Orlando's culinary scene heating up. Recently rated No. 1 foodie city in the U.S. by WalletHub, Orlando has already made significant national headlines in 2017. Orlando’s food scene has been featured in The Boston Globe (here and here), The Toronto Sun, Style BluePrint, Delta Magazine, New York Magazine and Thrillist.
National recognition for Orlando chefs and restaurants has also been on the rise this year. Two Orlando chefs were nominated for the national James Beard award. Three Orlando restaurants were featured in celebrity chef Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Orlando’s foodie scene recently welcomed the re-opening of Guy Fieri’s the famous Planet Hollywood, and Orlando hotspot Redlight Redlight was highlighted in USA Today’s 10 Best BrewPubs of 2017.
“Orlando's restaurant and dining scene has changed drastically these past 15 years,” says Ricky Ly, local food blog author of Tasty Chomps. “Our chefs are using more locally sourced and sustainable products in crafting their dishes, sourcing at local farms and fisheries when possible. From Prato to The Osprey Tavern to Urbain 40, there are a plethora of new modern American restaurants that cater to this trend of farm to table - and many are now being recognized with James Beard award nominations.”
Not only is Orlando’s dining exploding with national coverage and recognition, but a unified, sustainable food community is planting its roots here. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden opened in College Park, a local neighborhood outside of Orlando, on April 12th. This is the first-ever community kitchen house and garden in the United States, and it will serve families and community members in gardening and farm-to-table cooking education. The Emeril Lagasse Foundation’s sustainability and community-driven initiative is just one example of the supportive food community behind the scenes of Orlando’s dynamic culinary landscape.
“What makes Orlando unique is the ability of our community to collaborate and encourage the success of others,” writes Kristine Thomas, founder of Orlando Food Lab, a local nonprofit founded to encourage conversations between Orlando food entrepreneurs, or foodpreneurs. “Regardless if you produce food, photograph and blog food, or just enjoy consuming it, you will not find a more tight-knit community that pulls together to support each other like Orlando’s amazing food scene. Orlando’s foodies are banding together to foster the growth of a more resilient, more diverse, and more delicious local food community.”
This close-knit network of foodprenuers and local restaurant advocates sets Orlando’s food community apart from food destinations around the world. Orlando is a place where foodprenuers can experiment, grow rapidly, and make their mark on a diverse and growing community. The Orlando foodie community is proud to support both up-and-coming and internationally acclaimed chefs.
Orlando has officially joined the ranks of the great foodie destinations. But before you assume you know all there is to know about dining in Orlando, take a peek behind the curtain of Orlando’s excellent restaurant scene and you will find a community eager to support a sustainable future and broadcast Orlando’s rising status as a game-changing culinary community.
Pictured: Kadence started out as a small shop located in East End Market and has recently begun construction on their new restaurant in Audubon Park, a Main Street neighborhood of Orlando.