KPMG’s revamped plans for Lake Nona center






Good morning, Orlando!

New York-based audit giant KPMG LLP is revamping the plans for its 55-acre training center.

If you recall, KPMG received $3.8 million in economic development incentives for the training center project, including $3.5 million in tax rebates from Florida and the city of Orlando for a seven-year period and a $320,000 Qualified Target Industries tax refund through the state, which is expected to create 80 jobs by 2019.

More here on what KPMG is requesting approval from the city to change.

The new KPMG center is expected to boost the local by bringing thousands of employees into the market, creating new jobs at the facility and hundreds of third-party contract operator positions.

And be sure to check out these other Thursday headlines:

Hard Rock HQ’s Orlando departure to result in 184 layoffs

Orlando-based casino, hotel and restaurant operator Hard Rock International Inc. told the state via a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice, that it will lay off 184 workers starting in April through July. The company said the layoffs will be permanent. More here.

First look: Lake Nona teaching hospital plans reveal future expansion

The University of Central Florida and HCA Healthcare’s application for a new teaching hospital in Lake Nona gave a first look of the new facility and the medical spaces it will create. More here.

Orlando ‘Shark Tank’ star to roll out products in Walmart this month

Hummus king Jesse Wolfe has scored one his largest deals yet. His company O’Dang Hummus, featured on CNBC’s show “Shark Tank,” last summer struck a deal with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT). And now, he will roll out his hummus salad dressing in 2,000 Walmart stores and neighborhood markets this month.

Ridership of Brightline — which eventually will extend to Central Florida — has exceeded expectations since the train began service between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, CEO Patrick Goddard told an audience at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday. More here.

Florida House Speaker Corcoran says budget deal reached

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, indicated Wednesday afternoon that legislative leaders have reached agreement on a budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. More here.

Disney opens StudioLAB to build VR, AI ‘entertainment experiences’

Walt Disney Studios is launching an initiative dedicated to virtual reality and artificial intelligence. StudioLAB will reimagine, design and prototype entertainment experiences and production capabilities to promote feature films, as well as music and stage plays.

Church Street Plaza hotel developer shares latest plans





The new hotel component inside Lincoln Property Co.’s $100 million Church Street Plaza tower is starting to determine how it will look.

That’s according to Scott Webb, president of Kolter Hospitality, which will own and operate the 180-room AC Marriott hotel in the tower. “We have appointed the design team and started working with Marriott on the perfect design,” he told  Journal. The team includes Hunton Brady Architects, TLC Engineering for Architecture, Baskervill and Technology Research & Consulting — all from the Orlando area.

The 601,225-square-foot tower, which broke ground last August, will feature not only the AC Marriott hotel, but also 217,000 square feet of Class A office space, 7,500 square feet of ground-level retail, an integrated parking garage and a Grand Central Station-like lobby that eventually will connect to a relocated SunRail commuter rail station.

of the hotel won’t kick off until June 2019 after the tower gets its certificate of occupancy, which will allow Kolter’s teams to get inside and start work, said Webb. The company may seek contractor bids as early as the beginning of 2019, based on industry standards.


The new hotel is expected to open just before summer 2020 with a slew of amenities that should appeal to both leisure and business travelers. The hotel will offer meeting space, a gym, food services and an exterior bar on the 19th floor overlooking the city, Webb added.

The downtown Orlando market is still prime for more hotel growth, according to a study from CBRE Group Inc. That submarket is home to more than 7,000 hotel rooms and a 73 percent occupancy that has room for more inventory.

That’s good news for investors interested in the market and looking to potentially expand their footprint — something Kolter Hospitality hasn’t overlooked. “We are very committed to the Orlando market and we continue to look to expand there as opportunities present themselves through both acquisition of existing assets and development,” said Webb.

UCF-area lands Orlando’s first booze-serving Taco Bell Cantina


In the spirit of the weekend getting started, have you ever had a hankering for a craft beer to go with your Cheesy Gordita Crunch? Well, you’re in luck because a new millennial-focused, booze-serving Taco Bell Cantina will debut across the street from the University of Central Florida’s main entrance.

The fast-casual concept, a first for Central Florida and second statewide, will take up 2,846 square feet at the $100 million Plaza on University complex, a building that blends student housing units with ground-level shops and eateries on the northwest corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail in east Orlando. JLL’s Brandon Delanois represented the landlord in the lease deal.

Taco Bell Cantina, which only has a handful of locations — including one near the University of Florida in Gainesville — features a more hip, urban-style decor than a typical drive-thru Taco Bell, like polished wood and exposed brick. It offers tapas-style menu items, USB ports, and serves beer, wine and sangria, as well as the option to get Taco Bell’s frozen drinks spiked with rum, tequila and vodka.

“Taco Bell Cantina is a great example of a brand evolving to cater to today’s millennial tastes and preferences,” said Delanois, JLL associate of retail brokerage, in a prepared statement.

No word yet on when the new restaurant will open, but check out these photos of a Taco Bell Cantina from our sister paper in Cincinnati.

Lockheed Martin’s new $50M R&D building



Global defense firm Lockheed Martin Corp.’s plans to build a $50 million research and development center in west may be a big get for the local community.

The Bethesda, Md.-based company announced Feb. 14 plans to expand its Missiles & Fire Control division in Orlando by adding a 255,000-square-foot building. The new structure will support Lockheed Martin’s major defense contracts such as its $548 million deal to produce more than 7,300 Hellfire missiles, and its $900 million long-range cruise missile contract.

“We’ve been fortunate to sustain our already strong pipeline of business and secure some major new business to support Missiles & Fire Control work contracts announced last year,” Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Dana Casey told Orlando Business Journal. “This includes our sniper and legion pod programs, infrared search and track systems, the long-range anti-ship missile contract award, and more.”

The building project, slated for completion in 2019, is expected to create subcontractor opportunities for smaller firms in the area. Brasfield & Gorrie LLC was named the general contractor. The project may create 500 temporary construction jobs, based on industry standards. Lockheed Martin executives also announced that the firm is hiring 1,800 workers across the U.S. within two years and 500 of those jobs will be in Orlando, paying an average annual salary of $87,000.

Currently, Lockheed Martin has more than 650 jobs open on its website, calling for software and system engineers, program managers and more. Go here for tips on how to get a job with the defense contractor.

Nearly 1,000 employees will work in the new building, performing engineering work and program management activities like planning, finance and human resources. And because the new building may give Lockheed Martin the space and workforce to accept more defense contracts in Orlando, the expansion may trickle down to manufacturers and parts suppliers in the area.

“It’s hard to envision the exact implications [the new facility] will have, but in the near term, we can say there’s a significant amount of local contract work supporting the effort,” Casey said

In fact, the company each year contracts a total of $5.1 billion worth of work to more than 1,600 Florida suppliers, Paul Lemmo, vice president of Fire Control and Special Operations Programs for Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin plans to expand Orlando division by 255,000 SF

Global defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp. will expand in west as it continues to grab big contracts with work in Central .

The Bethesda, Md.-based company declined to share details until Feb. 14, when it breaks ground at 2 p.m. on its planned new 255,000-square-foot Research and Development II building on the property of the Missiles & Fire Control facility at 5600 Sand Lake Road. The new building is will open in 2019 and lead to job growth.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Cissy Proctor and Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control Executive Vice President Frank St. John will attend tomorrow’s ceremony.

Lockheed Martin is expected to expand its workforce in Orlando as the company was approved for a $3.5 million incentive package from Orange County and Florida last year to create 500 jobs by the end of 2022. Currently, Lockheed Martin has more than 650 job open on its website, calling for software and system engineers, program managers and more.

Lockheed Martin in Orlando often scoops up big contracts. The firm recently grabbed a $148 million deal for its stealth jet fighter F-35 with a chunk of the work happening in Orlando.And on Feb. 12, Longbow LLC — a joint venture between Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman Corp.(NYSE: NOC) — scored an $8.8 million contract from the U.S. Army for laser and longbow Hellfire engineering services. Work for the one year contract will be performed in Orlando and two other areas.

Lockheed Martin is Central Florida’s seventh-largest employer with more than 9,000 workers, according to Orlando Journal research. Lockheed Martin is also the largest tech firm in Orlando.



The forecast from Kansas City Fed President Esther George: Despite blustery market, expect rate hikes.

George told a Kansas group that the stock market may have had a wild ride of late, but the ’s outlook remains strong, the Wichita Business Journal reports. She pointed to preliminary estimates of the gross domestic product growing at slightly less than three percent, low unemployment rates and signs of compensation increasing.

All of which should lay the ground for the Federal Reserve to continue raising the interest rate — perhaps half a dozen times through 2019.



“The federal funds rate remains well below what estimates are that its longer-run value should be,” George said. “I’m often asked how many rate increases we’ll see this year. Together, the (Federal Open Market Committee) is calling for about three 25-basis-point hikes in the fed funds rate this year and about the same number next year.”

Lake Nona parent launches Tavistock Hotel Collection


Billionaire Joe Lewis’ Tavistock Group on Jan. 30 announced the launch of the new Hotel Collection that will oversee two new hotels planned to break ground in this year.

The new entity will oversee a “growing” hospitality portfolio, including the Tavistock Lake Nona Resort and the Tavistock Town Center Hotel in the southeast community. Kit Pappas — a 30-year hospitality veteran who previously was COO of  hotel developer and manager Capella Hotel Group — was appointed vice president of hotel management.

“It’s significant when an organization like Tavistock — known around the globe for its smart investments and commitment to excellence — says they want to create an innovative opportunity in your industry,” Pappas said in a prepared statement. “We now have an opportunity to create new brands and experiences with the same excellence, creativity and ingenuity that Tavistock is known throughout the world for, and I for one wanted to be a part of that from day one.”

Along with the Lake Nona project, the new Tavistock Hotel Collection will include additional properties in the future that focus on “exceptional services and delivering one-of-a-kind experiences.” In fact, sister company Tavistock Development Co. LLC recently bought Fort Lauderdale’s Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina, with plans to reimagine it as the city’s social harbor.

“As we look to our future and that of Tavistock’s growing portfolio of world-class properties, the creation of the Tavistock Hotel Collection will allow us greater opportunities to engage with our customers and create more fulfilling experiences,” Tavistock Development President Jim Zboril said in a prepared statement. “This collection will only further these efforts by offering us these additional engagement opportunities.”

Meanwhile, here’s a closer look at the two Lake Nona properties:

Tavistock Lake Nona Resort

The new eight-story iconic performance resort and spa will feature one of the nation’s largest man-made Crystal Lagoons bringing the “beach” to Central Florida in 2020. The project, which will feature 250 guest rooms and 80 condos, will be built between the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club and the USTA National Campus. It’s expected to appeal to athletes, leisure travelers, incentive groups and families. Amenities will include 20,000 square feet of meeting space, an expansive rooftop lounge, a 120,000-square-foot beach volleyball venue, and a major fitness and spa campus. Miami-based Arquitectonica is the project architect.

Tavistock Town Center Hotel

The 16-story, 215-room as-of-yet-unbranded hotel is planned for the center of the overall, more than 3 million-square-foot Lake Nona Town Center, which is planned to become a destination for shopping, dining and entertainment when it debuts in late 2019. The 16-story, full-service hotel will be targeted to leisure travelers, business professionals and style-conscious guests. Amenities will include a 24-hour fitness center featuring Technogym equipment, an 80-seat restaurant and a vibrant rooftop pool and lounge with private event capabilities.

Check out the photo gallery for a closer look at the two properties.

The 17-square-mile Lake Nona is one of Central Florida’s hottest communities. It notched the No. 15 spot among the nation’s top-selling master-planned communities with 523 home sales in 2017, John Burns Real Estate Consulting reported. Additionally, the community already boasts more than 11,000 residents, 5,000 employees in its 650-acre life sciences hub, plenty of new activity in the 300-acre Sports & Performance District, and more than 11,000 students at its schools.

Tavistock snags nearly 200 vacant acres near Lake Nona




An affiliate of Lake Nona’s developer spent cash to buy nearly 200 acres of cow pastures on the border of Orange and Osceola counties.

Springhead North LLC, an entity related to  Development Co. LLC, on Jan. 31 spent $15 million — or nearly $77,000 per acre — to buy three parcels of land from Carter-Lake Away North Land Trust, Orange County records showed.

The land isn’t contiguous to Lake Nona, but rather is on the east side of Narcoossee Road along Clapp Simms Duda Road in Orange County and along Cyrils Drive in St. Cloud, southeast of . Two parcels are in Osceola and the third is in Orange, property records showed.

It’s unknown what’s planned for the property and representatives from Tavistock were immediately unavailable for comment.

Daryl Carter of Maury L. Carter & Associates Inc. declined to discuss details of the sale, saying only that his family has been representing that land through trusts for about 40 years.

However, Carter did say proximity to Tavistock’s 17-square-mile booming community of is what made that land valuable.

“If you get in a helicopter only about 100 feet above ground, you can see Lake Nona and what Tavistock has done there with Medical City and everything else,” Carter told Orlando Journal. “It’s all very innovative, transformative, generational, impactful things. And this land is in that core of influence.”

Lake Nona is one of Central Florida’s hottest communities. It notched the No. 15 spot among the nation’s top-selling master-planned communities with 523 home sales in 2017, John Burns Real Estate Consulting reported.

Additionally, the community already boasts more than 11,000 residents, 5,000 employees in its 650-acre Medical City life sciences hub, plenty of new activity in the 300-acre Sports & Performance District, and more than 11,000 students at its schools.

Florida Hospital no longer seeks Sanford Burnham assets





Good morning, !

Hospital has withdrawn its plan to establish a cancer-research facility in the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute at Lake Nona. The University of Central Florida had a similar competing proposal for Sanford Burnham’s assets.

The hospital’s decision to pull out of the competition comes after a Jan. 23 county commission meeting where the University of Central Florida and Florida Hospital presented their competing proposals to take over the assets of the Sanford Burnham Prebys facility as the institute winds down its local operations.

Florida Hospital, which would have teamed up with Tampa’s H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, wanted to transform the 175,000-square-foot facility into a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, which would be a first in Central Florida, and create hundreds of high-wage jobs.

However, unbeknownst to Orange County, Florida Hospital entered into an exclusive agreement with Sanford Burnham, a secret deal that ultimately backfired. At the end of the county meeting, most of the commissioners said they favored transferring the Sanford Burnham assets to and/or making this an open bid process.

The next step for the county is either to select UCF’s proposal and negotiate the transfer of assets or request more proposals as part of an open process.

And be sure to check out these other Wednesday headlines:

Lake Nona parent launches Tavistock Hotel Collection

Billionaire Joe Lewis’  Group on Jan. 30 announced the launch of the new Tavistock Hotel Collection that will oversee two new hotels planned to break ground in this year. More here on what that means for the community.

Speaking of Lake Nona … Tavistock expects public transit to drive sports growth

When it comes to bidding for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and other major sports events we want to lure to Orlando, we fall short when it comes to one key component: public transportation. So said Andy Odenbach, vice president of Tavistock Sports Ventures, who thinks the region needs to up its game in that sector. More here.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress hotel near Disney to add rooms

The Grand Cypress Resort plans to add 29 hotel rooms, bringing its total to 779. Based on industry estimates, the additional 29 rooms may cost roughly $11.2 million. The change for the land use plan was filled on Jan. 29 to the Orange County development review committee. More here.

New leader named for Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce

The Orlando Economic Partnership has named John F. Davisas the new executive vice president of Orlando Inc., the Orlando Regional Chamber of Commerce, which is a partnership division focused on helping businesses and entrepreneurs. More here.

McDonald’s bests Nike, Apple as most visible brand on social media

McDonald’s reigns as the most visible brand on Twitter and Instagram, beating out the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola, Google and Apple. The fast-food chain’s logo, on average, is featured in almost 890,000 Twitter and Instagram posts per month, according to Statista.

Central Florida Foodie Events For February 2018




Michelle is the owner and editor of CitySurfing . She also owns, is a freelance writer specializing in travel and entertainment,


FEBRUARY 1 Five-Course Discovery Dinner at Tapa Toro, Orlando Cost: $99 (including tax, gratuity and valet parking) There will be five courses served, plus an opening amuse and an intermezzo.Each course will be paired with a wine or cocktail, and each will be completely different from the rest. Visit the event’s ticket page for more info. Grand Opening at Sausage Shack, Winter Park Enjoy an evening of appetizers showing off some of the top menu items that Sausage Shack will be serving on a regular basis. Visit the event’s ticket page for more info.

FEBRUARY 2 Foodstock Orlando VIP Launch Party at Ace Cafe Orlando Cost: $75 Meet Foodstock 2018 Vendors, Suppliers and Sponsors. Party Ticket Includes: VIP Launch Party, One Saturday event VIP Restaurant Rally Pass (Feb 3). and Special Gift and Raffle Tickets. Visit for tickets and more info.

