JAY BOYAR ON BUGS BUNNY ■ MIKE THOMAS ON BAD-NEWS BEARS
T H E B E S T O F C E N T R A L F LO R I DA
EDGY AND EXOTIC A TEEN DESIGNER MAKES HER MARK.
KESSLER’S KINGDOM 2014 EDUCATION GUIDE
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PHOTO ÂŠ EVERETT & SOULE
Outdoor Living Addition
Victor Farina is pictured with his father Mario on the cover of Remodeling Magazine, honoring the nationâ€™s 50 most distinguished remodeling companies. Farina & Sons is family owned with a tradition of award winning renovations, additions and custom homes since 1950. Regardless of size, each project receives Farinaâ€™s trademark attention to detail and teamwork approach.
12/16/13 9:14:09 AM
DEPARTMENTS 8 JAY BOYAR’S LIMELIGHT
Jay is looney over the upcoming Warner Bros. cartoon exhibit at the Orange County Historical Museum; Old Masters visit the Orlando Museum of Art; the Orange Studio celebrates cardboard creations; the hit movie-turned-into-a-play Once comes to the Bob Carr; country star Brad Paisley wheels into the Amway.
15 DESIGN / STYLE
Teenage designer Julia Chew manages to combine elegance and edginess. by Marianne Ilunga • photographs by Rafael Tongol
Longwood’s Matt Loory made a childhood dream come true by joining the circus — but as a chef, not a performer. by Rona Gindin
Santiago’s Bodega near Lake Ivanhoe serves up tapas in a warm, welcoming setting. by Rona Gindin • photographs by Rafael Tongol
56 PEOPLE & PLACES
Paula is out and about at the Mylan WTT Smash Hits celebrity tennis tourney, the Headdress Ball and ATHENA International’s award ceremony. by Paula Wyatt
26 FIRST RESORTS Hotelier Richard Kessler has made attracting guests an art form, and he’s not the only one. by Michael McLeod • photographs by Rafael Tongol
43 EDUCATION GUIDE
A guide to some of Central Florida’s finest private and parochial schools — including a primer on how to choose the right one for your child — plus a list of the area’s higher-ed institutions. by Harry Wessel 2
A rare and relatively new surgical procedure at Orlando Health offers an alternative to total hip replacement. by Harry Wessel • photographs by Jarred Paluzzi
64 RESTLESS NATIVE
So what should Orlando do about its bear problem? Our Restless Native has a few suggestions. by Mike Thomas ABOUT THE COVER: Jackie, of Miami’s Front Management, photographed by Rafael Tongol; hair and makeup by Elsie Knab.
Photos: (top and bottom right) rafael tongol; (bottom left) Tatton Jacob/Feld Entertainment
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from the editor
Big Bang Theory
THE NEW YEAR WILL BEGIN AND END WITH THEATRICAL BLOCKBUSTERS.
come from Ohio. There’s a clever old witticism about my home state’s name: It’s round on the ends and “hi” in the middle. It’s just a joke. Still, it puts me in mind of the tick-tock predictability of my Midwestern upbringing, when I was a lot more confident about beginnings, endings and what might transpire in between than I am these days. Lately, though, I’ve been getting a wisp of that rock-steady feeling again from an unexpected direction: the stage. I am as dead certain about how this year is going to start off for theater in Orlando as I am about how it’s going to wind up. This month, Orlando Shakespeare Theater will present The Adventures of Nicholas Nickelby, a 6 ½ hour production broken into two segments (You can either see the play on successive nights, or on a single day with a break for dinner in between.) It’s the most ambitious production in the company’s history — or as Shakes artistic director Jim Helsinger puts it, “This is as all-in as I’ve ever been.” The stage adaptation of Charles Dickens’ third novel is a shrewdly rendered theatrical treasure that somehow captures the lively spirit of Dickens’ cleverly interwoven plots, characters and social commentary. Not to be outdone, Mad Cow Theatre is presenting an inventive festival of science-themed plays the month, including one entitled A Short History of Nearly Everything. How’s that for a big show? Now let’s time travel to the end of the year, and another ambitious Shakes production: As Helsinger recently revealed to a small group of patrons, the company will presenting another treasured theatrical milestone next season: Les Mis. I’d call it the most ambitious production in the company’s history, but that seat’s taken. By the time Les Mis goes up, the long-awaited Dr. Phillips Performing Art Center will have opened, and the Broadway Across America series will be presenting its slate of shows in its spectacular new home. Newsies, an award-winning musical about an 1899 newsboys strike in New York City, is the only show that’s been confirmed on the 2004 slate. But I’ve got my fingers crossed that we’ll also be seeing Kinky Boots, the inspired Cindy Lauper/Harvey Feinstein collaboration about a shoe shop rescued by a drag queen. So, that’s a glimpse of theater in Orlando in 2014. It will start off with a bang. It will end that way, too. Somewhere in between, we’ll be saying goodbye to an infamous theatrical aggravation: Stumbling over each other at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, which has no center aisle. We won’t miss it. Of that I am equally sure.
