Kudos, Burgers & More

Kathleen Blake's latest award, Burger Battle and Food Adventures issue on the horizon, and a fest at the zoo.


The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Show is everything you’d expect a trade show to be—450 vendors of food and beverage products, kitchen equipment, ice carving demonstrations, bartender battles (watch those shakers!) and brewers, bakers and at least one candlestick maker. It’s only open to those in the business, sorry.

But I’ll be there on September 7 to witness our own Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon receive The Beacon Award, created to recognize a woman leader in the food  industry. Along with simply being a great chef, Kathleen is a pioneer in the Orlando “farm to table” movement and the role of women in professional kitchens throughout the country. I’m looking forward to seeing her get another honor for her work.


I’m really excited about two upcoming happenings. On September 22, several thousand lucky burgermaniacs will sample Snake River Farms’ Boutique Blend of Brisket and Smoked Short Plate topped with a Candied Bacon, Smoked Blue Cheese Slaw and a finish of Jack Daniels Single Barrel. Or Provel cheese, caramelized onions, bacon, sausage, fried jalapenos and garlic aioli on a brioche bun. Or a Kobe Beef burger topped with Korean Pork Belly Burnt Ends and Cucumber Kimchi. Yes, it’s the 2nd Orlando magazine Burger Battle, where these creations and over a dozen more will fight it out for the championship belt! That’s September 22 at Seminole Harley-Davidson in Sanford—all-you-can-eat burgers, unlimited craft beer and wine bars, live music concert. Be there! I will! Click here for tickets.

The other thrill on the horizon is October’s second Food Adventures issue, painstakingly assembled by yours truly. Last year’s edition was such a hit that people are still carrying it around, trying to visit the multitude of unique, unusual and sometimes downright bizarre culinary delights, and this year’s version might be even better! And even with more than 80 entries, there are no repetitions from last year—each one is new, fresh, delicious and sometimes just a bit bizarre. I can’t wait for you to read it.


“You eat like you’re in a zoo,” isn’t an insult when you’re actually eating in a zoo. On September 30, the Brevard Zoo is hosting the only area stop of the James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour. Chef Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Café in Melbourne is hosting the event, which includes Top Chef alumn Tiffany Derry from Dallas; Hell’s Kitchen alum Paula DaSilva of the Burlock Coast Restaurant in Fort Lauderdale; Deborah VanTrece of Atlanta’s Twisted Soul Cookhouse & Pours; chef and cookbook author Doreen Colondres; and Soraya Caraccioli-Kilgore of Miami’s Alter, Brava by Brad Kilgore and MadLab Creamery. The six-course dinner will benefit JBF and the Brevard Zoo, and begins at 6:30; tickets are $190 per person .

Got some tips for dining around Orlando? A question about the best places for your favorite food? Send me a note. Stay in touch at joseph.hayes@orlandomagazine.com and access a comprehensive list of my print and online reviews here!


Categories: Savor Orlando