Taste Cook Sip

Tasting, cooking, sipping and snapping through life in Orlando.

STK Orlando opens in Disney Springs

After a week of soft opening festivities, STK Orlando is now open to the public in Disney Springs. The two level steakhouse features a contemporary dining room and bar downstairs, a bar dining area upstairs along with 3 outside dining spaces offering views of the Disney Springs. The atmosphere is chic and high energy, with a DJ spinning throwback favorites and current hits.

I had the opportunity to sample several drinks and dishes on my visit during the grand opening party. The signature, bite-sized Lil’ BRGs are made with Wagyu beef and special sauce were delicious. A perfect way to start a meal, or to accompany cocktails later in the evening.

We also enjoyed the chili rubbed lamb chops from the grill. They were tender and extremely flavorful, we look forward to trying the full Chili Rubbed Rack of Lamb entree, served with apple sweet potato puree and baby beets.

Those seeking for a well crafted cocktail, look no further. The menu full bar menu features creative spins on traditional favorites, like the Not Your Daddy’s Manhattan made with Bulleit bourbon, zinfandel port, carpano antica sweet vermouth, bitters. For something lighter, try the Cucumber Stiletto made with Ketel One citroen vodka, st. germain, muddled cucumber and fresh mint. We also enjoyed the Smoke Show¬†made with Don Julio tequila, mescal, aperol and carpano antica sweet vermouth.¬†

By the end of your dinner, expect some club-like fun when STK staff dance through with trays of complementary shots to get the party vibe rolling.

Check out @TasteCookSip on Instagram for opening night videos and food pictures, you can follow the tags #EATSTK and #STKorlando to follow  what is happening on social media. Reservations are recommended and may be made by calling 407-917-7440 or visiting STK Orlando online.

STK Orlando
1580 E. Buena Vista Drive
Orlando, FL 32821

Open 7 days a week

Mon-Sun: 11:30am – 4:00pm

Sun-Thu: 5:00pm – 11:00pm
Fri & Sat: 5:00pm – Midnight

Sip, Savor & Support at the Orlando Science of Wine

Sip, Savor & Support at the Orlando Science of Wine

Delicious things are happening at the 6th annual Orlando Science of Wine event held Saturday, May 30, from 7:00 ‚Äď 10:00 p.m. at the Orlando Science Center. Guests may taste over 150 wines from around the world, accompanied by food pairings from some of Orlando’s best restaurants. The popular wine tasting event sells out in advance, there are still a limited amount of tickets available to purchase online.


Proceeds from the Science of Wine support the ongoing educational programs that benefit learners of all ages at the Orlando Science Center. The ticket price includes all food and wine sampling, onsite entertainment and interactive demonstrations.


As you sip wine and¬†explore the Orlando Science Center, be sure to plan a stop into Dr. Dare’s Lab at 7:30 or 9:00. Food Network Star and Retro Rad Chef, Emily Ellyn, will be leading a interactive, hands on seminar where attendees will update a childhood favorite with the addition of wine.

Emily talks about her love of cooking and gives a behind the scenes peek of her upcoming Science of Wine demonstration, and her love of cooking with wine, in a recent conversation with the Orlando Science Center.¬†The Science of Wine delivers a fun evening of exploring wonderful wines and Orlando’s delicious food scene, purchase your ticket before this great event sells out.

6th Annual Science of Wine
April 30, 2016 | 7:00 ‚Äď 10:00 p.m.
Members: $75
General: $95
Ticket price includes all food and wine tastings.

Orlando Science Center
777 E. Princeton Street
Orlando, Florida 32803

Pocket-friendly luxury with Wagyu & Wine at The Capital Grille

We were invited to visit The Capital Grille to experience their Wagyu & Wine menu, now through November 22, 2015 at all area locations. Master Sommelier George Miliotes has paired two lovely red wines with Executive Chef Michael LaDukes favorite Wagyu beef burgers. For just $25 per pairing, it’s a match made in heaven!

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Both pairings were delicious, showcasing the wine and the burgers beautifully. Pairing Number 1 is bold, with the 2012 Justin Vineyards Isosceles Cabernet Sauvignon and the Gorgonzola and Black Truffle Wagyu burger. Pairing Number 2 is equally harmonious, with the 2013 Landmark Vineyards Overlook Pinot Noir with Wagyu Cheeseburger with fried egg and crisp onions.