Take Note What’s SOCIAL
Follow us on twitter: @OrlandoLifeMag and Facebook at: facebook.com/orlandolifemagazine. We’re on Google+ and Pinterest too: pinterest.com/orlandolife/.
What’s ONLINE Check out our expanded listing of arts organizations and their schedules of events for the upcoming season.
What you CAN DO Have a heart. Check out Pookie’s Pet Nutrition & Bow Wow Bakery’s 6th Annual Rescuefest, a fundraiser and adoption day to benefit non-profit animal rescue groups at Lake Lily Park in Maitland, Jan. 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
What’s ON DECK Our Annual Wedding Issue, plus Jay Boyar’s profile the lead player in the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.
CORRECTION Michael McLeod Editor in Chief firstname.lastname@example.org 4
In the October issue of Orlando Life, the name of landscape designer Randy Suggs was spelled incorrectly. JANUARY 2014
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Copyright 2014 by Florida Home Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. ORLANDO LIFE ISSN: 2326-2478 (USPS 000-140) (Vol. 15/Issue No. 1) is published monthly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 Westhall Lane, Ste 128, Maitland, FL 32751. Periodicals Postage Paid at Maitland, FL and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Orlando Life Magazine, 330 S. Pineapple Ave., Suite 205, Sarasota, FL 34236. january 2014
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THE ART OF THE AMERICAN WEST A series of exhibitions inspired by the landscape and culture of the Western states.
th Anniversary Season
THE ART OF THE SANTA FE ART COLONY
William Penhallow Henderson (American, 1877–1943), End of the Santa Fe Trail, 1916, oil on canvas, 40 x 32 inches. Ray Harvey Collection
January 17–April 6, 2014
900 E. Princeton Street Orlando, FL 32803 www.mennellomuseum.com The Mennello Museum of American Art is owned and operated by the
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The evolution of Sante Fe as an art center is explored through this pictorial history of artists, the work they produced and the prevailing artistic trends that were applied to this Southwestern city’s landscape, customs and lifestyle. Organized by the Boca Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida. Exhibitions sponsored by the City of Orlando and the Friends of The Mennello Museum of American Art with funding from Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program.
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It’s Looney Tunes Time at Orange History Center.
s a kid, I liked Mickey Mouse and his Disney pals
— but only to a point. Their cartoon shorts were fun, but those characters, let’s face it, were country bumpkins. Except for Donald’s Einstein-like uncle, Ludwig Von Drake, they seldom said anything smart or witty. Over at Warner Bros., the ‘toons tended to be hipper. Bugs Bunny, for example, was cool, clever and streetwise. His catch phrase, “What’s up, Doc?” suggested both curiosity and detachment — especially when punctuated by the sound of carrot crunches. “Warner Bros. wrote for adults,” says Michael Perkins, curator at the Orange County Regional History Center. “It was sophisticated humor.” For me, Bugs and much of his gang were friends — kindred spirits. (They still are, actually.) So, of course, I’m going a bit “Looney Tunes” while waiting for The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons, an Orange County History Center exhibit from Jan. 25 through March 23. The show will feature more than 160 objects, including drawings, paintings and cartoon cels (sheets of transparent cellulose acetate on which characters and backgrounds were painted) from 1930 through 1969. “The art really tells the story of how they created the cartoons,” notes Perkins. Among the characters featured in the show is that “cwazy wabbit,” as well as Porky Pig (an early Warners star and, like Elmer Fudd, a token bumpkin). Also included are the shorttempered Daffy Duck, the ever-plotting Wile E. Coyote, the explosive Yosemite Sam and the predatory Sylvester the cat — perennial losers all, but each with ample attitude and a measure of ingenuity. Along with charting how the cartoons were created, Perkins says the exhibit will showcase their “social-cultural aspect and the tremendous influence Warner Bros. cartoons have had on us for decades now.” Those cartoons, he adds, “made a lot of statements just with the raised eyebrow of a character.” Organized by the Museum of Modern Art from a private collection, the History Center exhibit doesn’t shy away from 8
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The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons, from an exhibition created by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY. IMAGES: © Warner Bros. Inc.
