From Cleveland, we head almost directly south to Orlando, Florida. This thousand mile journey brings us to a location whose temperatures are more summer-like than spring and where there already is a great amount of locally sourced produce available. Having a warmer climate helps to provide a great bounty of options for a spring menu.
We spoke with Chef Cory York of deep blu seafood grille about his spring menu. In addition to the abundance of fresh seafood and local produce, deep blu also is growing its own herbs to provide the best possible ingredients. The combination of fresh ingredients and a talented chef is sure to make for a memorable dining experience.
TT: How many new dishes have you added to your menu?
CY: I am very fortunate to print menus daily, so my menu revolves around daily availability of the freshest shellfish and fin fish. My latest addition to deep blu seafood grille would be the Wild Alaskan Halibut, I prepare this by pan searing in a French skillet and serving over shelled edamame bean succotash, with local mango relish & cilantro butter. This is also my favorite time of year for local soft shell blue crab. I am serving these lightly pan fried with Palm Coast County heirloom tomato salad and cracked mustard aioli.
TT: Out of these dishes which is your favorite spring menu item?
CY: For my local harvest I would have to choose the soft shell blue crab, its availability is limited which makes it more exclusive and it is very versatile in cooking preparations.
TT: Are any of the ingredients in this dish locally sourced?
CY: Absolutely, the one thing I have found about central Florida’s availability for local ingredients is that you really have to do your research. Early spring into early summer (and I mean early) is really the best time to by local produce. Due to the high temperatures in mid-May thru August, it is difficult to find. However, the hot house grown organic tomatoes from Palm Coast County absolutely melt in your mouth. Now as far as seafood goes, I have had great success with my local vendors in relation to Florida’s freshest finfish as well as shellfish. Currently I am carrying six species of local finfish ranging from domestic day boat swordfish up to Key West lion fish.
TT: In addition to local sourcing, I noted that you are flying in fresh Alaskan Halibut. What inspired you to add a fresh, yet far-away, item to your menu?
CY: Sustainability is the key word. I want to deliver the message to my service team and my guest that we support all aspects of harvesting the freshest, most sustainable seafood we can. With that being said I am very particular where and from whom I buy my seafood.
I have a passion for Alaskan seafood, the pure untouched waters of the Pacific North West have a bountiful supply of sustainable and delicious fruits of the sea to challenge our culinary knowledge. I am able to place an order with my connections in Seattle and have the fish delivered to my door within 24 hours. Another note: the planes that fly my fish and shellfish into Orlando are passenger airliners that are flying here daily, so in other words we are just hitching a ride!
TT: For how long will these spring items be available?
CY: Daily is the key word in my menu development. Even though products are available, if I feel the quality is not acceptable to serve to my guest then I simply send it back, such as soft shell crab which are very temperamental and 30-40% of the time they arrive too cold and perish during shipment from the coast. So we should see great local fish all spring and summer as well as a bountiful supply of the great Alaskan and Pacific Northwest seafood all summer!
TT: What makes your spring menu unique?
CY: It has very much diversity. My restaurant is located in the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek and is surrounded by 4000 time share condo units, which at any time has as many as 12,000 visitors from around the world. So my theme is to stick with fresh fish and anything in between! From a full Sushi Bar which is overseen by Anthony Chow, my sushi chef, to our Raw Bar, which on any night you will find a variety of east and west coast oysters and then finally we have our Tasting Bar which seats two to four people where we create intimate courses for our guest that reflect the day’s fresh catch. With deep blu seafood grille you will find that every guest is our guest and we are here because you are here!