#Video at @theCapitalGrille Millenia of the Wagyu and Wine Pairing Number 2: @landmarkwine Overlook Pinot Noir with Wagyu Cheeseburger topped with fried egg and crisp onions. Also available: Pairing Number 1, @justinvineyards Isosceles Cabernet Sauvignon and Capital Grille Gorgonzola and Black Truffle Wagyu burger. This tasty experience is available now through 11/22/2015 at The Capital Grille. #Orlando #OrlandoFood #OrlandoDining #foodies #videooftheday #instavideo #foodPhotography #foodPorn #huffposttaste #foodgawker #foodpics #buzzfeedfood #noms #foodgasm #Burger #burgerporn #foodart #instadaily #instayum #eeeeeats #feedfeed #eat #foodphotography #latergram #TheCapitalGrille #wagyuandwine #TCSTravel #TasteCookSip A video posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

At the recommendation of our server, we mixed things up by substituting truffle fries with the second pairing. We loved the bright notes in the Landmark Pinot Noir against the earthy truffle flavor.

A photo posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

As a starter, we tried the Butternut Squash Bisque with curried apples. The warmth of the subtle curry balanced out the acidity in the apples; this velvety bisque is available now on the Capital Grille fall menu.

Dessert are worth saving room for, The Capital Grille Cheesecake is light and creamy, with a bruleed sugar crust and seasonal berries.

A photo posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

The Flourless Chocolate Espresso Cake with fresh raspberries and raspberry coulis will have you swooning. Rich and chocolately, it’s another perfect pairing with either of the red wines offered during The Capital Grille Wagyu & Wine menu. This delicious pairing event is available through November 22, 2015 in The Capital Grille lounge. We highly recommend grabbing a friend to taste your way through both sumptuous Wagyu burger and wine pairings, we bet you cannot pick a favorite.

The Capital Grille
The Mall At Millenia
4200 Conroy Rd,
Orlando, FL 32839
(407) 351-2210

The Capital Grille
Pointe Orlando
9101 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
(407) 370-4392

Sake shines at Umi in Winter Park

Umi Japanese Restaurant is located on south Park Avenue in Winter Park, just steps away from Rollins College. The beautifully appointed restaurant offers a main dining room with open Sushi kitchen, a large bar area and outside dining. We were invited to experience how the Umi culinary and cocktail team are showcasing and pairing Japan’s national beverage, Sake. While most of us have enjoyed sake warmed at some point in our lives, the way to appreciate the nuances and flavors in a good sake, is gently chilled.

We started our evening with a delicious Soju & Sake based martini, the Calming Mind; the fresh mint and lime were the stars of this refreshing drink. Soju is a rice-based spirit that is produced in Korea, with a lower alcohol content than Vodka. Neutral in taste, it’s a nice substitution for vodka a home and readily available on cocktail menus and retail locations throughout Central Florida.¬†

To start, we tucked into Umi’s Dragon Roll featuring crawfish and a kick of cajun spice and heat from a shishito pepper which did not overwhelm the Yellowtail sashimi. The Dragon Roll was a wonderful compliment to our Calming Mind Saketini.

We loved the fresh, Floribbean fusion flavors in the Umi Mango Tango Roll. Premium Crab salad and coconut shrimp were showcased with thinly sliced ripe mango and a sweet Yuzu sauce. This fully cooked roll was a hit with our table. 

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We had the pleasure of tasting several items from¬†the expansive sake list. A stand out was very special, rose colored Junmai (30% milled rice) style sake. Dewatsuru, Sakura Emaki, Akita sourced from 1000 year old ‚ÄúMurasaki Mai‚ÄĚ purple rice grains, it took over 70 years to bring this ancient grain back from the brink of extinction and yielding enough harvested rice to produce sake. Tasting notes: aroma of cherry and plum, notes of apples and berries, touch of sweetness, crisp but balanced acidity.

A photo posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

Another new experience for us was infused sake, the Umi house-infused Pineapple Sake was a delicious experience. Not too sweet, the fresh Pineapple did not overpower the sake. Served chilled, this is a light and delightfully refreshing beverage that any sake drinker will appreciate.

