Interview with Jamie McFadden

Chef Jamie McFadden

Thursday, 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, the first Guest Chef Night of 2014 will feature not one, but two amazing local chefs – Chef Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers and Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant. Benefiting the Darden Foundation Community Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program, Jamie & Kevin’s Guest Chef Night will entice guest’s taste buds with an Italian/Irish influenced Potatoes & Tomatoes Heritage tasting menu, sure to be a hit!

While many in the nonprofit and foodie scene know Jamie McFadden, we thought we would introduce him to those of you who do not, and perhaps let you learn something new about him for those who do! Check out the interview with fellow Guest Night chef Kevin Fonzo here.

Growing up in a farming community, Jamie always knew he’d be a chef. Surrounded by excellent cooks at an early age, it is little wonder that food would be a part of his life. It was this community that inspired the way he cooks and the dishes he makes, and led him to love the day to day challenge of understanding and educating palates.

It is that idea of challenge that also makes small plate presentations one of Jamie’s favorite things to make. Big taste in little plates, it takes creativity and real thought to reconstruct and simplify dishes, challenging the chef to be innovative, and think outside of the box. Jamie has spent many years and hours continuing to challenge himself, first going from Baltimore’s International Culinary College to the La Varenne Cooking School in Burgandy France, to Ireland to work with Master Chef Petter Timmins, to owning his own restaurant, Mimi’s Cafe & Wine Bar, in Central Florida, to starting Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine & Events, and his charity organization The P.E.A.S. Foundation.

Because a chef is surrounded by great food on a daily basis, it’s understandable one of the toughest questions you can ask them is, “What’s your favorite thing to eat?” After some silent deliberation, Jamie narrowed it down to hot steamed jumbo shrimp, a delicious hamburger, and tomatoes. “Just simply prepared veggies, and fish. I could eat fish everyday” he finished with a smile.

We’re fortunate enough in Orlando to have a lot of local farms, food artisans, and amazing chefs. One of Chef Jamie’s favorite things about the Central Florida food scene is how it has evolved, appreciating the energy created from food artisans and local farms. He believes, it is this momentum that will continue to make Orlando a food destination.

Heavily committed to being involved and giving back to the community, four years ago, Jamie co-founded the P.E.A.S. Foundation, which focuses on something near and dear to his heart – “providing grants for fresh produce to organizations who offer meals to food insecure households. The foundation is dedicated to raising awareness within organizations in the central Florida community.  P.E.A.S foundation also partners with food-related organizations that focus on pressing community needs and who develop innovative food based service projects.” – He is also involved with Second Harvest, sitting on the Culinary Advisory Board – and when Executive Chef of our community kitchen, Dawn Viola asked him to be a part of our Guest Chef Night, he agreed, believing that by doing this he wouldn’t just be letting guests experience a creative menu, but would introduce his own clientele to the work of Second Harvest.

Thank you, Jamie, for choosing to be a part of our Guest Chef Night! We are excited to have you and Kevin Fonzo join us March 20th for your Potatoes & Tomatoes Heritage tasting menu! To learn more about this event, see the menu, and to buy tickets, check out Guest Chef Nights at Second Harvest benefit our Culinary Training Program 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.

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