restaurant… that is success.”


Chef Art reminisces about his childhood in Florida, and how some of life’s lessons can help to shape you for the long term. “I grew up on a farm, and I wanted to take piano lessons… boys were supposed to work on the farm, but I discovered the piano was a way of escaping that world. And, since I was a little ‘different,’ I would be a target for bullies. However, I learned rather quickly that if you fed the bully, he would go away or at least get nice… there are no angry people, just HUNGRY people! ‘Food’ became my mission, the revival, to capture people’s attention… if you feed someone a good meal, they will remember you, and I have been very fortunate to take the food I love, the comfort foods, and make it not only for my family, but also for the world… especial here at Walt Disney World!”


Chef Art was private chef to none other than Oprah Winfrey for a decade, and during his tenure with her, he met and fed a wide variety of people, from Presidents to Movie Stars, and even such world-renowned public figures as Nelson Mandela and his holiness, the Dali Lama. “I believe that if there is something you love, others will love it, too… nothing is more humbling and makes you feel so good as when others appreciate what you do!”

“One thing piano has taught me is how important it is to ‘perform’ and that the ‘show always goes on!’ The first thing you learn in piano is that if you make a mistake, you keep going, and it is the same thing in the culinary world, you have to have courage and be present in what you do, for you are sharing bits of your life, we are all giving bits of ourselves, so we should never be afraid to make a mistake, fail, or begin again. That is truly how we find the path to success.”


Chef Art has a true love for humanity, and has always been a big believer in philanthropy and wanting to help people. In 2003, with support and urging from his husband, Jesus Salgueiro, Chef Art co-founded “Common Threads,” a charity geared towards teaching cooking and nutrition programs to help prevent childhood obesity and reverse the trends of generations of “non-cookers,” reducing the reliance on fast foods. Designed as a hands-on, family-centric outreach to low income and urban communities across America, “Common Threads” empowers children to eat healthy, make life-improving behavioral changes, and celebrate culture through food. “We live in an age of ‘conscious consuming…” we want to make choices that are best for our family, and we want our lives and other’s lives to be better. ‘Common Threads’ has been able to teach kids not only about health, but also about getting together as a team… we started the program with only thirteen kids back in 2003, and this year we taught NINETY THOUSAND kids in nine states! As Walt Disney himself put it, ‘We, as humanity, share more in common than different,’ and it is this commonality that I believe we need to teach the generations to come!”


When asked how he became interested in opening a restaurant at “Walt Disney World,” Chef Art laughs and simply states, “Walt Disney knew what he was doing, his family had been coming to Florida for years, his parents honeymooned here, he loved Florida and believed it was the perfect location to build the ‘Happiest Place on Earth’… so I just convinced them it was the ‘Happiest Place on Earth for Fried Chicken!’ They had created a beautiful spring and I believed it needed a Florida inspired restaurant to complete the picture. ‘Disney Springs’ has captured the spirit of renewal that has drawn people to Florida’s many springs since before the time of the Conquistadors… families come here to renew their relationships… it is a ‘Homecomin’… so there you have it!”


Don’t miss your chance to dig into the “farm-to-fork” cuisine that showcases all the fresh flavors of Florida, found at Chef Art Smith’s “Homecomin’” at “Disney Springs,” in the beautiful “Walt Disney World Resort,” Orlando, Florida. As Chef Art puts it, you will walk in as a hungry guest, but you will leave as satisfied family member!


“Breakfast for Dinner” at Ravello Restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando – April 20

Have you ever felt like eating Breakfast, but it is time for Dinner? Then, on Thursday, April 20th, you are in luck, because “Orlando Weekly’s” Faiyaz Kara is hosting “Breakfast for Dinner” at “Ravello, Four Seasons Resort, Orlando,” at Walt Disney World! Faiyaz is presenting five choice dishes from his new book, “Gourmet Breakfasts for the GENIUS” which will be prepared by Chef Fabrizio Schenardi… and that means this is one event your taste buds will not want to miss!

$75 dollars not only gets you in the door, but it also includes a signed copy of Faiyaz’s book, and a chance to enjoy the marvelous tastes of:

-Piperade Basquaise
-Rosemary Belgian Waffles with Seared Foie Gras and Pomegranate Syrup
-Crispy Duck Confit Potato Cakes with Heirloom Tomato Gravy
-Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee Ribbed Rib-Eye with Chanterelle Cream and Huevos Fritos
-East African Doughnuts with Coconut Pigeon Pea Curry

all fantastically prepared by Chef Fabrizio and his team… and don’t forget to grab a Negroni Cappuccino, a Mimosa, or to top it all off with a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sno Cone!

“Breakfast for Dinner”… or perhaps “Brinner”… at “Ravello, Four Seasons Resort, Orlando” on Thursday, April 20th… We could do Brinner EVERY day!

Tickets can be purchased here: