Construction is on schedule for a September 5th opening for Cask & Larder, the new “Southern public house” in Winter Park that’s the inspiration of James and Julie Petrakis and their award-winning team at the Ravenous Pig.
Walking distance from the Pig, the new restaurant sits at the busy convergence of Orange and Fairbanks avenues, in a 7,000-square-foot historic building that dates back to Prohibition days—an ideal home for a celebration of Southern ingredients with everything sourced “south of the Mason-Dixon line,” says James. “We found truffles in Tennessee and olive oil in Georgia,” he says. “It’s been great fun searching for new finds.”
Schmidt Design Studio is transforming the building, best known as the old Harper’s Tavern, into a 150-seat restaurant and brewery inspired by historic buildings in Atlanta and Charleston, S.C. More casual than the Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder will focus on fresh oysters and fine hams from local farmers; local produce; craft beers and top-notch bourbons and whiskies. “It’s a style of Southern cooking that showcases the ingredients and the farmers as much as the chefs,” says James.
James describes the menu as “farm style,” with everything à la carte so that diners can create their own meal from seasonal vegetables, seafood and meat. “We want it to be totally different from the Ravenous Pig,” says James.
The “cask” refers to the beer that will be made in-house, and “larder” to the Southern pantry that is the heart of this new endeavor where food is locally sourced and seasonal. Everything from hot sauce to jams, pickles, canned fruits and vegetables and smoked meats will be made on the premises.
The Petrakises teamed up with Tracy Lindskoog, general manager at the Pig, and her husband, Dennis Bernard, who moves over from the Pig kitchen to be chef de cuisine at Cask & Larder.
The beverage team is equally top notch, with Ron Raike crafting beer and Larry Foor mixing cocktails with an emphasis on bourbons and whiskies. Raike has been a notable brewer in Central Florida for more than 10 years, and is a certified cicerone (beer expert), while Foor has a loyal following at the Ravenous Pig.
Raike’s laboratory includes glassed-in tanks with seven taps where he’ll create seasonal beers with local ingredients such as orange, grapefruit and coriander. “There always will be four house beers on tap, and up to eight, rotating styles and flavors,” says Raike. He said he also plans to include outstanding taps from other regional brewers such as Terrapin Beer, Cigar City Brewing, Swamp Head Brewery and Green Room Brewing. “And always a cask beer, which is like bread right out of the oven,” says Raike.
Culinary highlights include the 12-seat bar in the main dining room with a fireplace for roasting oysters and a hefty Berkel slicer where they’ll slice whole hams (the meat smoker is in the kitchen). For the real experience, book the prix fixe “whole animal” table, made of black cypress with seating for 12 where guests can order a suckling pig, whole fish, chicken, duck or lamb served family style.
Cask & Larder will be open 5 p.m. to midnight Monday–Saturday with brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Visit the C&L blog to keep up with progress of the restaurant.
Orlando Chef Competing for Next
Food Network Star
If you’re watching season 8 of Food Network’s Food Network Star, keep an eye on Emily Ellyn, a local chef who’s in the running.
This season the show takes a new twist with culinary stars Bobby Flay, Giada De Laurentiis and Alton Brown heading up three teams with five competitors on each team (Emily is on Alton’s team). Each week the teams compete in culinary challenges and the audience can vote online to determine who will receive the ultimate prize. The winning chef, to be announced in the season finale on July 22, will star in his or her own Food Network show that will be produced by the celebrity chef team leader.
Emily considers herself “very farm-to-table conscious” after growing up on a farm in Ohio. “I am more seed to table, and do a lot of canning, jamming, pressure cooking and slow cooking,” says Emily.
She graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and then moved to Paris. She’s now pursuing her doctorate in food service preparation at University of Central Florida.
To vote for Emily, go to foodnetwork.com.
Small Farmers Share Big Ideas
Whether you’re a backyard farmer or a community gardener, or you till dozens of acres, Florida Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Conference July 27–29 at Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee is your opportunity to share ideas and focus on the enormous challenges facing independent farmers.
Hosted by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences and Florida A&M University’s Small Farms and Alternative Enterprises Focus Team, the conference tackles the big issues, but also gives farmers a chance to help each other out.
Started in 2009 with about 400 farmers, the conference has doubled in size, with new offerings each year. This year, there’s a farm tour and Sunday hands-on experiences.
“Every year, we add something a little different,” says organizer Susan Kelly. “This year’s Saturday night social will include Florida chefs who will cook with locally sourced ingredients, and samples of craft beers and wines.” The social is included in the single-day or conference ticket price.
Educational seminars tackle everything from horticulture and hydroponics to community gardens and urban farming. You can learn about the Cottage Law or how to start and manage a farmers’ market. Food safety, livestock and pastured poultry, organic and sustainable farming, alternative energy options and integrating cost-effective methods are among the multitude of choices. Add workshops, hands-on demonstrations and organized networking activities, and a trade show with more than 100 vendors.
Early-bird registration ranges from $65 for one-day admission (Sunday) to $180 for the full conference ($115–$230 after July 9). To view the full schedule or to register, visit www.conference.ifas.ufl.edu/smallfarms.
Healing and Helping
The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine helps local non-profit grow.
After two years of growing chemical-free produce and donating it to women living in local domestic-violence shelters, Nancy Kendall and Sarah McLeod have discovered that help often arrives in unexpected ways.
Since their non-profit organization Grow Green 4 Women was featured in Edible Orlando’s inaugural issue (Fall 2010), donations and volunteer labor have helped them to expand their gardens and bring a flock of free-range laying hens and four miniature zebus to their North Central Florida farm. Through Debbie Turner’s Cancer Care and Research Center in Apopka, they have begun to donate produce and eggs to families undergoing cancer treatment.
Growth like this would not have been possible without community support, and Dr. Kirti Kalidas, M.D., N.D., and his staff at the Center for Integrative & Natural Medicine in Dr. Phillips have found a creative way to help the non-profit continue to thrive. Every Wednesday at 6 p.m., the center opens its doors to the community for a free yoga class, and last November the staff began collecting donations for Grow Green 4 Women from class participants.
By press time they had raised nearly $500, and staff continues to raise funds. “When you work from your best intentions, help arrives when you don’t even expect it,” says McLeod. “We appreciate Dr. Kalidas, his staff and those who donated to expand and improve our gardens.” Visit www.growgreen4women.org to learn how you can help.
Getting Healthier, Together
Local initiatives help Central Floridians make healthy connections.
“Get Active” and “Eat Healthier” are familiar refrains to any health seeker, and provide a sound platform for any wellness plan. When that plan seeks to encompass an entire community, however, as it does with Healthy Central Florida, a third goal is crucial to the success of the other two: “Get Connected.”
Founded by Florida Hospital and Winter Park Health Foundation and launched in February 2012, Healthy Central Florida Seeks to transform the community into the healthiest in the nation. The early stages of the program target Eatonville, Maitland and Winter Park, but Healthy Central Florida’s online resources are a great way for all Central Florida residents to find the information and the inspiration to eat well, to stay active — and to do so as a community.
One key aspect of the community is the workplace, and Healthy Central Florida partnered with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce to launch Work Well Winter Park early last spring. The program helps employers to improve workforce wellness through policy changes such as sweet-free zones and healthy meetings, and provides employees with free access to lunch-and-learn classes, weekly walks and other fun activities where participants can meet and encourage each other. “We are hoping to make the healthy choice the easy choice for the workforce in our community,” says Chamber President/CEO Patrick Chapin.