Jonathan McCann is the Executive Chef at Deep Blu Seafood Grille at the Wyndham Grande Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek. This award-winning restaurant specializes in seafood served with a Southern twist.
If you could travel anywhere in the world to eat for one week, where would it be and why? That’s easy! Italy.. I love the culture and tradition of their food and the way that it is a huge part of the lives they lead. There is so much diversity in the regions and I would never get tired of traveling and eating and cooking with them!
Who had the biggest influence on the way you cook, and why? By far it is a chef in England, John Williams MBE who is the executive chef of The Ritz Hotel London. His cooking skills, technique and philosophy and friendship were a huge part of the chef I am today.
What’s the one type of traditional cuisine that you always wished you could prepare, and why? The Pastry Kitchen. I just never got the chance to do that throughout my training in the hotels I worked at in London. And the older I get the more interested I am since it’s so different. So now I dabble a little and it’s a lot of fun.
If you weren’t a chef, what would your dream job be? It would be easy to say something else but cooking has been very good to me. It’s helped me to travel, live in places I never dreamed and cook for some amazing people — and ultimately meet my wife, Donna!
What advice would you share with chefs just beginning their careers? Do not rush your career for higher positions. Find a chef who will mentor and train you before jumping up the pay scale. It will pay off later I can assure you.
If you could change one thing about Orlando’s food scene, what would it be? Having worked for a number of years in California I miss all of the amazing produce that was always at hand, so I would have to say availability — not making a special produce order and waiting a week to get it.
What was it like for you when Florida restaurants were in lockdown? I was out for about seven weeks, so it was enjoyable spending time with my family and I did a lot of bread baking and experimenting with my 5-year-old daughter, Olivia! I find bread baking very fulfilling.
For more Chef Q&A’s, visit our archives.