Robata Squid. Whole squid brushed with yuzu butter and seared, served with yuzu kosho aioli. For those that prefer a cooked entree, there is a large selection of items that will satisfy. We particularly liked the Robata Squid, a whole squid brushed with yuzu butter and seared, served with yuzu kosho aioli.
Robata grilled Pork belly. Seared house butakakuni-marinated pork belly

We also enjoyed the Pork Belly in a house butakakuni-marinade and seared on the Robata grill. While you could enjoy with sake, this delicious dish is begging for a cold craft beer. Umi has a wonderful selection of craft beers on tap and by the bottle. It was especially nice to see local producers Tamoka Brewery Company, Orange Blossom Brewing, Swamp Head Brewing and Cigar City Brewing on the menu.

To experience all that Umi has to offer, don’t be shy! Ask your server, bartender or the restaurant manager for sake pairing recommendations to enhance your dining experience. Umi Japanese Restaurant is open for both lunch and dinner, reservations may be made by calling (407) 960-3993 or by using Opentable.com.

Umi Japanese Restaurant Winter Park
525 S Park Ave.
Winter Park, FL 32789
(407) 960-3993

Chuy’s Green Chile Fest shines a light on Hatch Chile peppers

Chuy’s Mexican restaurant has been celebrating the Hatch green chile pepper for twenty seven years and even farms their own peppers to use in their restaurants. With three Orlando area locations, Orlandoans can celebrate the fresh flavors and mild heat of this Hatch chile pepper now through September 6th. We were invited to check out the special Green Chile Festival menu, and left with an appreciation for Chuy’s kitchen and bar preparations. Chuy’s staff is making every item from scratch, from the sauces to the freshly mixed, pressed and cooked flour tortillas.

Starting with the a unique cocktail, we enjoyed the heat from the new Mexican Martini, made with green chile infused El Jimador tequila. Upon first sip, the lime and Cointreau gave way to the building heat of the green chile. Well done!

If you are looking for something to cool you down, the Frozen Watermelon Margarita is a refreshing burst summer flavors. Not too sweet and made with fresh watermelon puree, it was delicious with Chuy’s hand-prepared guacamole and tortilla chips. There are plenty of great options on the #GreenChileFest menu, but we narrowed it down to trying the VIP Combo and the Veggie Fajitas.

The VIP combo is an impressive plate filled with one Bacon Wrapped Pork Relleno topped with Salsa Brava and drizzled with spicy crema and one Fat Daddy Enchilada (Fajita chicken, fresh spinach, mushrooms, red onions and jack cheese, rolled inside homemade corn tortillas, smothered with Green Chile Rosado Sauce and fresh roasted green chiles.) Served with a Chile Festival green chile rice & refried beans.  

VIP COMBO: One Bacon Wrapped Pork Relleno topped with Salsa Brava and drizzled with spicy crema and one Fat Daddy Enchilada (Fajita chicken, fresh spinach, mushrooms, red onions and jack cheese, rolled inside homemade corn tortillas, smothered with Green Chile Rosado Sauce and fresh roasted green chiles.) Served with green chile rice & refried beans. It’s Taco Tuesday and we are at¬†@ChuysRestaurant¬†to check out the 27th annual Green Chile Festival going on now through September 6th.¬†#Orlando¬†#OrlandoDining #orlandorestaurants¬†#mexicanfood¬†#texmex #chileRellenos #bacon #baconporn #enchiladas #greenchile #hatchchile¬†#salsaverde #hatchgreenchile #instayum¬†#instadaily¬† #foodpics¬†#vscofood #VSCOCam #spicy #feedfeed¬† #foodphotography¬†#noms #eeeeeats¬† #eatingfortheinsta¬†#Latergram #foodstagram¬†#chuys¬†#chuysorlando #greenchilefest¬†#TasteCookSip A photo posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

Packed with tons of great flavors, we couldn’t pick a favorite between chicken enchilada and the bacon wrapped pork chile relleno, luckily we didn’t have to choose. The green chiles added nice heat to both entree items and was a wonderful addition to the rice. ¬†We finished out green chile festival experience with the Veggie Fajitas, with an added marinated and grilled portobello mushroom on a bed of sizzling Zucchini, yellow squash, red bell, Anaheim and Serrano peppers, onions and crimini mushrooms. Served with handmade flour tortillas, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, green chile rice & refried beans, this meal was garden fresh feast. (Tap the Instagram video to experience the enticing sizzling!)

