Taste Cook Sip

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

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…honestly, 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 “did that really happen? What just happened? How did Alton Brown think these challenges up?”

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:

Christner’s Prime Steak and Lobster gets crafty for charity with Craft Wars, January 17th

We love a well-made cocktail. Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster is raising the bar, (pun intended) with their upcoming Craft Wars competition while also giving back to the local Orlando community. Saturday, January 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m, three of Christner’s talented bartenders, Jeannie Rudnick, Kyle Laufenberg and Stacy Word will compete in three rounds of craft cocktail creation. We are told the rounds include making a Christner’s Classic; the bourbon cocktail and a secret ingredient mixed cocktail.  The winning cocktail will receive a limited-time feature on the Christner’s Bar menu and the victor will win ultimate bragging rights. $10 of each ticket sold will benefit three local charities – Central Florida Food and Outreach, Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute and Runway to Hope. craft_wars_5 This interactive event will be judged by lucky attendees; all cocktails will be judged based on taste, originality and the wow-factor of its name! The cost is $20.00 per person and you may RSVP to this event by emailing Christners@rockawaypr.com, to ensure your spot. To read more about TasteCookSip attending past Christner’s Cutting Board Series events, check out here. For full event details and updates, please visit the official Craft Wars Facebook event page. Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster 729 Lee Road Orlando, FL 407-645-4443

Grandma Party Bazaar returns this Sunday, December 14

The phrase “Grandma Party Bazaar” may conjure up some odd images in your mind, so I’ll break it down for you. In the same space used by the Audubon Park Community Market, in the parking lot of Stardust Video and Coffee, local vendors set up shop while local bands perform on stage. The music is loud, the crowd is hip and vendors are crazy talented.

You’ll find locally produced items ranging from jewelry and candles to grooming products, pottery, food, stationary, housewares and more. Last year I picked up many unique items that rounded out my holiday shopping with a creative and local touch. (And, I found a few special items just for me!) Check out the listings of this years local vendors and bands online.

Looking for an epic holiday photo for your Christmas cards this year? Be sure to pop into Stardust from 1-4 pm to visit the free holiday photo booth. We had a blast watching people get their perfect shot and the photos were posted online later that day. The Grandma Party Bazaar runs from 10:00 AM – Sunset on Saturday, December 2014. Visit the official Facebook event page for band schedule and event updates. Follow the fun on Twitter at @GrandmaParty.

Poster art by Chelsey Hyatt

Poster art by Chelsey Hyatt

Grandma Party Bazaar
December 14, 2014
10:00AM- Sunset (Photobooth 1-4PM)

Stardust Video and Coffee
1842 Winter Park Rd.
Orlando, FL 32803

#GivingTuesday has double the impact for Give Kids The World Village

Is your Facebook or Twitter feed blowing up with the hashtag #GivingTuesday? If not, I hope that you will help spread the world.

In 2012, the Giving Tuesday movement started as a way to bring attention to charitable organizations and hopefully raise funds along with awareness. We’ve given thanks on Thanksgiving, shopped till we dropped on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and it’s now a perfect time to give back.


I’ve had the pleasure of visiting and volunteering for Give Kids The World, in Kissimmee, Florida. This nonprofit provides incredible week-long vacations for families with children with life-threatening illnesses. Between the whimsical Give Kids The World Village 70-acre resort, donated Disney, Universal and Sea World attractions tickets, transportation and meals, Give Kids The World is making dreams come true every day of the year. Since 1986, Give Kids The World has helped over 120,000 families from across the United States and over 70 countries.

Today, your donation can have double the impact, as an anonymous donor is matching each donation made, up to $20,000. (So, your $10 donation, just became $20!) All donations to Give Kids The World Village are tax deductible, so be sure save your receipt. If you are active on social media, please share this post and get the word out by using the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #GKTW. For updates and more information on Give Kids The World Village, visit their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

The Fabulous Beekman Boys Feed The Need in Winter Park with 11/10 cookbook signing

Maybe you know Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge from the popular Cooking Channel show The Fabulous Beekman Boys or maybe you know them from their big win on The Amazing Race. These would-be farmers changed career courses and have taken up the challenge of operating a farm in Upstate NY while creating their product brand, Beekman 1802. Their online shop features everything from household items to food items and soaps. The dynamic pair has also written several popular cookbooks and will be in town today (11/10) for a special appearance at The Ancient Olive, Winter Park to sign copies of The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook. The event starts at 5:00 pm and the duo plans to sign cookbooks until 6:30 or 7:00PM.


