Catching Up With Fame

Over the years, these dining stars have been inducted into our hallowed hall. Where are they now?


Orlando magazine Dining Hall of Fame inductees are, like most folks in the culinary business, a flexible feast. Let’s catch up with a few.

* Chef George Vogelbacher (Class of 2013) moved on from his place at Winter Park Fish Company since his HOF placement, and currently rules the kitchen at Maxine’s On Shine. At a spry 76, he shows no signs of slowing down.

* Chau Trinh (’13) has expanded his iconic New Wave anime-fueled sushi wonderland Sushi Pop to a space next door, where exotic sake, junmai and cocktails can be found.

* Chef Bernard Carmouche (’04) had just opened his New Orleans-inspired eatery, Two Chefs Seafood , when we revisited him in 2016. Not satisfied with one new venture, he and his cooking partner, Larry Sinibaldi, opened the doors on Muddy Waters in Thornton Park earlier this year.

* Chef Scott Hunnel ('03) seemed to be the one island of stability in this fickle business, helming the kitchen at Disney’s flagship restaurant Victoria & Albert’s for 22 years. But in June of last year, Hunnel was promoted to executive chef at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, overseeing Citricos, Narcoossee’s, and the Grand Floridian Café as well as V&A. Out of the kitchen, yes, but the good news is that Aimee Rivera, a longtime influence in the kitchen, was named chef de cuisine.

* Norman Van Aken (’08), he of Norman’s and 1921, opens his new restaurant, Three, along with a culinary academy, In the Kitchen With Norman van Aken, in the hip Wynwood section of Miami in the very near future (you know, construction …).

* Robert Mason ('11), formerly of Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana, is now the very happy director of food and beverage at the Reunion Resort.

* Paco’s Mexican Restaurant (’13) closed in 2016 after 35 years. There have been rumors of a new location or even a food truck in the works.

* Dieter Hannig (’03), VP of food and beverage at Disney, left the company in 2009 and moved to Panama.

* Clifford Pleau (’04), who crafted the cuisine at Seasons 52, became vice president of research & development at Bonefish Grill in 2014.

* Pleau’s co-creator of Disney’s California Grill, Master Sommelier George Miliotes (’06), was fine-tuning the wine program at Seasons 52 when he joined the Hall of Fame. He’s now preparing Wine Bar George for its opening at Disney Springs next year.

* Khalid Benghallem (’09), chef of the Venetian Room, left in 2014 for the kitchen of Chahar Mahal Palace in Morocco, where he’s also been known to play the piano.

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Categories: Savor Orlando