#Video Oh, the sizzle! VEGGIE FAJITAS: Zucchini, yellow squash, red bell, Anaheim and Serrano peppers, onions and crimini mushrooms. Served with handmade flour tortillas, lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, green chile rice & refried beans. Tip: Add a marinated Portobello mushroom, it’s delicious! It’s Taco Tuesday and we are at¬†@ChuysRestaurant¬†to check out the 27th annual Green Chile Festival going on now through September 6th.¬†#Orlando¬†#OrlandoDining #orlandorestaurants¬†#mexicanfood¬†#texmex #veggiefajitas #fajitas #portobellamushrooms #enchiladas #hatchchile #picodegallo #hatchgreenchile #instayum #instadaily¬†#foodpics #videooftheday #spicy #feedfeed¬†#instavideo¬†#TacoTuesday #noms #eeeeeats¬† #eatingfortheinsta¬† #Latergram #foodstagram¬†#chuys¬† #chuysorlando #greenchilefest¬†#TasteCookSip

A video posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

Any of the Green Chile Festival menu items can be enjoyed with the addition of ¬†a complimentary side of freshly roasted Hatch green chiles, which we tried. The Hatch chiles added a wonderful spiciness which amped up the yum factor of these dishes; all chileheads should head over to Chuy’s through September 6th to enjoyed this limited time treat. Check out @TasteCookSip on Instagram to see the rest of our great meal at Chuy’s and search the #GreenChileFest tag on social media to virtually experience the Hatch chile fun.

Orlando International Airport
6688 S Semoran Blvd
Orlando, FL 32822
Phone number (407) 850-9623

International Drive / I-Drive
8123 International Dr
Orlando, FL 32819
Phone number (407) 730-3602

Disney World, Horizons West / West Orlando
7913 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee, FL 34747
Phone number (407) 787-3545

Guacamole, Feta and Egg Breakfast Sandwich & NestFresh Egg Giveaway!

May is National Egg Month and we are winding up our breakfast fun with a quick and zesty Guacamole, Feta and Egg Breakfast Sandwich. It can be assembled in minutes, can be made with eggs cooked to your preference and you can enjoy open-face or not. This was our first time cooking with and tasting NestFresh Cage Free Eggs, which we could find at our local Whole Foods Market. We love eggs for breakfast, lunch or dinner, so when I was invited to try NestFresh Eggs, I was intrigued. My family mistook the intense golden yolk for our local farm fresh eggs, a high compliment.

Nest Fresh Egg Sunny Side Taste Cook Sip

The Jumbo eggs had a wonderfully buttery yolk- perfect if you like a sunny side up, soft poached or over medium egg. As you can see by my picture, I didn’t need to butter my multi grain English muffin, I squished the top down and let the magic happen. If a runny yolk isn’t your thing, this breakfast sandwich is equally delicious with a scrambled egg.

Guacamole, Feta and Egg Breakfast Sandwich

1/4 cup chunky guacamole, store bought or home made.
2 tablespoons feta crumbles with Mediterranean herbs.
1 NestFresh Cage Free Jumbo Egg, cooked to your preference.
1 toasted English Muffin, multi grain is nice with the guacamole and egg.

Split and toast English muffin. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a pat of butter. When melted, crack one NestFresh Egg into skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes until preferred doneness. Remove from heat, salt and Pepper to taste.

Spread guacamole over one side of English Muffin, sprinkle feta and top with cooked Nest Fresh Egg. Enjoy open-face or top egg with remaining English muffin half. Enjoy!

Nest Fresh Eggs Carton Guacamole Taste Cook Sip

I have one dozen NestFresh Cage Free Eggs to giveaway, so you have the star ingredient to make this healthy & delicious meal yourself. Comment below with your favorite egg dish or pop over to Taste Cook Sip’s picture of NestFresh Cage Free Eggs on Instagram and comment there, one winner will be picked at random. Comment below or on¬†instagram¬†(or both!) by midnight on Wednesday, May 27th, 2015. Check back Thursday, May 28th, 2015 as the winner will be posted here and you could be cooking up your own NestFresh Eggs¬†this weekend for breakfast. Congrats to Carolyn C who commented on Instagram, her Dad’s Smoked Salmon Egg Scramble with Mozzarella, Scallions and Cracked Black Pepper sounds delicious. We’ve added that dish to our list to try, what will you be making for breakfast?

Disclaimer: Thank you to NestFresh Eggs for providing this giveaway item free of charge. NestFresh Eggs also provided Lisa Wilk/ Taste Cook Sip with product to use, however, all opinions are my own. (We really do love a nice, runny yolk!)  This giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up only. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law.

Swine & Sons: This little piggy went to the market!

