Orlando Dining: Meet Our Celebrity Chefs


Orlando Dining: Meet Our Celebrity Chefs

Get to know 13 celebrity chefs who help make Orlando one of the world’s most delicious destinations.

The secret is out: Celebrity chefs from around the world are increasingly choosing to showcase their talent in Orlando! From the tourism area to downtown, and other spots throughout the destination, here is a baker’s dozen of famous chefs who are making Orlando a culinary mecca, one bite at a time.

      Emeril Lagasse at Universal Orlando Resort

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The chef, restaurateur, TV personality and author brings the “bam!” daily to Universal CityWalk at Emeril’s Orlando, which features gourmet Creole creations. Sporting an industrial-chic loft vibe, the restaurant also features an open kitchen, an intimate tasting room, a 10,000-bottle wine gallery and a cigar bar.

The Tasting Room is perfect for intimate VIP gatherings seating up to eight guests. Other private dining options include the Julia-Tchoupitoulas Room (seats up to 60, 75 for cocktails only), Wine Room I (20 guests), Wine Room II (28 guests) and the Main Dining Room (up to 120 guests). Finally, the two wine rooms can be reserved together for 48 total guests, or 70 for reception-style entertaining.

Celebrity Chefs at Walt Disney World Resort

Without a doubt, Disney Springs boasts the highest concentration of celebrity chefs in the Orlando area. Here’s a look at the famous names you can dine with now and in the near future at the walkable dining, entertainment and shopping district.

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José Andrés at Jaleo: Named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” and awarded “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation, Andrés is bringing his famed Jaleo brand to Disney Springs’ West Side neighborhood later this year. Focusing on the spirit and flavors of Spain, the new venture is said to be the biggest, boldest Jaleo yet.

Details on Jaleo’s event options will be announced in the near future.

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Rick Bayless at Frontera Cocina: Located in Town Center, this restaurant is as notable for its design elements as for its authentic Mexican fare. Having notched up eight James Beard Awards in his career, Bayless is also known for television hits such as Mexico — One Plate at a Time and Bravo’s Top Chef Masters.

Frontera Cocina is also available for meetings and events, ranging from 10-person get-togethers to full venue buyouts.

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Guy Fieri at Planet Hollywood Observatory: A New York Times bestselling author and Emmy Award-winning television host, this chef and restaurateur is known as the Mayor of Flavortown. While he doesn’t oversee Planet Hollywood’s entire menu, Fieri did contribute a signature line of burgers and sandwiches to the iconic Town Center restaurant’s culinary lineup.

Semi-private and full buyouts are available at this unique location, with space for as many as 1,100 guests with unique branding opportunities on its massive 4,500 square-foot video wall.

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Tony Mantuano at Terralina Crafted Italian: Slated to open this spring, Mantunao’s new venture updates his former Disney Springs eatery, Portobello, with fresh menus and ambience. Focusing on authentic Italian cuisine, the restaurant will also feature a wood-burning oven and craft cocktails. Among Mantuano’s many honors is a James Beard Award nod for Best Chef in 2005.

As part of Terralina’s renovations, the restaurant now has a semi-private space for group dining with 20 or more guests, and it can accommodate as many as 350 guests.

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Masaharu Morimoto at Morimoto Asia: Best known for his winning appearances on Iron Chef, Morimoto has been refining his craft for nearly 40 years. Located in Disney Springs’ The Landing, this namesake restaurant invites you to partake in a culinary journey across Asia. Late-night revelers will also be glad to know about the eatery’s Forbidden Lounge, which is open till 2 a.m. daily.

Morimoto Asia has four private dining rooms that seat up to 8 guests each, and custom options for groups of 20 or more — including as many as 2,000 guests when paired with the adjacent Art Smith’s Homecomin’. The restaurant’s menu is also available for private event catering.

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Wolfgang Puck at Wolfgang Puck Express and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill: Currently, you can get a sampling of this legend’s creations at Wolfgang Puck Express in The Marketplace neighborhood. This summer, look forward to the debut of the all-new Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill in Town Center. It will feature a Mediterranean-influenced menu and ambience inspired by California. Details on Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill’s event options are TBA.

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Art Smith at Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen: A two-time James Beard award winner, Smith is also a sixth-generation Floridian who’s appeared on such cooking shows as BBQ Pitmasters and Top Chef Masters. Found in The Landing, his Disney Springs eatery pays homage to Florida’s rich agricultural heritage with farm-to-table freshness.

Standard reservations can be made for groups up to 25 guests. For large groups, the restaurant’s interior can be bought out and seats up to 200 people. They’ll also expand the footprint to include their outdoor promenade, making room for 500 guests. And for events with as many as 2,000 people, Homecomin’ can make it happen by teaming up with Morimoto Asia.

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Also at Walt Disney World, Todd English’s bluezoo can be found be found at Disney’s Swan and Dolphin Resort. Stylish and entertaining, English has appeared on such TV programs as Cooking Under Fire and Food Trip. With an assist from Chef Christopher McDonough, English’s bluezoo combines the freshest seafood and global coastal cuisine with an unforgettable atmosphere. Multiple private and group dining options are available at this eatery, including a special group dining menu.

    Celebrity Chefs Throughout Orlando

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Melissa Kelly at Primo: Happily for Orlando, Kelly’s original Primo in Maine closes in the winter, during which time she can often be found overseeing operations at the famous eatery’s location at the JW Marriott, Grande Lakes. Both serve Mediterranean cuisine using local, organic ingredients. A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Kelly is a two-time James Beard Award recipient. Primo’s multiple dining rooms are perfect for group experiences, whether they be cozy get-togethers or large celebrations.

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Roberto Treviño at El Buda: Head to downtown Orlando’s trendy Church Street district for this new venture from Iron Chef star Treviño. Situated in a historic building, the restaurant serves dishes that fuse the flavors of Asia and Latin America. It also features a speakeasy-style lounge serving handcrafted cocktails. Private and group dining options are available at El Buda.

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Norman Van Aken at Norman’s and 1921 by Norman Van Aken: The only Floridian inducted into the James Beard list of “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage,” Van Aken is a homegrown celebrity chef with two local options. His original Orlando eatery, Norman’s, can be found at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Head to Mount Dora, about 40 minutes from downtown Orlando, for 1921.

Both of Van Aken’s Orlando restaurants can handle private dining and group events. At Norman’s, the maximum is 400 people. 1921 has a similar footprint, and a partnership with Modernism Museum Mount Dora, which is across the street from the eatery, provides even more options.

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Roy Yamaguchi at Roy’s Restaurant: The winner of multiple awards, Yamaguchi has appeared on countless TV series, including Iron Chef, Hawaii Cooks and others. Featuring inspired bites and enticing cocktails, this eatery is located on Orlando’s famed Restaurant Row, just minutes from Universal Orlando and SeaWorld.

Roy’s can handle everything from intimate board meetings to VIP corporate events. Furthermore, custom event menus are available.

Discover Delectable Dining in Orlando

Among Orlando’s five dining and entertainment complexes, you’re attendees are sure to something to please every taste and budget. Perhaps that’s why Orlando was recently named “Best Foodie City” for the money by WalletHub.com.

To plan a memorable dine-around or private event at one of these exciting new eateries, reach out to our Destination Services team and let our Destination experts go to work for you. Happy eating!

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