Food & Wine at Portofino 2012 – Event Photos & Recap

Food, wine, and exotic cars. An exciting combination for the culinary evening and part of the Annual Celebration Exotic Car Festival. This year’s Food & Wine at Portofino was a new location to the yearly event. The move to an outdoors event turned out to be a beautiful scenery in the courtyard of the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, at Universal Orlando. The location had a nice ambiance, highlighting the cars, the chefs, the food, and entertainment.

There were many dishes and drinks to taste, however I was not able to try all of them. Even if I was not busy taking photos of the event, not sure how far I would get in tasting each dish. Here’s most of the dishes I tasted and the photos I captured…

 

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The start of the Food & Wine at Portofino 2012, the crowd was just starting to enter the event.

 

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Each restaurant or chef had a table serving their dishes, with a few exotic cars around. Ferrari Enzo!

 

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Small plates or bowls for sampling of all of the chef and restaurant creations.

 

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Plating his dishes is Top Chef season 7 winner Kevin Sbraga, from his Philadelphia based restaurant, SBRAGA.

 

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Kevin Sbraga, SBRAGA
Escargot and Vegetable Fricassee, Spring Garlic

A good mix of savory and hearty flavors.

 

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Currently based in Miami, Chef Kenny Gilbert was voted the Top Chef Fan Favorite from season 7. He is the Corporate Chef for 50 Eggs Restaurant Group Inc. and we just saw him in Miami from our previous post from brunch at Yardbird Southern Table.

 

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Kenny Gilbert 50 Eggs Restaurant Group Inc.
Cinnamon Coffee Rubbed Quail, Toasted Irish Steel Cut Oatmeal, Hen of the Woods Mushrooms, Red Eye Black Plum Gastrique

This was actually my favorite dish of the evening. The Quail was perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed the use of oatmeal in a savory form.

 

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Peter Timmons The Gasparilla Inn & Club
Foie Gras Macarons

 

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Peter Timmons The Gasparilla Inn & Club
Foie Gras Macarons

Probably one of the most unique items on any menu, a good blend of savory and sweet. Actually they were a little addicting and enjoyed at least 5 of them.

 

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Peter Timmons The Gasparilla Inn & Club
Chicken Liver and Pork Terrine, Kumquat Marmalade and Frisee

 

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Jamie McFadden Cuisiniers “Soup and Sandwich”
• Soup: Foi Dumpling, Ramen Broth, and Napa Slaw
• Sandwich: Smoked Duck, “ham salad cream”, Rye crostini, Canadian bacon, potato chips and house pickles

 

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A whole pot of Pork Belly anyone? This was one of the common dishes found at this event, along with various uses of Foie Gras, and seasonal fruits and vegetables.

 

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Mark Boor Fulton’s Crab House
Ahi Tuna “Niecoise” Blistered Green Beans, soft boiled egg, balsamic redskin potatoes, olive tepenade

 

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Douglas Chin Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
Grilled Mojo pork tenderloin, tomatillo salsa, watercress salad, corn tamale

 

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Luke Forzano Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Raviolo “Carbonara”, braised Pork Belly, English Pea Silk, and Shaved Black Truffles

I enjoyed the ravioli with its burst of egg yolk and of course the pork belly was great! The green pea puree was a nice pairing too. I didn’t see or taste any black truffles though…

 

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Michael Kopoian, Jeremy Madsen Ocean Prime
Lobster BLT Maine Lobster, pancetta, micro green, toy box tomato, lemonette

 

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Creating a really unique plate and playing with liquid nitrogen is winner of season six of Bravo’s Top Chef, Michael Voltaggio. Voltaggio’s new Los Angeles restaurant, “ink” was just named the “Best New Restaurant in America” by GQ magazine.

 

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Michael Voltaggio ink. Los Angeles, CA
Beef Toungue and Tendon Taco

Not exactly sure what was inside the taco besides the mentioned Beef Toungue and Tendon in description. Of course the fried pork skin added a good flavor and texture, while the frozen cheese-like topping was creamy and tangy, keeping the overall dish cold and refreshing. Always fun too see a chef use liquid nitrogen in a creative way. It tasted good and that’s what matters!

 

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Trio of Top Chef Cheftestants: Kenny Gilbert, Kevin Sbraga, Michael Voltaggio

These guys were super cool and fun to talk to. They entertained everyone’s questions and always happy to take a photo with guests.

 

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Droolius with Top Chefs Kenny Gilbert, Kevin Sbraga, Michael Voltaggio!

 

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Chefs were working hard throughout the evening, cooking and plating, serving creative dishes to guests.

 

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Melissa Kelly, Gilbert Ramirez Primo JW Marriot
Vin Santo marinated and grilled Florida Peaches, smoked proscuitto with pan seared scallops and aged blasamic

 

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Bice Ristorante at The Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Rack of Lamb Lollipop in Sweet Vermouth and Sage Sauce over barley, fava bean, cremini mushroom salad

 

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Kevin Fonzo K Restaurant
Citrus Cured Cocoa Beach Cobia, pickled spring vegetable salad, Kaffir-Lime ginger sauce

 

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Chocolate art tower? Desserts and sweets, wine and beerss were plentiful at the event. So much food and drinks, so little time.

 

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Various desserts

 

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Dessert shooters – my favorites were pecan pie and key lime pie

 

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The Blues Brothers and other bands performed live on stage

 

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What’s a food and wine event without a Fashion Runway show?

 

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Various talent acts graced the stage for entertainment. The stage also hosted several auctions for donated prizes and trips, all raising money to benefit children’s charities.

 

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A view of the Food & Wine at Portofino, great atmosphere and luckily the weather cooperated.

 

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Chef Michael Voltaggio attempt to freeze a Lamborghini Diablo! Playing with some liquid nitrogen and entertaining his people, he poured the liquid nitrogen into the water created this cool looking mist like fog. I was lucky to grab this awesome shot, it looked like a scene from a movie!

 

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Ferraris

 

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The ticket give-away winners, Matt and Liza.

 

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Checking out the event with me, was my sister @iEatsbyJewelES

 

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Thanks to all the chefs that made the creative dishes that we all enjoyed. The move from the traditional Jetport party to the Portofino Bay Hotel was a nice transition and this yearly event seems to be expanding well. We’ll see if next year’s event will be a Food & Wine at Portofino or another location. Regardless it was another enjoyable part of the Annual Celebration Exotic Car Festival and raising funds for children’s charities was once again a success. See you again next year!

Food & Wine at Portofino
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal Orlando
Saturday, April 14th

Celebration Exotic Car Festival
www.celebrationexoticcars.com

 
Words and photos by Julius Mayo Jr.
Content and photos © Droolius.com 2012

 

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