Food & Drink: The Foreigner at Home
Chef Bruno Fonseca’s venture is a model for dining in dire times.
Embracing technology and distancing, local chef Bruno Fonseca has taken his popular Foreigner Experience dinner series in a remarkable new direction.
Fonseca is known for the worldview of his menus, having treated the participants of his popups to multi-cultural evenings. He brings all his skills, from teaching at Le Cordon Bleu to operating the Millenia 106 restaurant, into this venture, called Foreigner Experience Domestic.
Fonseca prepares four- and five-course meal kits, taking “reservations” online at his Foreigner Experience Facebook page, and delivers the packages himself. “I drove all over Central Florida,” he says. Fonseca makes a companion online video of detailed instructions for cooking and serving the dinner for two. “They learn how to cook properly,” he says. “Step by step, how to make a sauce, how to roast chicken. It’s fun.” Afterward, participants join “together” online to share their experience. “We were laughing, talking. It got very emotional.”
The first experience at the end of March included kits for an arugula salad with citrus vinaigrette, Florida strawberries, goat cheese, and sweet peppers; and chicken with Romesco sauce, Spanish roasted potatoes and broccoli rabe. Each order includes every spice needed to make the dish, dressings and sauces, and a bottle from Swirlery Wine Shop. The instructional videos are a tutorial in making this meal, but also in basic (and not-so-basic) cooking techniques—like basting chicken in a frying pan, properly roasting potatoes, even knife skills—that would cost hundreds of dollars in cooking classes. “I wanted to make these meals that are sophisticated and accomplishable at the same time,” the chef says.
How Fonseca has adapted this new model to this new world is a fundamental change in how we look at dining, and in doing so is creating connections with his public that might last longer than what a restaurant can offer.