Swine & Sons is the new take out and provisions arm of Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig, by chef owners James and Julie Petrakis. Belly up to the lunch counter for a quick bite, dash in for one of the Blue Pig Specials dinners or stock your fridge and pantry with delicious Southern provisions. Swine & Sons is adjacent to Cask & Larder in Winter Park and shares a parking lot. The grand opening is Friday, April 3, 2015 and the storefront will be open to the public from 10:00 AM – 7:00PM, Tuesday – Sunday (excluding holidays as noted).

The Swine & Sons shop features a bakery counter, meat case, sandwich counter, pantry items and grab and go cases with chilled beverages, fresh sides, desserts and freezer items. Expect a rotating selection of tempting seasonal ice cream and sorbets, dinner rolls and biscuits.

Enjoyed previewing Winter Park’s new Swine & Son’s, the new take out and provisions arm of Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder. The grand opening of @swineandsons is this Friday, April 3rd at 10 a.m. We sampled delicious sandwiches, starters, charcuterie, sides, entrees, sweet stuff, @caskandlarder #craftbeer crowlers & wine. Foodies will also delight in the cool southern provisions and pantry staples available…from house pickled veggies, jams and sauces to Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice, grits, peas and more. Pictured: be sure to swing by the freezer case for bake at home S&S rolls, biscuits and rotating flavors of ice cream & sorbet. Full #FOOD pics on @TasteCookSip, I’m already looking forward to heading back! #OrlandoDining #OrlandoFood #WinterPark #Foodie #charcuterie #biscuits #ansonmills #grits #southernfood #southernliving #CaskandLarder #delicious #butcher #yum #InstaYum #instafood #Foodpic #foodPhotography #foodblogger #foodPorn #FoodComa #eatingfortheinsta #eatthis #Latergram #OMG #SwineAndSons #TasteCookSip

A photo posted by Lisa Wilk

A hot entree is available as a daily Blue Pig Special, the selection of the day includes a plentiful main, two sides and a cornbread for $17.00. Enjoy the cuisine of dining out, as take out at home. Blue Pig Specials are available until they run out for the day and can be reserved in advance. Listing of the daily menu can be found here.

The grand opening of @swineandsons is this Friday, April 3rd at 10 a.m. We enjoyed previewing today, get ready for some YUM! Pictured: split plate sampling of the nightly Blue Pig Special. Receive a home cooked entree, two sides and cornbread for $17. Also available: sandwiches, starters, charcuterie, sides, sweet stuff, @caskandlarder craft beer Crowlers, wine, southern provisions and pick up catering. #OrlandoDining #OrlandoFood #Orlando #Food #Foodie #friedchicken #southernfood #southernliving #ribs #craftbeer #crowler #charcuterie #CaskandLarder #delicious #grandopening #yum #InstaYum #instafood #Foodpic #foodPhotography #foodblogger #foodPorn #FoodComa #eatingfortheinsta #eatthis #Latergram #OMG #BluePigSpecial #SwineAndSons #TasteCookSip

A photo posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

If you’ve got your main covered, pick up a delicious side item to round out your meal. We loved the rich and cheesy Mac n’ Cheese, the zingy Fresno bread crumb topping had us coming back for another bite.

The grand opening of @swineandsons is this Friday, April 3rd at 10 a.m. We enjoyed previewing today. Pictured: Side of Mac & Cheese. Blend of cheeses baked with penne pasta, topped with Fresno hot sauce bread crumbs. Available as an ala carte side for $7, Cheddar Bacon Mac n Cheese included with the Tuesday Fried Chicken “Blue Pig Special”. Cheese lovers rejoice! Also available: sandwiches, starters, charcuterie, sides, sweet stuff, @caskandlarder craft beer Crowlers, wine, southern provisions and pick up catering. #OrlandoDining #OrlandoFood #Orlando #Food #Foodie #macandcheese #cheese #cheeseporn #cheesy #Vegetarian #veggieLife #southernfood #southernliving #BluePigSpecial #CaskandLarder #grandopening #yum #InstaYum #instafood #Foodpic #foodPhotography #foodblogger #foodPorn #FoodComa #eatingfortheinsta #eatthis #Latergram #OMG #SwineAndSons #TasteCookSip A photo posted by Taste Cook Sip (@tastecooksip) on

Swine & Sons is curing meat onsite to stock their meat case, use on their gourmet sandwiches and create hearty charcuterie platters to enjoy onsite or take home.