Damian Barray, Jeffrey Todd Parrott and Sophie Bell.
overbite and a gold front tooth. Then there are the drawings for 1943’s Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarfs, Warners’ racially insensitive answer to Disney’s first cartoon feature. In conjunction with the exhibit, the History Center will be presenting a lecture on the history of animation, showings of Warner Bros. cartoons (on Saturday mornings and at the exhibit) and an assemblage of merchandise from local collectors that features Bugs and company. I’m especially intrigued that there also will be a mock trial in which the Coyote will sue the Acme company over the failure of their products. And that’s all, folks — unless you want to visit thehistorycenter.org for further information. n
the politically incorrect side of the Warners animation story, in which the studio caught the prevailing ill winds of the times. Several drawings in the show depict particularly egregious Asian stereotypes, while a cel reveals how Speedy Gonzales looked back in 1951 — a broad Hispanic caricature with an ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
Jay Boyar, arts editor of Orlando Life, has written about film and travel for the Orlando Sentinel and numerous other newspapers. He’s the author of Films to Go: 100 Memorable Movies for Travelers & Others and a contributor to Reel Romance: The Lovers’ Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies. ORLANDO LIFE
12/13/13 1:44:45 PM
plan on it
The thrill is not gone: Blues legend B.B. King, now 88, is not only still with us, he’s still performing and will take center stage at the Bob Carr with his beloved Lucille.
If nerding out to StarWars costumes and spending hours on the latest Bioshock is your bag, this is a national holidaylevel outing as the latest in video-game technology goes on interactive display.
orlandovenues.net Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus
Jan. 9-12 Amway Center
The Greatest Show on Earth will turn the Amway Center into the big top right before your very eyes as the circus — elephants and all — lumbers into town.
Jan. 18-21 Orlando Science Center
Scottish Highland Games
Jan. 18-19 Central Florida Fairgrounds
Games like the boulder boogie (carrying a big rock around, woo hoo!) and the haggis hurl, plus dancing men in kilts — they’re all part of this annual celebration of all things Scottish.
Unity Heritage Festival
From orange groves to brick roads, the west side of Winter Park has come a long way since 1882. The city pays tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. with a street festival celebrating its own African-American heritage.
Awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2007 “for his compositions of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth,” Lauridsen performs as part of the annual Winter Park Bach Festival.
Jan. 19-20 Hannibal Square
Jan. 26 Knowles Memorial Chapel
February 14th - 16th For Tickets Call 407-426-1739
PHOTO COURTESY OTRONICON
Jan. 3 Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre
Photo: Michael Cairns
Sponsored in part by
Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre | OrlandoBallet.org 10
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A Pulp-Pourri of Cardboard Artistry
PHOTO courtesy Cardboard Art Fest
You think cardboard art is kid stuff?
Well, maybe you need to start thinking outside the box. “It’s way harder than it looks,” says Christie Miga. “Cardboard doesn’t react well to duct tape. Certain glues don’t hold it together very well. It’s not like you’re sitting down with a canvas in front of you.” But cardboard artistry is a budding urban phenomenon just the same, and Orlando has its share of pulp practitioners. Miga herself is best known for co-creating a series of Fringe Festival skits that featured a cadre of cardboard creatures. She’ll be acting as curator of the second annual Cardboard Art Fest, which will bring the creations of 16 local artists to the Orange Studio on North Mills Avenue Jan. 23-26. Last year’s event featured puppets, di-
nosaurs, submarines, a working “rocket car” and a creation called “Hootie and the Blowfish,” which consisted of a cardboard owl and a giant blowfish. However humble the medium, the art has its fans: Several hundred people attended opening night last year, and by the end of the festival nearly all the creations, $100 to $500, had been sold. The cardboard confab is the brainchild of Mark Baratelli, publisher of TheDailyCity.com and a cardboard craftsman in his own right. Baratelli says this year’s event will include a preview dinner, an opening night party, a separate “confectionfest” featuring gourmet desserts and expanded gallery hours. Visit cardboardartfestival.com for more information. — Michael McLeod
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Has a Rembrandt oil painting ever been
