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Grande Lakes’ April Curated Experiences has changes and enhancements

Written By Scott Joseph On April 5, 2021

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Following the success of the inaugural event in February, the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott will host the second Curated Experiences weekend April 23 through 25 at the beautiful Grande Lakes Orlando. Celebrity chef John Tesar of Knife & Spoon will once again be on hand, this time joined by Primo’s Melissa Kelly.

I attended the first Curated Experiences weekend and found there was so much to do that I had to spread the review over two articles. You can read part one here and part two here.

Based on feedback from attendees, the Grande Lakes team is offering multiple ticket options this time. Guests may still opt to attend the full weekend, beginning with the Friday reception featuring food stations from the many Grande Lakes restaurants and chefs, Saturday’s full day of seminars, including lunch, and a multi-course wine-paired dinner, and a sumptuous brunch on Sunday at Knife & Spoon.

Or, you can choose to attend only Saturday’s events, with dinner or not. Or just go out for the dinner.

The pricing structure for April is:


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Option 1: $750 per person for the entire weekend experience
Option 2: $600 per person for all of the Saturday events including our Curated Experiences and the wine pairing dinner
Option 3: $300 per person for four Curated Experiences only, Saturday morning through afternoon
Option 4: $300 per person for Wine Pairing Dinner only Saturday evening

I think this is a good change that will make the event more accessible to more people. But I can tell you that the full weekend experience is worth it, especially if you can make a staycation of it and spend a couple of nights, as I did.

There’s another change this time that I really like. Back in February, attendees had to choose between equally enticing experiences from the Saturday roster of events and I had a hard time deciding. This time some of the more intriguing events, such as the Art of Chocolate by chef/sculptor Victor Dagatan and the Wine Blending event are offered twice, so you can do both. You’ll still have to choose between one of those and either the whiskey tasting or mixology class, but it’s a good dilemma to have.

Tesar class

Tesar, above, will once again present Dry Aging: Perfume and Process, explaining the technique he employs with the meats at Knife & Spoon. Kelly will offer an Italian cooking demonstration at Primo, the Orlando version of her award-winning Maine restaurant. Those events include lunch.

Tesar and Kelly will each present a course for the Saturday evening wine pairing dinner, along with guest chefs Kathleen Blake (formerly of Rusty Spoon) and Eddie Nickell (Bites & Bubbles).

There are a lot of other fine choices, including the Art of Pastry, Brunch Mixology and a tour and lunch at Whisper Creek Farm. There are non food and drink options, too, including a fly casting demonstration, tennis and pickle ball clinic, and Falconry School where you’ll have a chance to hold the big birds.

Plus an exotic car display and a chance to meet the makers of fine watches. Like I said: There’s a lot to do.

Participation is kept at a manageable number to facilitate proper distancing – I felt quite safe during my two-night stay at the Ritz – so be sure to register early. You can do that and see the full roster of Curated Events by clicking here.

CE Ritz

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