FEBRUARY 3 14th Annual Smoke On The Water BBQ Competition at Citrus Center Boys & Girls Clubs, Winter Haven Cost: $1 donation for admission; food additional Professional cooks square off for the ultimate recognition as the best in BBQ chicken, ribs, pork, brisket and sauce. Live bands, professional water ski show, seaplane rides and more. 100% of funds raised go directly to Boys and Girls Clubs in Winter Haven. Visit for tickets and more info. Bangrak at Redlight Redlight, Orlando From 6pm until the food runs out, enjoy this pop-up kitchen featuring authentic Thai food. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Customer Appreciation Day at Cavallari Gourmet, Oviedo Enjoy food and beverage samples from 1-4pm. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Foodstock Orlando Restaurant Rally at Ace Cafe Orlando Cost: $10 gen admission; $40 VIP (includes vendor tastings) Enjoy Tastings from some of your favorite local restaurants while supporting the Grand Tour Foundation. Visit for tickets and more info. Truffles & Bubbles at Peterbrooke Chocolatier, Winter Park Cost: $35 Includes 2 glasses of bubbles, chocolate dipped strawberry, limited truffles, and dip and take home a gift box of eight of hand dipped, limited edition truffles ($16 value) in flavors of your choosing. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info.

FEBRUARY 4 Pig Skin Pig Roast at Sea Dog Brewing Co, Orlando Cost: $45 all you can eat and drink Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info.

FEBRUARY 6 Meet Michael Honig at The Wine Room, Winter Park Cost: $25 The Honig family has been growing Cabernet & Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Napa Valley since 1964, but they didn’t bottle them under the Honig label until 1984, when Michael Honig took over operations of the winery. Meet Honig at this special event. Visit the event’s ticket page for more info. Pop -Up: International Vegan Comfort Food at The District Market At Mills 50, Orlando Serving up Vegan Philly Cheese Steak and Eastern European Stuffed Cabbage while it lasts. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info.

FEBRUARY 7 OhmWoke Vegan Pop-Up at The District Market At Mills 50, Orlando Enjoy your choice of two vegan entrees at this pop-up. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. * *

FEBRUARY 9-11 28th Wine Fest at Lakeridge Winery, Clermont Cost: $10; kids 12 and under free Winefest is an opportunity to enjoy all the fruits of the bountiful previous year’s harvest. Visit for more info.

FEBRUARY 9-14 Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe Menu at Urbain 40 American Brasserie and Lounge, Dr Phillips Cost: $68 per person (+ tax/gratuity) Enjoy a three course menu with several options per course. Visit for tickets and more info.

FEBRUARY 10 7th Annual Winter Garden Blues & BBQ at Downtown Pavilion, Winter Garden Free admission; food/drink for purchase. This festival pairs the hottest Blues and Roots musicians with award winning local BBQ connoisseurs. Visit for more info. DeLand Beer Festival at Downtown DeLand Cost: $35 Featuring over 300 beers and over 75 breweries. Visit the event’s ticket page for more info. Gar-tending at Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales Cost: $25 Join Entertaining + Lifestyle Expert, Krayl Funch, in the gorgeous Outdoor Kitchen as she combines two favorite pass times, gardening + cocktails, to explore the endless flavor possibilities just waiting to make their move from your garden onto your barcart. You will walk away from this interactive class armed with a collection of garden inspired cocktail recipes. Visit for more info. Grand Opening at Foxtail’s Farmhouse, Winter Park Coffee tastings, wine tastings, food tastings, exciting giveaways and much more! Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Truffles & Bubbles at Peterbrooke Chocolatier, Winter Park Cost: $35 Includes 2 glasses of bubbles, chocolate dipped strawberry, limited truffles, and dip and take home a gift box of eight of hand dipped, limited edition truffles ($16 value) in flavors of your choosing. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info.

FEBRUARY 11  Vegetarian Festival at Chua Bao An Buddhist Temple, Orlando Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Low Country Crawfish Boil at Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar, Winter Park Cost: $39 Enjoy a 3-course meal with select beer/wine, and live entertainment. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info.

FEBRUARY 14 Annual Chocolate and Beer Pairing at Orlando Brewing, Orlando Cost: $18 Enjoy a self-guided sampling of organic beer and locally made chocolates from CayCakes Bakery. Pairings include four 5oz pours perfectly paired with four varieties of handcrafted chocolates. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe Menu at DoveCote, Orlando Cost: $64 per person Enjoy a special 3-course menu. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Very Vegan Valentine’s Day Dinner at Infusion Tea, Orlando Cost: $49 per person Enjoy a vegan 4-course dinner with wine or tea pairings. Visit the event’s ticket page for more info.

