Grande Lakes Orlando presents 'Curated Experiences' with James Beard nominees, barbecue legends and culinary luminaries


Grande Lakes Resort - GRANDELAKES.COM
  • Grande Lakes Resort

OK, so the pandemic all but quashed our food-related vacation plans (I'm still lamenting not being able to travel to Prince Edward Island to indulge in my fave Colville Bay oysters), but the Grande Lakes Resort is doing its part to salvage a semblance of epicurean fancy in this time of COVID-19.

The inaugural "Curated Experiences at Grande Lakes" this weekend (Feb. 26-28) will lure food and wine obsessives — including those who had budgeted a gastronomic getaway to some faraway destination but were forced to cancel — by presenting a host of intimate and interactive experiences, demonstrations and meals with some big names in the industry. The event is hosted by the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Orlando.

Of note will be the appearance of two L.A. legends — James Beard-nominated chef, Top Chef Season 15 alum and recent dad Bruce Kalman, and L.A. pitmaster and brisket king Burt Bakman.

Kalman will branch out from the Northern Italian and Mediterranean cooking he's become known for and stage a "Slow and Low" barbecue cooking demo Feb. 27 at 10:30 a.m. No surprise, seeing he'll be opening SoulBelly BBQ in Las Vegas this spring.

Bakman, meanwhile, is renowned for the brisket and ribs he serves at his West Hollywood haunt, Slab, and will hold a cooking demo for the gathered later that day at 3 p.m.
Other demos and tastings guests can choose to attend include "The Art of Chocolate" by the resort's pastry chef (and world champion chocolate carver) Victor Dagatan, an interactive sous-vide demo with Knife & Spoon chef de cuisine Gerald Sombright, a dry-aging class with Knife & Spoon executive chef (and four-time James Beard Award nominee) John Tesar, a whiskey tasting featuring Iron Smoke Distillery and a cooking demonstration at the resort's Whisper Creek Farm.

Oh, there's more.

Also included in the $750 package is a "Wheels, Watches, Whiskey & Wine" reception Friday night, a morning "Yoga & Mimosa" session, a "Harvest Farm to Fork Luncheon" and a wine pairing dinner Saturday night followed by a concert featuring Joey Fatone.
  • Passmore Caviar
The event concludes Sunday morning with a chef's table caviar brunch at Knife & Spoon featuring Michael Passmore of Passmore Ranch, an 86-acre sustainable freshwater fish farm near Sacramento. Passmore caviar is touted by such A-listers as Jeremiah Tower, Thomas Keller, Alex Guarnaschelli and Tyler Florence.

Organizers expect about 50 people to purchase tickets ensuring a very intimate affair. Note: The $750 price tag does not include accommodations, though an exclusive rate is being offered for those seeking a true staycation.

Click here for a full schedule of events as well as registration and accommodation links.

If you can't make it out this weekend, the next Curated Experiences event is scheduled for April 23-25.

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