Imagine my sheer delight when I received an invitation to witness our local Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans as they publicly sign the Greater Orlando Food Leaders Alliance (goFLA) manifesto. Huge Shout to the illustrious Mr. Joseph Hayes (Food Writer, Playwright, Jazz advocate) for including me in this exclusive and unprecedented local food movement.
Putting the freshest, most sustainable local food on the plates of diners in Greater Orlando is the goal of goFLA, the Greater Orlando Food Leaders Alliance, Central Florida’s first coalition of chefs and food advocates formed to promote farm-to-table cuisine and boost the region’s culinary reputation. An ideal close to my heart, since I am a staunch supporter of Eat Local Be Local!!
Attending this historic epic moment were Chef Normal Van Aken- Norman’s Restaurant, Orlando James Beard Foundation Semi-Finalist Chefs including Chefs Kathleen Blake – Rusty Spoon; Kevin Fonzo – K Restaurant; Scott Hunnel – Victoria & Albert’s; Brandon McGlamery – Luma on Park and Prato; James and Julie Petrakis – Cask & Larder and Ravenous Pig; Hari Pulapaka – Cress Restaurant; and Henry Salgado – Txokos Kitchen and Spanish River Grill.
Members of chef-driven goFLA, including restaurant owners, writers, suppliers, artisans and promoters, are pledging to increase sourcing of local ingredients; to encourage and support the growth of small farms and artisan producers; and to promote the remarkable bounty of Central Florida’s fields, waters and producers. The organization has begun promoting Florida’s abundance through Twitter and on Facebook via the hashtag #SunshinePlate.
The signed goFLA Manifesto permanently will hang in the Apex at East End Market as a tribute to the region’s growing interest in supporting local farmers, fishermen and other local food producers, and to “honor the remarkable resources of the Central Florida food basket by telling the story of who we are, of the power of what we do, and why we do it here,” the document reads.
We, the undersigned, celebrate the world of possibilities afforded by the bounty and beauty of Central Florida and are committed to our position as leaders in our culinary and cultural landscape. As chefs, restaurant owners, farmers, producers, writers, artisans, suppliers, pastry makers, line cooks and creative promoters, using our self-expression and talents, we pledge to honor the remarkable resources of the Central Florida food basket by telling the story of who we are, of the power of what we do, and why we do it here.
Honoring the rich multi-cultural influences and agricultural bounty of our region and our state, the impact of food choices on our collective personal health, and the integrity of the global environment, we affirm the following principles: To read the goFLA Manifesto in its entirety, click here.
Electric energy, scintillating company, local hand-crafted cocktails, and delectable bites by the finest chefs in Central Florida showcasing local Floridian ingredients. The evening was a glorious celebration of #sunshineplate and I for one was proud and humbled to be part of this esteemed inauguration.
Check out these mouth-watering food shots by the talented Mr. Michael Lothrop.
I even managed to catch a candid moment with the brilliant food photographer Julius Mayo of Droolius.
Food and Libations provided by: Kathleen Blake – Rusty Spoon; Kevin Fonzo – K Restaurant Wine Bar; Bram Fowler – Journey’s Catering; Alexia Gawlak – Siro Urban Italian Kitchen; Rhys Gawlak – Cask & Larder; Scott Hunnel – Victoria & Albert’s; Tim Keating – Flying Fish Café; James and Julie Petrakis – Cask & Larder; Hari Pulapaka – Cress Restaurant; Greg Richie – Cityfish; Henry Salgado – Txokos Basque Kitchen; bartenders Timothy Bradstreet – Siro; Samm Holder – The Woods; Paul Johnsen – United States Bartenders.