Let's Talk Food in Orlando with Local Top Chefs at Rockawy PR's Table Talk

I had a foodie high the other day.  I was invited to sit in on Rockaway PR Table Talk.  Rockaway PR hosted a behind the line chef chat with a handful of local chefs.  These aren't just any chefs; these folks are the ones putting Orlando on the food map. 

The event was held at the 4 Rivers Test kitchen.  It was a delight to see the space where John River's wonderful creations come to life.  Not only did we get a behind the look at the kitchen, but we also got to sample dishes that are going to be on the menu at The Coop.  The Coop is John's latest restaurant.  The concept will be that of "home-style fare of the South".  The restaurant located in Winter Park is slated to open sometime in April.
The Coop A Southern Affair in Winter Park

The Buttermilk Biscuits with Southern Sausage Gravy will be enough to draw me in.  The Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding was amazing! Everything I sampled was delicious.
The Coop A Southern Affair in Winter Park

The Coop A Southern Affair in Winter Park

4 Rivers Smokehouse Test Kitchen

The Coop A Southern Affair in Winter Park

While you'd think seeing the test kitchen and sampling some tasty eats from The Coop would make your day.  The folks at Rockaway PR took it up another notch and brought in panelist of 5 JamesBeard nominated chefs including: John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse and The Coop, Scott Hunnel of Victoria & Albert's, Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon, Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant and Brandon McGlamery of Luma & Prato.  James Beard Award winner Norman Van Aken of Norman's moderated the panel.
Chef Norman asked the panel various questions about the food scene here in Orlando.  The chefs all agreed that supporting local farms supports themselves.  Chef Kathleen had stated that working with small farmers is a labor of love.  

I found it interesting that while we live in a tourist town the panel all agreed that their focus is on the local guest.  The tourists will come and go, but the locals are the backbone.  

Chef Scott mentioned that Walt Disney World's International Food & Wine Festival is drawing many "foodies" to the area.  It would be nice if the local restaurants could build on that.

The panel all agreed that it's wonderful to see East End Market take off the way it has.  This could be a great way to get people excited about local food here in Orlando.  Chef Hari wants to see East End Markets all over Central Florida.  
The whole experience made me feel good about living in Orlando.  While many folks think we are just about the parks and attractions, those at the discussion know otherwise.  Orlando has a lot to offer the locals and those in town visiting.  I feel the momentum growing and hope you will enjoy participating in this journey of exploring local food here in Orlando.