March 6, 2014

Interview with Chef Kevin Fonzo

Author: Melissa Kear

Chef Kevin FonzoThursday, March 20, 2014: Chef Jamie McFadden and Chef Kevin Fonzo (cancelled)
Thank you for supporting our Guest Chef Night Dinner. We unfortunately had to cancel this event but look forward to sharing future events and appreciate your continued support.

March 20th, Second Harvest will be experiencing two new firsts. One, we will be holding our first Guest Chef Night of 2014. Two, we will be joined by not one, but two local celebrity chefs! Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers will be hosting a Potatoes & Tomatoes Heritage tasting menu, celebrating both Irish and Italian flavors.

If you are big in the Central Florida food scene, you have probably heard of both Kevin and Jamie, but for those who haven’t had the pleasure, we thought we would sit down with them both and introduce you to the men behind the chef hats. First up is Kevin Fonzo!

While Kevin didn’t always know he wanted to be a chef, he did always know he wanted to do some kind of teaching role. At first, it didn’t dawn on him to be a professional chef. He grew up around food, his Italian grandparents always in the kitchen. In fact, he originally went to college for special education. It wasn’t until community college that he got serious about being a chef.

Kevin credits his grandfather as the foundation for how he looks at and handles food. It was with him that he learned how to grow, harvest, and prepare food. Later, his mentor and biggest inspiration went on to be Chef Karl Edlbauer at the former Peabody Hotel, in Orlando. Chef Karl took Kevin from line cook to chef, being very patient and forgiving along the way.

These days, Kevin owns K Restaurant out of College Park, one of the first to champion the farm to table concept in the Orlando area, with a beautiful and bountiful garden growing behind the restaurant that is always part of the menu at K’s. Weekly, he’s also volunteering his time at Orlando Junior Academy. In this role Kevin is able to do the two things he loves: teaching and cooking. Under his direction, students learn how to cook, garden, read labels, and practice skills such as math, biology, chemistry, and nutrition. A big believer in educating youth about food, Kevin also supports the school’s garden, and was recognized by Michelle Obama and her “Chef’s Move to School” initiative.

Some of his favorite things about the Central Florida food scene is simply the camaraderie that happens. Instead of working apart, there is a large population of chefs, farms, and artisans who collaborate and share ideas, help change the way people look and eat food, and promote Central Florida as the bread basket of Florida. A camaraderie that many other places do not have.

When asked what one of his favorite dishes to make were, he said simply, “Italian dinner for my friends!” While he loves him some Foie Gras and white/black truffles, Kevin says one of his favorite things to eat is simply peanut butter. Sometimes just a spoon and a jar of peanut butter is the best thing in the world.

Being a big believer in giving back, when Executive Chef Dawn Viola of our community kitchen asked if Kevin would like to be part of Guest Chef Night, he agreed. One of Chef Fonzo’s philosophies is “the best way to give back is to give time”, and happy to join one of his best friends, Jamie McFadden, Kevin thinks people will enjoy a menu from two friends having fun doing what they love, and their passion for cooking and food will show in every bite.

Thank you Chef Kevin Fonzo for taking the time to sit down with us to share your stories and passion for cooking! If you’d love to be a part of this special night, head over to http://bit.ly/1fHu2CP for tickets, more information, and the Potatoes & Tomatoes Heritage tasting menu. Guest Chef Nights support the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program, which provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry.

We’ll see you March 20th!

 

Melissa Kear
Online Marketing Coordinator



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