It’s Time Orlando Had a Beard. James Beard.

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Unseen in the shadow of our theme parks, Orlando’s culinary masters have been clean-shaven for too long. Perhaps staying on property and eating only kid cuisine has convinced the James Beard Foundation that Orlando has no taste.

Well, Central Florida, it’s time we change that perception!

For more than 30 years, the James Beard Foundation has been overlooking our amazing chefs and incredible restaurants, maybe thinking all we have to offer is theme park food. Inspired by renowned food critic Scott Joseph, local advertising agency Bigeye is standing with our local chefs to fight for the recognition they deserve. It’s time to draw the foundation to one of America’s hotbeds of creative cooking!

Initially, this year’s nominee list carried four amazing local chefs, but now that the finalists and winners have been announced, there isn’t one Orlando culinary expert on it. And this isn’t the first time this has happened. Our lack of recognition is not a reflection of the incredible talent this city has to offer, but, we can only assume, a product of misconceptions about all that our city has to offer food enthusiasts who appreciate truly exceptional cuisine.

Orlando is full of amazing chefs like Kathleen Blake and Scott Hunnel who have both been named on Best Chefs America, as well as Greg Richie and Kevin Fonzo, who have been invited to cook with the James Beard Foundation but have not been nominated themselves. These, among too many other experienced and deserving local experts, have been ignored for decades.

The James Beard Foundation has an incredible reputation and its voice can bring so much well-deserved recognition to our highly-skilled, local talent. It’s time to show their expert judges, along with their audience, that our accomplished chefs belong in the spotlight, too.

Please sign our petition to help us get the foundation’s attention.
Together, we can bring the beard to Orlando.