on display in Orlando? Hansen Mulford, curator at the Orlando Museum of Art, doesn’t know for sure, but he doubts it. Drawings or etchings maybe. But no paintings by the man considered to be among the greatest ever to wield a brush. That will change Jan. 25, when the museum will host Rembrandt, Rubens, Gainsborough and the Golden Age of Painting in Europe. The Rembrandt, by the way, is called “Portrait of a 40-Year-Old Woman.” (Spoiler alert: She looks much older.) Drawn from the collection of the Speed Art Museum of Louisville, Ky., the display will feature 71 paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries by the artists mentioned in the show’s title, as well as by some of their Baroque-era contemporaries. “It’s the first exhibit exclusively of Old Antoine-Jean Gros, Portrait of Celeste Master paintings of this period that has Coltellini, Madame Meuricoffre
been presented in Central Florida,” says Mulford. He adds that during this period, “oil painting became the dominant form of visual arts.” Along with the Golden Age show, which runs through May 25, the museum will be offering a performance by the Bach Festival Choir on March 25. The program will feature music from the same period as the artwork. There’ll also be a series of lectures, the first of which, on Jan. 14, will focus on Dutch painting in the Golden Age. In addition, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College will present a companion exhibit, Glimpses into the Golden Age, from Jan. 4 through May 11. And, again, there’s that Rembrandt. Visit omart.org for further information. — Jay Boyar
photo: Courtesy ORLANDO museum of art
In A Rare Visitation, Masters Meet At OMA
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A Twice-Told Love Story With a Lively Irish Flair
photo: Courtesy broadway across america
Once has made it big — and not just
once, but twice. The love story about two would-be songwriters, a Dublin street musician and a beautiful Czech pianist, was a phenomenally successful low-budget movie in its first incarnation. Made for $160,000, it grossed $20 million globally. “Falling Slowly,” the sublimely romantic song that the two lovers write together, won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Original Song. Four years later a musical stage adaptation of the film was a huge Broadway hit. Nominated in 2012 for 11 Tonys, it won eight of them, including best musical, book and actor. A national touring production of the show will visit the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre on
Jan. 28 and will run through Feb. 2. The Irish film resonated with spontaneous humor and an engaging, authentic sense of both creativity and intimacy, which was understandable enough: The co-stars, Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, actually wrote that award-winning song, and were romantically involved — once. The stage production, crafted by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, is a much broader, more wide-open evocation of the story, which is actually, like most of its songs, about heartbreak. But there’s a cheerful counterpoint in the setting, a lively Dublin pub, and the 10 colorful characters who swirl around the couple, sometimes literally.
All of them are musicians playing a variety of instruments . Visit orlando.broadway.com for more information. — Michael McLeod
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NEW-HOME TRENDS: SMALLER, SMARTER, MORE BELLS AND WHISTLES
LETâ€™S MEET MONTHLY.
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Holiday Spirits MASTER MIXOLOGISTS SHARE SECRET RECIPES LETâ€™S DECK THE HALLS (AND THE TABLES, TOO) PHILANTHROPY FOR THE DIGITAL AGE
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your 2013 concert tour Beat This Summer, but you donâ€™t want to end it when the weather turns cool? If youâ€™re Brad Paisley, you simply change the name to Beat This Winter and keep on going. Paisley swings into Orlandoâ€™s Amway Center on Jan. 25, bringing with him two rising country music stars who hit the big time by winning TV singing competitions: Chris Young, 2006 Nashville Star winner, and 17-year-old Danielle Bradbery, winner of The Voice. As for the headliner, heâ€™s a triple-threat singer/songwriter/guitarist extraordinaire with 14 Country Music Association awards and 21 No. 1 singles, including his latest, â€œSouthern Comfort Zone.â€? Paisley nevertheless is an unusual superstar. Itâ€™s hard to imagine any other country music icon releasing an album featuring rapper LL Cool J on one track and Monty Pythonâ€™s Eric Idle on another. The native West Virginian did just that with his latest release, Wheelhouse. Paisleyâ€™s 13-stop tour features songs from Wheelhouse, which not coincidentally is the name of the starâ€™s home studio in Franklin, Tenn., where he lives with his movie actress wife, Kimberly WilliamsPaisley, and their two young children. Visit amwaycenter.com for more information. â€” Harry Wessel
photo: courtesy orlando venues
photo: Landon St. Gordon
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Edgy Elegance JULIA CHEW BLENDS A SOFT TOUCH WITH A SLEEK LINE. by Marianne Ilunga photographs by Rafael Tongol hair and makeup by Elsie Knab Jackie, of Front Management in Miami, wears a long-sleeve lace dress, $229; and a black belt with peacock feather details, $79; both from Xiaolin by Julia Chew, xiaolindesign.com. Her aqua bluesuede pumps, $268, are from Carmen Steffens, The Mall at Millenia.
