Two Orlando restaurant chef-owners get James Beard nods

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Melissa Kelly
  • Melissa Kelly
Melissa Kelly
Emeril Lagasse
  • Emeril Lagasse
Emeril Lagasse

The 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards event (pretty much the foodie equivalent of the Oscars) went down last night at New York City’s Lincoln Center. And while the list of this year’s winners didn’t technically include any Orlando-based chefs, there were two chefs who received honors that own restaurants in Orlando. Melissa Kelly (chef-owner of PRIMO at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes) won Best Chef: Northeast for her original PRIMO restaurant in Rockland, Maine. Both locations take an organic approach to contemporary Italian cuisine, with the Orlando restaurant using ingredients grown from its own private garden on hotel property. You can read our review of PRIMO (from 2003) here. Chef and food TV personality Emeril Lagasse (of Universal CityWalk’s Emeril’s Orlando and Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at Universal’s Loews Royal Pacific Resort) took home the Humanitarian of the Year award for his work with the New Orleans-based Emeril Lagasse Foundation – the organization supports culinary training and educational nonprofits. Our reviews of Emeril’s two Orlando restaurants can be read here and here. Emeril’s Orlando will also offer a three-course, $30 menu promotion for the months of June and July, featuring recipes from two of Lagasse’s cookbooks, From Emeril’s Kitchen and Emeril at the Grill. June’s menu features dishes such as poached oysters and braised beef short ribs, while the July menu offers summertime specialties the likes of barbecue salmon and grilled peaches. To read the complete list of 2013 James Beard winners, visit the foundation’s website.

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