An ice cream containing Italian meringue with honey, nougat and fruit confit on a red berries sorbet is Orlando’s Signature Dish
Chef Catherine Delrieu’s Honey Nougat Glacé was one of 10 desserts from Central Florida centered around honey for the competition sponsored by Visit Orlando. Delrieu’s win was announced Thursday during the tourism marketing agency’s end-of-year industry meeting and luncheon.
Delrieu, chef at Mon Petit Cheri Cafe in Winter Park, moved to the United States from France about three years ago. She said it took her awhile to understand and adapt to American tastes. The Honey Nougat Glacé was designed to satisfy a sweet tooth while offering contrasting flavors and textures.
About 30 minutes after the announcement, Delrieu was still in shock.
“It’s indescribable,” she said.
Honey is a $27 million industry in Florida, with 17 million pounds of honey produced each year. The signature dessert highlights this local ingredient while also giving Orlando visitors something to indulge in, said Visit Orlando’s President and CEO George Aguel. Other restaurants can serve their own interpretation of the dish, he said.
“We have a history, a story now to educate people,” Aguel said of the dessert.
About a year ago, the search for a signature dish was suggested by Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, who was inspired by a bite of a Philly cheesesteak on a visit to Philadelphia. A panel of chefs and food experts was initially brought together to design the food, but the search soon turned into a competition.
In August, local chefs were asked to create an original honey dessert. Local voters had a chance to taste and vote for the creations, which were available at the participating chefs’ restaurants.
About 30 desserts were submitted, including cakes, tarts, cheesecakes, pies, baklavas, ice creams and even a gelato float. The Top 10 candidates were then presented to a panel of judges that included celebrity chef Art Smith, co-editor of Dessert Professional magazine Tish Boyle, local restaurant critic Scott Joseph and myself in November.
Even though Vincent Gagliano’s “Honeymoon” dish of honey and pine nut ice cream on a French meringue didn’t win, the importance of this moment wasn’t lost on the chef-owner of Chez Vincent in Winter Park. Friends with Delrieu, Gagliano first told her about the search for a signature dish.
“A lot of people think of Orlando and never think of the culinary scene,” Gagliano said. “This will bring the culinary scene to the table.”
The Top 10
Laurent Branlard, bluezoo at Swan & Dolphin resort, Lake Buena Vista: Cake with layered milk chocolate earl grey tea cream, gianduja ganache, hazelnut honey dacquoise sponge cake and more
Catherine Delrieu, Mon Petit Cheri Cafe, Winter Park: Honey Nougat Glacé
Vincent Gagliano, Chez Vincent, Winter Park: Honey and pine nut ice cream
Trina Gregory-Propst, Se7enbites, Orlando: Orange blossom honey velvet cake
Amanda McFall, Urbain 40 American Brasserie & Lounge, Orlando: Honey-laced baklava cheesecake
Chef Bobby Rivera Otero and Jason Stricker, Le Cellier Steakhouse, Epcot: Honey-mascarpone cheesecake
Gloriann Rivera, 1921 by Norman Van Aken, Mount Dora: Honey cremeux with spiced cake, honey sponge candy, pistachio crumble, candied persimmon and more
Rabii Saber, Four Seasons Resort Orlando: Honey peanut butter gelato
Henry Sison, Boardwalk Restaurant at The Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista: Honey orange cassava cake
Andrea Zelen and Jenny Herbert, 4 Rivers Smokehouse: Orange honey cake
by Lauren Delgado – orlandosentinel.com