The regional search for a signature dish that represents Orlando came to a celebratory close in December, just in time to ring in the holiday season. In a friendly culinary competition, hosted in partnership with Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Visit Orlando, groups of local chefs were tasked with creating a dish highlighting local honey – an ingredient representative of the diversity, sweetness and unique attributes of Central Florida.
Chef Catherine Delrieu of Mon Petit Cheri Café in Winter Park won the culinary competition with her “Honey Nougat Glacé” creation. Four celebrity judges, including Dessert Professional Magazine Editor Tish Boyle, Orlando Sentinel Food Columnist Lauren Delgado, local food writer Scott Joseph and James Beard Foundation Award Winner Chef Art Smith, judged the competition.
“I have to be honest, I checked the competition website quite a bit during the submittal period and I was so impressed by the dishes and, of course, the chefs,” Mayor Jacobs said. “Each chef really put their heart and soul into their dish. Listening to their thoughts and learning about their creative process in coming up with their individual dish made it clear that our chefs did not take this task lightly.”
Ten area chefs were selected as finalists for the competition. Finalists ranged from executive pastry chefs from some of Central Florida’s world-class resorts to chefs of beloved local eateries.
The Orlando Signature Dish Culinary Competition aims to expand people’s awareness of the rich and unique culinary offerings found throughout the region. Due to its temperate climate and agricultural origins, Central Florida has an abundance of local crops and plants that contribute to numerous flavors of honey, including gallberry, saw palmetto, blueberry, Brazilian pepper, and of course – popular orange blossom from the region’s once-flourishing citrus groves.
Featured Photo: Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and James Beard Foundation Award Winner Chef Art Smith congratulate Chef Catherine Delrieu of Mon Petit Cheri Café in Winter Park on her winning dish, Honey Nougat Glacé.