Expect a few creative and fun twists in the meat case, like this zippy Harrisaroni.

The Swine & Sons sandwich menu has a great selection on crafted sandwiches, the Smoked Turkey was a stand out. The tender, house smoked turkey breast was a treat.

We loved the Swine & Sons twist on a Cuban sandwich, the Southern Cuban. Pepper Jelly, Country Ham and collards add a flavorful punch to this regional favorite.

House cured pastrami and sauerkraut shine in the classic Swine & Sons Pastrami sandwich. 

The freshly fried kettle chips are completely addictive. The Ranch and Cheddar BBQ were seasoned well, but still allowed the potato flavor to come through. The Classic (plain) had just the right amount of salt.

Fans of Pimento cheese should be sure to order the Grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich and look in the cooler for the jars of Pimento Cheese and Ham Jam. 

Swine & Sons is stocked with a variety of chilled beverages including Sorghum sweetened tea, Boyland’s soda, locally microroasted and produced Blacksmith Brew Works cold brewed coffee and Cask & Larder wine and craft beer by the pint or crowler.

Swine & Sons plans to host special events and is available for private event booking on Tuesday-Sunday after 7:30pm. Call ahead, pick up catering will be the hit of your next dinner party or family gathering.

595 W Fairbanks Ave
Winter Park, FL 32789


Tuesday thru Sunday 10:00AM ‚Äď 7:00PM

Party with Food Network celebrity chef, Emily Ellyn, during Cutthroat Kitchen on 2/15/2015

Celebrity Chef, Emily Ellyn, has been keeping very busy these days, the Food Network Chef can be seen across the nation or on the airwaves as she impresses audiences with her Retro Rad cooking skills and knowledge. Emily Ellyn fans can look forward to this Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 10:00 pm on the Food Network (Brighthouse channel 59) when Emily will be competing on the popular Cutthroat Kitchen, hosted by Alton Brown. The cooking show takes contestants to their limits in three rounds of cooking challenges, but this is not your average cooking competition.

Cutthoat Kitchen contestants are presented with $25,000 to bid on roadblocks and items that put their fellow contestants at an extreme disadvantage. Whatever money remains at the end of the final round is the winner’s prize to keep. Sounds easy? It isn’t! Bidding often gets very heated, and there is everything from bizarre ingredients, the taking back of crucial key ingredients or cooking without the use of heat, pans, knives…or both hands! Challenges vary from show to show, but just when you think you’ve seen the craziest set of whammies to overcome, Alton Brown and team take it to a whole new devious level.


We caught up with Emily Ellyn to ask her about her Cutthroat Kitchen experience, Emily replied with her signature smile, “I did have fun BUT I am still shocked, amazed, giggling and dumbfounded by the challenges and cooking tests we were given!”

Having seen Cutthroat Kitchen, weren’t you terrified at what craziness they could present you with in the kitchen?

“When the producers first called me I did not want to do it! But, once they said, ‘think of it more as a game show and just have fun with it,’ I was in!”

And how about those challenges, did you have fun?

“I had such a blast competing!¬†I am excited to watch the show and see how I did‚Ķhonestly, when you are on the show you are just surviving the cooking obstacle course and your head is sooooo in the game, that it is done in a flash! My head is still reeling with thoughts ‚Äúdid that really happen? What just happened? How did Alton Brown think these challenges up?‚ÄĚ

Speaking of Alton Brown, how was it seeing your former mentor?

I was nervous to see my former mentor from Next Food Network Star, Mr. Brown, on Cuthtroat Kitchen because I KNEW he would show no mercy. I feared the challenges would be more diabolical because I was his mentee!!

Any words of advice for chefs and other aspiring Cutthroat Kitchen contestants?

Nothing can prepare you for Cutthroat Kitchen!


Photo courtesy of Emily Ellyn

Want to celebrate with Emily Ellyn at her Cutthroat Kitchen, Orlando viewing party? Join the fun this Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 9:00 pm at Tin Roof Orlando on International Drive in the new Orlando Eye complex. There will be great food and drinks while watching the show on 10 large screen televisions.

Emily will be signing autographs and socializing with the crowd throughout the evening. As a special treat, she will be giving away a pair of tickets to the Appetite for the Arches on March 7th, to benefit Ronald McDonald House.The evening is sure to be a blast! Click here for directions and for all future event information keep in touch with Emily Ellyn on her Facebook page.


