When Francis Metais (Director for Luxury Food & Beverage Operations) stands up in the front of the private dining room you are in at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando and presents you with a dish that has butter made from pine needles and tells you you are going to love it, you dive in fork first.
Why exactly was I in a private dining room at the Waldorf Orlando? let’s back things up a bit.
Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts recently announced the second year of Taste of Waldorf Astoria, a global culinary program in partnership with the James Beard Foundation (JBF), the United States’ foremost culinary arts organization. This fall, the search for the next iconic Waldorf dish continues with a fresh group of five hand-selected JBF Rising Star Semi-Finalist chefs dispatching to five new participating Waldorf Astoria destinations around the globe, including Amsterdam, New Orleans, Beijing, Jerusalem, and our very own Orlando location.
I was lucky enough to snag a seat at the special preview dinner where Orlando’s dish was revealed. The following menu was devised at the hands of Bernard Fiemeyer, Executive Chef at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and JBF Rising Star Semi-Finalist Jamilka Borges, the Chef de Cuisine at Bar Marco and Founder of Swing Truck (Pittsburgh, PA).
House-Made Cheese | Grapefruit Salt | Red Endive | Beluga Lentils | Heirloom Tomato | Chiogga Beets | Baguette Crouton | Mache | Arugula | Shaved Asparagus | EVOO Powder | Barrel Vinegar
Blue Point Oyster | Chicken Oyster | Caulifower and Broccoli Custard | Comte Cheese | Chervil Broth | Salted Back Fat
Black Cod | Clams and Pine Needle Butter | Zellwood Corn | Florida Truffle | Sumac Tomato | Elderberry Syrup
Chocolate Lips | Pana Cotta | Tahitian Vanilla Crème Anglaise | Caramelia Chocolate Lipstick and Cotton Candy | Strawberry Powder
(for the Ladies)
Stone Ground Organic Mexican Chocolate Cigar, Expresso Gelato and Cookie Cup, Soft Peak Whipped Cream
(for the Gentlemen)
Last year, Taste of Waldorf Astoria winners Heinz Beck, Waldorf Astoria Master Chef, at La Pergola at Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, and David Posey, formerly Executive Chef at Blackbird in Chicago, were awarded top honors with their Celery Root Risotto alla Waldorf. The dish was a reinvention of the iconic Waldorf Salad, using an innovative technique replacing the traditional rice base of risotto with celery root.
This year each participating chef will prepare their recipes in New York on February 24, 2016, for a panel of culinary luminaries, who will ultimately decide the winning dish. The final Taste of Waldorf Astoria will be featured at each of the brand’s 25 hotels and resorts worldwide, joining its storied culinary legacy with a modern classic for today’s luxury traveler.
Track each chef’s on-property journey and dish creation by following @WaldorfAstoria on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtag #TasteofWaldorf. For more information about the Waldorf Astoria Orlando Resort visit www.waldorfastoriaorlando.com