Copies of their cookbooks are onsite for signing and part of the proceeds from the book sales will go to support the local charity, Feed The Need, in Winter Park. There is also a full selection of Beekman 1802 products to purchase to stock your kitchen for the holidays. The Ancient Olive will be preparing several dishes from the Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook, for guests to sample at no charge. 

The Ancient Olive has also hosted a series of sold out cooking classes with local celebrity chef, Franicis Biondi from MasterChef Season 5. If you love to cook, or know someone that does, follow The Ancient Olive on Facebook for a complete listing of all future events and classes. For full information on today’s tasting check out the Facebook event.

Monday, November 10, 2014
5:00pm -6:30 or 7:00pm
The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook Signing
The Ancient Olive
324 North Park Avenue
Winter Park, FL 32789

There is no charge to attend the event, copies of the book are available for sale.


Magical Dining at Hemingway’s at The Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

The last few nights of Visit Orlando’s Magical Dining month are upon us! If you are looking for a way to close out this tasty month on a high note, consider Hemingway’s in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress. Chef Juran is creating delicious Key West and island inspired cuisine at this picturesque Orlando property. The Magical Dining menu features full portions of popular items from the year-round Hemingway’s dinner menu. Diners can enjoy 3 gourmet courses for $33 per person, with $1 of each meal being donated to charity.

Hemingways Key Lime Ceasar

I started with the Key Lime Caesar salad, a beautifully composed salad that was as tasty as it looks. I particularly enjoyed the delicious zing from the key lime Caesar dressing.

Hemingways FL Rock Shrimp Corn Chowder

I also sampled a bite of the delicious Florida Rock Shrimp Chowder, the tender rock shrimp and Zellwood Sweet Corn shine in this Florida inspired chowder.

Hemingways Cuban Criollo Chicken

Cuban Criollo Chicken: Fired grilled chicken flavored with Cuban inspired herbs and spices is served with roasted mushroom escabeche, sautéed spinach, fingerling potatoes and a savory Chorizo sauce.

Hemingways Crab Cakes

Hemingway’s “Cayo Hueso” Crab Cakes, two jumbo lump blue crab cakes served on local sweet corn coconut grits and topped with zesty corn salsa. These ulta-premium crab cakes are made with minuscule amount of binder to form the generous cake- it’s all sweet and succulent crab meat. The sweet corn coconut grits are subtly flavored and infuse the dish with festive tropical notes.

Hemingways Duval Street Shrimp Scampi

Duval Street Shrimp Scampi is an impressive dish, four Jumbo tiger shrimp rest on fried green tomatoes with a centered nest of pappardelle pasta, a scrumptious pool of flavorful, slivered garlic and white wine butter sauce finishes the dish.

Hemingways black fin snapper

The Crispy Black Fin Snapper entree is a generous portion of crispy skin local Florida Snapper and asparagus perched on a yucca cake with roasted tomato and fennel jam topped with a delicate yellow pepper espuma. The snapper was perfectly cooked and complimented by the bold flavors in the roasted tomato and fennel jam. The yucca cake was a delicious compliment to the rest of the entree.

Hemingways Key Lime

Magical Menu diners have a choice of the Peanut Butter Bombe, a decadent peanut butter mousse covered in dark chocolate ganache, or the Key Lime Tart.  I finished my meal with the tart, made with a brightly flavored key lime curd filling, a buttery graham cracker and almond crust and finished with a baked meringue topping. I particularly enjoyed the wonderful balance of tart acidity and sweetness to this traditional Florida dessert. Either option is a delicious way to end a lovely meal at Hemingway’s.

Reservations can be made by calling (407) 239-1234 or by booking through OpenTable.com. The three course Magical Dining Month menu runs through Sepetember 30, 2014, and all items are available on the regular Hemingway’s dinner menu year round. Complimentary Valet Parking is offered for all Hemingway’s guests.

