Fresh Perspective: Sarasota Yacht Club (1100 John Ringling Blvd., 952-9451) recently welcomed new chef Jack Wenz to the team. After holding positions in top hotels and resorts in Orlando, New Orleans, Chicago, San Antonio and Tampa, Wenz welcomed the idea of milder winters and open waters in Sarasota. And, he is jumping right into the local culture and improving the experience at Sarasota Yacht Club.
“First and foremost, we are looking to source as much product as possible within a 50-mile radius of our club so that we are directly impacting our local economy as much as possible and we are fresh from the field to the table,” says Wenz. “My goal is to let the food speak for itself in both quality and variety. Next, we are concentrating on what is known as ‘never, never,’ which translates to no hormones, steroids, no feed lots for our beef and poultry and no pesticides on our vegetables. We personally visit these companies and farms to ensure that the standards are truly high enough to be served in our dining rooms.”
Summer fun: Chef Paul Mattison has announced the schedule for his second season of Chef Camp at Mattison’s. Children 11 to 15 years of age can join Mattison during the third session, Aug. 16 through Aug. 20, and learn to sauté, grill, make pasta and sauces and create delicious desserts (the first and second sessions are sold out).
The children also learn the ins and outs of a professional kitchen as they help the chefs prep the day’s fare. The camp is organized through Sarasota County’s Summer Camp Program and registrations can be made online at www.parksonline.scgov.net or by calling 921-3400.
Europe is calling: Unfortunately for all you foodies out there, Maison Blanche (2605 Gulf of Mexico Drive, 383-8088) is closed for the summer. Owners Jose and Victoria Martinez are taking a break and recharging their batteries in Europe and will re-open the Longboat Key restaurant Aug. 12.
Reader recommendation: Mitch Silverstein reports, “Blasé Café in Siesta Village has the best darn jambalaya around.” Silverstein says that while containing all the traditional ingredients, Blasé Café’s jambalaya is full of “and then some” including andouille sausage, mussels, chicken, fish and shrimp and seasoned perfectly.
Dish of the week … goes to The Savory Street's white chocolate amaretto scone (411 N. Orange Ave., 312-4027). This delectable treat ($1.95) is wonderful accompanying a cup of coffee or simply on its own as dessert. Unlike many other dry scones offered at coffee shops, partner Claudia Johnson says the secret to this light and fluffy scone is that they are made fresh and from scratch daily.
The Observer is looking for your favorite restaurants, beloved entrées and favorite mouth-watering desserts. Send your suggestions and tidbits to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday for the Gulf Gate Public Library was a cause for celebration.
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Did you notice a familiar name in the February issue of Southern Living magazine?