Where the Chefs Eat
Being in charge of a high-end kitchen is demanding work, and a hungry chef is equally demanding. So where do some of Orlando’s top chefs dine?
Chef de Cuisine
Victoria & Albert’s
Hunnel, a multiple James Beard Award nominee, says Norman’s at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes, is his high-end hot spot. “There’s an air of casual elegance and romance, and there’s perfect execution in the fillet of Key West yellowtail.” For a casual bite? The Tiki Bar, a hidden spot right on Lake Minneola in south Lake County. “Fantastic burgers and cold beer—what more do you need?”
Born and raised in Colombia, Velasco heads Norman’s with Latin passion. “I really like Luma in Winter Park. Chef [Brandon] McGlamery’s ability to showcase flavors in his heritage pork chop is right on point.” For lunch before work, he goes to the Colombian bakery Fortuna, on South John Young Parkway, “for amazing pastries made from scratch.”
Everglades Restaurant at Rosen Centre Hotel
Chef Fred, as everyone calls him, likes the atmosphere at Roy’s. “I like that Asian flair and the food in general, and the Macadamia nut-crusted mahi-mahi in particular.” When close to his house in St. Cloud, Fred drops in at tiny Pete & Peg’s Roadhouse Grill.
Chef de Cuisine
Primo at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
Ramirez praises the creations of Ravenous Pig co-owner Julie Petrakis. “I enjoy Julie’s pasta, and she does things with sausage in the house-made charcuterie plate that are simply amazing.” For a quick snack, Ramirez stays local and frequents a little deli at the Marriott. “They serve real Italian sandwiches and pasta. I like them for lunch.”
For a special occasion, Petrakis and partner/husband/chef James return praise to Primo. “James and I had our wedding on property and our reception at Primo, so it is near and dear to our hearts. We still think they have the best pizzas in town.’’ For a quick bite close to home, they head to Shin Sushi.
Fiorella’s Cucina Toscana
Mason brings us full circle and recommends Victoria & Albert’s as his restaurant of choice. “It’s all about refinement and details that you don’t see anywhere else in Orlando. I love any duck dishes [like a recent duck- three-ways course].” For casual fare, he says, “I love Little Anthony’s Pizza in Winter Springs and any Five Guys Burgers.”