Photo courtesy of Emily Ellyn

Emily Ellyn’s Cutthroat Kitchen Viewing Party
Sunday, February 15, 2015 9:00pm- ?
at Tin Roof Orlando
8371 International Drive, Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32819

Wine and Craft Beer and Cocktails, oh my!

Clear your calendars and grab a friend or two, the weekend of February 7th has something cool to offer for lovers of wine, craft beer and cocktails!


Clearwater Beach Uncorked¬†returns on Saturday, February 7th & Sunday, February 8th on the beach at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa. This grand tasting runs from 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm and very limited tickets are available online now. The wine tasting event includes over 100 fine wines, as well as micro & craft beers, gourmet foods and more. Visit with Orlando’s own & Food Network Chef Emily Ellyn, who will host the first Brew-B-Que;¬†delectable cooking demos featuring pork & craft beers!¬†For full details on this food and wine adventure, please visit¬†http://clearwaterbeachuncorked.com.

Photo courtesy of Cask & Larder.com

Photo courtesy of Cask & Larder.com

A Bock for Bach | Beer Release Party Saturday, February 7 from 3:00 pm-6:00 pm at Cask & Larder, Winter Park.¬†A 300 year old letter Johann Sebastian Bach wrote to a friend expounding on his love of a particular German brew became the perfect inspiration for a special release Cask & Larder craft beer. To help celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Bach Festival,¬†the Brandenburger Bock will be tapped while members of the Bach Festival Choir sing traditional German beer hall songs. A special German food pairing menu will be available for purchase. The Brandenburger Bock¬†will be available on tap at Cask & Larder until the tap runs dry and will also will be sold in 32 ounce (to go) crowlers for $7 per can.¬†There is no charge to attend and the limited release Bock will be available at happy hour prices. For more information on this event, please visit Cask & Larder’s special event page.

Tims Wine Market Cocktail

Tim’s Wine Market Orlando is a local “go-to” for creative and quality wines, along with fun and informative events, wine dinners and classes. Owner, Tim Varan, has enjoyed furthering his personal interest in craft cocktail mixology, which resulted in sourcing hard to find, niche ingredients and products. From there, Varan created Tim’s Wine Market:¬†The Semi-Pro Cocktail Series¬†which highlights a new spirit, accompanying ingredients, mixers and craft cocktail secrets¬†every 2 weeks. I sat in on the Bourbon demo this past week and learned a lot, while also sampling some very tasty beverages. What proved very beneficial for me, was the ability to try different bitters and sweet vermouths to see what worked with my individual palate. Varan approaches his Semi-Pro Cocktail Series with the same wit and thoroughness as the wine education classes held at Tim’s Wine Market. I’m already looking forward to the rest of the cocktail series, mark your calendars for¬†Saturday, February, 7th:¬†Gin, followed by February, 21st:¬†Rye and March, 7th:¬†Tiki Drinks. The Semi-Pro Series demo starts promptly at 3:00 pm and wraps up around 4:00 pm, sooner if the cocktail shaker runs dry. There is no charge for the demo and craft cocktail ingredients are onsite to purchase, as available. For more information and to be in the loop on future events and happenings at Tim’s Wine Market, sign up for their weekly newsletter. Cheers Orlando!


Cheers to Cavallari Gourmet! Meet the winemaker at 1/23 wine tasting, Lake Mary-Heathrow location.

Cavallari Logo 2 Cavallari Gourmet is a top rated local butcher and gourmet shop located in Oviedo and now, Lake Mary-Heathrow. The team at Cavalarri Gourmet is ringing in 2015 with their first wine tasting in their new Lake-Mary Heathrow location. Friday, January 23, 2014, from 8:00pm-10:00pm, guests will sample 30 to 40 different wines and enjoy delicious appetizers made by the Cavallari Gourmet kitchen. Winemaker Marco Fizialetti of Castello di Querceto wines will be onsite pouring and discussing his Tuscan wines.

castello di querceto

Tickets are currently on sale for $20.00 per person at both Cavallari locations and via phone. Stop by either location to pick up your tickets in advance or pay over the phone and have your tickets waiting at Cavallari Gourmet Lake Mary-Heathrow Grande Wine Tasting will call on Friday, January 23, 2014.

three wine glasses image


Cavallari Gourmet, Lake Mary-Heathrow
1541 International Pkwy
Lake Mary, FL 32746
(407) 915-6900

Oviedo location: