Putting the freshest, most sustainable food on the tables of Orlando's restaurants is the goal of goFLA, the Greater Orlando Food Leaders Alliance, Central Florida's first coalition of chefs and food advocates formed to promote local cuisine.
Members of goFLA, include restaurant owners, writers, suppliers, artisans and promoters, and all are pledging to increase sourcing of local ingredients to encourage and support the growth of Central Florida's small farms and artisan producers.
To prove how serious they are, chefs, farmers, seafood purveyors and all around foodies gathered at East End Market to sign a food "Manifesto" promising to support Florida farmers and other suppliers.
Chef Norman Van Aken, of Norman's at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando (pictured above - top), was the master of ceremonies and he, along with several other chefs, read each of the Manifesto's eight principles, the first being:
"We pledge to promote the bounty of Central Florida's farmlands, oceans and producers, and to develop inventive ways to use regional ingredients. Chefs will utilize their expertise and talents to create and promote dishes demonstrating the diversity and taste of our locally sourced and seasonal ingredients and to highlight them and their suppliers on menus whenever possible."
Those signing the Manifesto included chefs all known for their support of local food purveyors including Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon, Hari and Jennifer Pulapaka of Cress restaurant in Deland and Tim Keating, executive chef at Flying Fish Café at Disney's Boardwalk (pictured above - middle). "Our mantra at the Flying Fish Cafe at Disney's BoardWalk Resort always has been to procure the freshest, high-quality, sustainable products from the fields, oceans and ranches, and share them with our guests as quickly as possible to ensure the utmost flavor. After all, we chefs are in the business of selling flavor! The goFLA movement/manifesto, supporting local farms and suppliers, helps to solidify that belief day-in day-out in our culinary environs. We are truly honored to be part of such an amazing group of high-spirited professionals that are so committed to promoting awareness of the bounty that Central Florida has to offer."
To read the entire Manifesto click here: www.sunshineplate.org