Chef Jason Bergeron – Innovation of Food!

Chef Jason Bergeron, a contestant on Chopped: Grill Masters earlier this year, strongly believes that a great chef has to be attuned to great taste and it is their sole responsibility to share this  with the rest of the world. It’s an art and the passion has to burn within a person. He also believes being a good chef is like being an artist. You have to start with the right ingredients and have skills to create a masterpiece.

From the age of four Chef Bergeron has always had a desire to become a great chef. He attributes his success to both of his grandmothers who were nurturing his passion from a young age. Also growing up, he liked to watch T.V. shows to learn new things  and develop skills that he could bring later to his kitchen.

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Chef Bergeron believes all great chefs have to learn to balance passion and management. Owning a business for something you have a passion for is how anyone enjoys life, but this is not always the easiest of paths. He thinks to be a successful person in the restaurant industry, you have to have a lot of prior planning in place.

The advice that Chef Bergeron would give to people that have the calling and desire to work in food service industry is to join a reputable restaurant that have top notch chefs that will mentor you and give good exposure to the workings in a kitchen.

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After spending four years in California and learning new trends in culinary industry, Chef Jason Bergeron brings his knowledge and innovation to Central Florida. Come visit Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen located in Lake Nona Town Center, which serves a colorful spectrum of small plates with big tastes.

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Chef Jason O’Neill – You’re Only As Good As Your Last Dish!

Searching for elegant dining in a relaxed atmosphere close to everything that makes Orlando, Florida, a magical place? Then you will definitely find yourself at “The Capital Grille” at The Mall at Millenia, just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Orlando’s theme parks and the world famous International Drive.

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Executive Chef and Partner, Jason O’Neill, is dedicated to every guest having an extraordinary experience while in his care. “We have 18 to 24 dry-aged steaks, a butcher that sculpts them every day, a pastry chef that arrives at sunrise and creates fresh pastries, an exclusive wine list with over 350 bottles of wine, priced from $30 to $1000… when a guest walks in the door, they are treated like royalty, our servers pamper them, giving them an unforgettable experience!”

Chef Jason got his start as a 15 year old in Connecticut, at various “Mom & Pop” places and then moved to Boston, where he got his “fine dining” experience. “My roots are pretty much Italian Cuisine, that is what I learned in Boston, and at home. My Grandmom was from Italy, and she and Mom would always make traditional Italian dishes, and make enough food for what seemed like an army. I really embraced that culture, the food and the atmosphere… most of the restaurants I have worked at were Italian, it is my favorite cuisine.”

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When he was a younger, Chef Jason worked at his Uncle’s restaurant in Cape Cod. “I was washing dishes, but I was so caught up in the atmosphere of the kitchen, it was so driven. Everyone was running around each other, making the food, the were so busy, it was very fast paced, and I just wanted to get involved in that, too. It was like they were on stage, making the dishes that everyone was longing for, that brought them to the restaurant in the first place. They would stand in line around the corner, and the people were always talking about the restaurant, almost like the staff were superheroes… and that was something that I wanted to be part of, I knew what I wanted to do with my life.”

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When it comes to his own dishes, Chef Jason excitedly explains that the right combination of ingredients is the most important factor. “Ingredients have to accent each other, play off of each other, from the simplest to the most complex dish. A chef has to orchestrate everything together so that all the ingredients accent each other, from one step to the next, from one taste in the front of the palate to the back of the palate, everything just explodes together!”

“I like to be the manager, to the be the friend, to get everyone together and get them working as a team. I like creating a harmonious environment… and to create new accents for my dishes, especially for my regular guests. I love creating new tastes for classic dishes.”

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When asked what advice he would give to the aspiring chef, he is quick to answer, “Advice? Make sure this is what you want to do, that it is your passion, your dream, then give it 110%! You have to become the best that you can be, don’t go into it thinking you’re going to do it, know you are going to do it! Make sure that every dish you create is the best you can make it, because people will remember your last dish. The best dish you are going to make is your last dish, the best shift you are going to have is your last shift… if you have the passion, then you just have to give it your all, but it won’t work if your heart isn’t in it!”

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Chef Jason puts passion in every dish he creates, and he loves to see the smiling faces of his guests as they enjoy the fruit of his labors. “It is a thrill to see the smiles, the eyes light up, the way people enjoy what you have made for them. When someone sends their compliments to the chef, it is like you have just won the Super Bowl… you never get tired of hearing that!”

The next time you are at the Mall at Millenia, make it a point to stop by the Capital Grille… the relaxed and elegant dining will impress you, but the explosion of tasteful ingredients is what will make you glad you are there. Just be hungry, because you will want to try everything on the menu!

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The Capital Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cows ‘n Cabs – Winter Park

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6th Annual Cows’n Cabs is set to take place on Saturday, October 22nd. This Winter Park based charity event in partnership with Elevate Orlando and United Against Poverty is organized to benefit many Central Florida families in need.  Put on your hat and cowboy boots and join us for evening of food, wine, craft beers, cigars, music and all of the fun for a great cause! We look forward to mingling with Central Florida celebrity Chefs and can’t wait to try their creations.

For tickets and more information, please visit http://www.cowsncabs.com

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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.

 

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

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!