FEBRUARY 15 Cooking Class: Tribute to our Greek Sister at Tapa Toro, Orlando Cost: $49 (+ tax/gratuity} Learn to make Spanakopita and more. Tapas & dessert included. Visit for more info. Florida Cuisine – Quick and Healthy Meals Using Local Ingredients at Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales Cost: $45 Join award-winning cookbook author and celebrity chef Warren Caterson in the Outdoor Kitchen for an intimate hands-on cooking class. Learn how to create delicious meals using a variety of seafood, poultry and meat with locally grown fruits and vegetables. Visit for more info.

FEBRUARY 15-18 Space Coast Seafood and Music Fest feat. Willie Nelson at Space Coast Daily Park, Viera Tickets: $8 adv/$10 day daily; four-day Weekend ticket $18; headliner concerts extra This family event, will include a wide selection of fantastic seafood, top flight entertainment, premier Arts & Crafts Show, a Pirates Festival and Parade, a Kids Zone, and more. Visit for tickets and more info.

FEBRUARY 15-28 1st Year Anniversary Prix Fixe Menu at Reel Fish Coastal Kitchen & Bar, Winter Park Cost: $49 Enjoy a 3-course meal for two with select beer/wine, and live entertainment. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 16 Harbor Nights Romantico at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Cost: $58.58; VIP $95.85 Enjoy a romantic evening on the Harbor Piazza with select and sparkling wines expertly paired with decadent gourmet selections from each of the hotel’s restaurants, and music by the Johnny Cool Swing Band and more. Visit the Loews ticket page for more info. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 17 Behind the Knife Sushi Class Experience at Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi, Dr Phillips Cost: $70 earlybird; $80 general During sushi class, the team will help you make the perfect sushi and hand rolls, and invite you to sample dishes from the Robatayaki grill using binchotan charcoal. Visit the event’s ticket page for more info. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 19 Cuisine Corner: Vegan Soul Food at at Orange County Library System – Downtown Branch, Orlando  Expand your mind when it comes to thoughts on tasty soulful food. Join OhmWoke for a demonstration on how you can turn some of your favorite soul food into a vegan delight. Free to OCLS library members. Visit to register. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 21 Rooftop Crab Dinner at Paddlefish, Disney Springs Cost: $75 Includes a four-course crab dinner with wine pairings. Must be 21 to attend. To reserve your spot or for more information, visit the event’s ticket page. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 22 Chef Night with Chef/Owner Chelsie Savage of The Sanctum at Edible Education Experience, Orlando Cost: $65 Chef/Owner Chelsie Savage of The Sanctum teaches an introduction to plant-based cooking in this fun & integrative workshop. Visit for more info. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 24 BBQ Bash at The Waterfront, Orlando They are breaking out the giant smoker and will be serving up their original ribs, chicken, wings, and pulled pork. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Foodscape Revolution – Yard to Table Cooking Demonstration at Bok Tower Gardens, Lake Wales Cost: $15 Brie Arthur shares her favorite recipes and time saving tips for preparing fresh produce grown in the foodscape. From drying herbs for custom seasoning blends to canning peppers, Brie explains how to make the most of the food you grow. Enjoy a tomato tasting while learning how to make heirloom Bloody Marys and garden fresh sauce and salsa. Visit for more info. Sunshine Regional Chili Cook Off & Craft Beer Festival at Lakefront Park, Kissimmee Free admission. Purchase tickets for chili and beer sampling. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. Titusville Chili Cookoff at Sand Point Park, Titusville Free admission; samples for purchase. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 24-25 10th Annual Downtown Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola Park, Orlando Cost: $18 adv/$20 day of for one-day ticket; $30 for two-day ticket; $20 Wine Tasters Club Pass Enjoy dishes from 30 of Orlando’s premier restaurants, 50 domestic and international wines and live entertainment. Food and beverage tickets are available at the Fest for $2 each; food and beverage offerings range from one to four tickets. Visit for tickets and more info. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

FEBRUARY 28 7th Annual Chili for Charity at Winter Park Farmers’ Market, Winter Park Cost: $35 adv/$40 day of; 4 tickets for $100 Features creative chili dishes by popular restaurants and other contenders, plus live entertainment and more. Net event proceeds will benefit the Rotary Club of Winter Park Charitable Foundation. Visit for more info. Doughnut & Beer Pairing at Orlando Brewing, Orlando Dig into organic mini doughnuts from Orlandough paired perfectly with four of our organic brews (5oz sampler glasses) at this guided pairing. Visit the event’s Facebook page for more info.