Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs challenged Orlando chefs to create a signature dish that defines Orlando and expands people’s awareness of who we are as a destination. The criteria? The dish, a dessert, must incorporate one key ingredient – local honey. (Fun fact: Florida is one of the top five honey-producing states in the U.S., producing 17 million pounds of honey last year.)
Chefs Bobby Rivera Otero, sous chef at Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot, and Jason Stricker, pastry sous chef for Epcot, crafted Disney’s entry in the competition.
So, what dish did the Disney chefs create? A Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake with Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream garnished with Fennel Pollen Meringue Kisses and an Orange-scented Cookie. Gold-flecked wildflower honey pools in an indentation on the top of the cheesecake and is also drizzled over the ice cream and decorates the plate.
After his initial research, Otero, who started his Disney career 12 years ago as part of the Disney College Program, tapped Stricker, who is also an adjunct instructor at Walt Disney World Center for Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Valencia College, to be his creative collaborator.
Stricker, a 20-year Disney Cast Member, was the perfect partner for this project – he has a keen interest in beekeeping originating from his grandfather, who was a beekeeper in Texas. “The flavor profile of the different honey varieties makes it a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes.”
Now through Nov. 9, Orlando residents and visitors will have an opportunity to vote to determine the finalists. A judging panel will select the winning dessert that will be announced Dec. 7.
Be sure to dine at Le Cellier Steakhouse to get a taste of this delicious dessert and let us know what you think. To check out all the honey creations and vote for Orlando’s Signature Dish, visit www.visitorlando.com/Dish/ ⎯ and be sure to share your favorite dish on social media with the hashtag #MyOrlandoDish!