Prevue asked Scott Josesh, owner of Scott Joseph’s, his thoughts on key Orlando food trends for 2011.
Q: How has the dining scene in Orlando evolved over the past few years?
A: The world is beginning to discover that the Greater Orlando area has an array of fine-dining restaurants that offer everything from jackets-required fine-dining to casual lakeside fare. And because Orlando is accustomed to hosting large trade shows and meetings, many of the city’s restaurants are well equipped to handle large groups.
Q: Is there a varied selection of international cuisines and restaurants in the city?
A: You can get just about any cuisine you can imagine: Ethiopian, Brazilian, Greek, Moroccan, Korean, Indian, Cuban, Puerto Rican, German, Colombian, Lebanese, Polynesian and Indonesian.
Q: What are some exciting cultural venues often used for group dining events?
A: You’ll find a vast array of unique venues that can be turned into lavish off-site restaurants in a flash. You could have your banquet among dinosaurs and scientific displays at the Orlando Science Center, in the midst of fine art at the Orlando Museum of Art, or under the gaze of statuary in the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.
Q: What are a few of the destination’s signature WOW group dining experiences?
A: How about a rocket theme? You won’t find a place more authentic than Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. You might even be able to arrange a dinner in the atrium of The Mall at Millenia, surrounded by the likes of Tiffany’s, Cartier and Neiman-Marcus.
Of course, Orlando is world renown for its theme parks. You can build an event around Universal Orlando® Resort’s new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Or dine next to Shamu’s inland cove at SeaWorld® Orlando. And Mickey and friends are always up for a good time at any of the Walt Disney World® Resort’s parks.
Like wildlife? It doesn’t get much wilder than Gatorland.
Less wild? Combine your dinner with a show, maybe Cirque du Soleil® – La Nouba at Downtown Disney or the Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk.
Q: What one or two amazing dishes should everyone visiting the city of Orlando sample before they leave?
A: Cuban food is a must-have when visiting Florida. The island nation is just 90 miles off the tip of Florida, so Orlando has a special affinity for that type of cuisine and all of its many manifestations that meeting and incentive groups can discover all across the city.
What else should attendees also try while they’re here? Some of our signature dishes include paella valenciana— a yellow rice dish cooked with a variety of seafood and chicken, as well as a variety of pork dishes and stews.