Disclosure: I was a guest at a media dinner, no other form of compensation was received and the opinions in this post are my own. Cheers!

Hemingway’s in the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress
One Grand Cypress Boulevard
Orlando, FL 32836
(407) 239-1234

Broissants are back at Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park for a limited time

Last August I stumbled upon a decadent pastry treat created by Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park. The well known chocolate and gelato shop had re-envisioned a Cronut and was serving up warm, flaky Broissants faster than you can say, Broissant. The popular treat was made by Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park’s pastry team who painstakingly made the laminated croissant dough in-house, a four hour process, then cutting out the familiar doughnut shape and frying them up to order.

The resulting Broissants were then topped with a variety of scrumptious toppings from peanut butter cream with milk chocolate drizzle and crumbled Nutter Butter cookies…or pictured above, the Dark Chocolate and Carmel with Sea Salt. Broissants quickly became a top seller and a cult favorite; the smell of buttery dough and chocolate mingling in the air of the Park Avenue shop was quite addictive.

The beloved Broissants are back for a limited time and Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park has introduced a tempting new flavor to their popular line up, using Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter. I asked co-owner, Jami Wray, Why use Cookie Butter for a new Broissant flavor? “We were inspired to try cookie butter from all of the mentions on social media…all of the pics with different recipe combinations got me drooling! As you know our local TJ’s recently opened and we wanted to try them out, so we went and bought several jars of the crunchy Cookie Butter for our broissants. One taste and I knew we had a hit!”

Peterbrooke Broissants

And after sampling the new Cookie Butter Broissant yesterday, I can attest to the fervor I’ve seen with the release by searching #Broissant on Instagram and Twitter. The warm Broissant dough softens up the cookie butter and the rich, Peterbrooke milk chocolate is drizzled right off of the chocolate wheel. (Taking this picture had me feeling like a character out of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.) Just when you think nothing can be added, there is a flourishing garnish of crushed cookies.

All of the Broissant flavors will be available for the remaining weekends of Magical Dining Month and then only available by request for special events. After all, the Peterbrooke chocolate kitchen will soon be in full holiday preparations to ensure that everyone has a sweet ending to 2014.

Peterbrooke Chocolatier of Winter Park
300 S. Park Ave
Winter Park, Florida 32789

Hours of Operation
Mon – Thu: 10:00 am – 10:15 pm
Fri – Sat: 10:00 am – 11:15 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 10:15 pm

Local Orlando vendors and products showcased at The Daily City pop up shop

The Daily City Pop Up shop is back and greeting shoppers through the weekend in Downtown South in the SODO Plaza. Located in an air conditioned storefront space in front of the Super Target and across from the TJ Maxx, the shop is filled with unique and artisan local vendors.

There are items ranging from home goods, mens and womens apparel, stationary, accessories and food vendors. Enjoy familiar favorites like Cloak & Dapper, Retromended, Rifle paper, OPP, Lure, Whisk & Bowl, Wondermade, Credo and Yum Yum Cupcake Truck. Discover a newer vendor like Project Pop, J & G Chocolate & Tea, Nathan Selikoff, Bookmark It or Hog Eat Hog. For a full list of vendors, check out The Daily City.com.

Along with great merchandise, there is an opportunity to enjoy seminars and tastings. Participate in a sewing class, learn how to mix the perfect cocktail, gentleman can learn how to pick the perfect suit, ladies can learn how to dress for their body type.

On my visit had left with a delicious Yum Yum Cupcake Truck Orlando, FL chocolate cookie with citrus icing, Bungalow 23 all natural cocktail mixer, addictive Eat Project Pop all natural Kettle Corn, several Lure cards, a beautiful Rifle Paper Co. calendar and Juice Lab juices. Some items were special gifts and I kept a few treats for me. I’m still spying a few items, you can bet I’ll be back to check out some of the demos and rotating food vendors.

I asked Mark Baratelli of The Daily City.com, if we could again expect a Daily City Holiday Pop up shop in December. He smiled and replied “keep your fingers crossed”. We will!