Central Florida is sending another group of chefs to cook at New York’s prestigious Beard House. Scott Mauere, executive chef at Peabody Orlando, and Kevin Fonzo of K restaurant in College Park, will take over the kitchen in the basement of the 12th Avenue townhouse on October 10. Joining them will be Gene Zimmerman, who is soon to open a bar in downtown Orlando called The Courtesy. The bar will will pair local mixologists (also known as bartenders) with local chefs and will feature juices and other ingredients locally sourced.
Fonzo said the menu and theme for the Beard dinner has not yet been determined, but that Zimmerman would be doing the cocktail hour before the seated dinner. Maurer and Fonzo will take along some assistant cooks, as well as ingredients from the gardens behind K.
Fonzo is a past nominee for a Beard Foundation Award. No Central Florida chefs have ever won Best Chef South Region (Norman Van Aken, owner of Norman’s at the Ritz Carlton, won when he had only a Miami restaurant.) Central Florida chefs are often overlooked simply because the judges have never tasted their food. Booking the hard-to-schedule Beard facility increases the visibility of our local talent.
Fonzo has cooked at the Beard House previously, most recently with Jamie McFadden (also a multi visitor), Scott Copeland of Antonio’s La Fiamma, and James and Julie Petrakis of the Ravenous Pig. As announced previously, John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse is scheduled to cook at the House in August 2013.