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Dawn of a Designer
A TALENTED TEEN IS ALREADY MAKING HER MARK. by Marianne Ilunga
t the age of 2, Julia Chew could cut a straight line with scissors. By the time she was 8, she was drawing pictures of elegant ladies dressed in elaborate Victorian dresses. She made her first dress at 11 and at 16 opened an online Etsy shop, Xiaolin. Soon thereafter she was selling garments and accessories — such as those on the following pages — internationally. Last year, at 17, the Tampa teen won the Emerging Designer Award, an annual accolade that’s part of Harriett’s Park Avenue Fashion Week, held in Winter Park and named for philanthropist and fashionista Harriett Lake. We spoke to Chew about her budding career as a designer.
Q: Why the name Xiaolin? What does it mean to you? A: My Chinese name is Xiao, meaning Dawn, and Lin, meaning Jade. I put the two together to make Xiaolin. My Chinese name holds a special place in my heart. Q: Were you always this creative? A: I have always enjoyed many forms of art, such as sketching, photography and creating items with my hands. Each year, from ages 9 to 16, I entered dresses, quilts and other items into the Strawberry Festival in Plant City. I regularly won the blue ribbon for first prize and the purple ribbon for Best of Show. Q: What inspires you as a designer? A: Nature, texture and my studies in gothic romanticism. While growing up, I spent time outdoors, where I was able to connect with nature. With each element of nature, such as waterfalls, butterfly wings and feathers, I discovered a correlation with fabrics. In my mind I put them together. Later, I carried out the ideas by creating garments that give the essence of nature or natural objects. To give an example, the flow of a waterfall reminded me of the graceful movement of chiffon. My style leans toward gothic romantic with a hint of late Victorian. In that era, clothing had a higher importance because it was handmade and not mass-produced. In literature, the author creates characters that tell a story using imagery, mood and other literary techniques. Similarly, with my clothing my desire is to create a captivating story for the audience to enjoy.
3OL_Jan_14 Style.indd 16
Q: The workmanship on your pieces is so meticulous. Were you always this detail-oriented? A: I am a self-confessed perfectionist. When I design a piece, I have an exact idea in my mind and work on it until it is the way I had envisioned it ought to be. It is very time-consuming, but I am pleased with my piece when it is finished. Q: Are you self-taught, or did you get some training in sewing prior to starting your line? A: My paternal grandmother gave me a sewing machine and serger, the exact tools needed to prepare me to flourish as a designer. A neighbor who was an accomplished seamstress regularly invested time in developing my skills. And my mother keeps me organized. Q: What should we expect in the future from Xiaolin? A: As a short-term goal, in February I will release my first exclusive Xiaolin couture collection at Christian Fashion Week. I am very excited about this upcoming line, as I will be able to release my artistic ideas without boundaries. As a long-term goal, my vision is to someday own and operate my own fashion house. I want to give back to the community by creating local jobs and supporting passionate artisans. I feel that young people need to accept the social responsibility of working together to strengthen our community.
12/13/13 2:03:17 PM
Jackie, standing, in a long feather gown with mandarin collar, price on request, from Xiaolin by Julia Chew. The designer, seated, wears her own high-low lace dress, $219, xiaolindesign.com.
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Jackie wears a black velvet body suit with fringe details, $139; and an Ombre feather skirt, $525; both from Xiaolin by Julia Chew, xiaolindesign. 18
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Jackieâ€™s peacock cocktail dress, $650, is from Xiaolin by Julia Chew, xiaolindesign.com. The ankle-strap suede pointy toe pumps, $274; and black feather purse, $198; are from Carmen Steffens, The Mall at Millenia. ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
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The black jersey tank, $49; Tulip maxi skirt, $98; and feather corset belt, $149; are all from Xiaolin by Julia Chew, xiaolindesign.com. The ankle-strap suede pointy toe pumps, $274; and oversized faux fur clutch with gold-tone buckle, $279; are from Carmen Steffens, The Mall at Millenia. The black leather mask by Bandwell Design is Chewâ€™s own.
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The sleeveless black velvet keyhole back dress, $139, is by Xiaolin by Julia Chew, xiaolindesign.com. The ankle boots with gold-tone stud details, $268; the black leather skinny belt with gold-tone closure, $118; and black leather clutch with gold-tone pyramid stud details, $344; are all from Carmen Steffens, The Mall at Millenia.
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12/13/13 2:04:51 PM
Life’s a Circus
BUT NO CLOWNING AROUND WHEN YOU RUN THE PIE CAR. ne evening, as he was driving back to his home-
away-from-home through heavy city traffic in Pittsburgh, Pa., Matt Loory realized that he had a dangerous problem: his taillights weren’t working. Soon enough, he found a novel solution. A long line of elephants was ambling along the highway, accompanied by a police escort. As it happened, they were going his way. So Loory pulled over, rolled down his window and called out to the officers: “I’m going with the elephants. Can I cut in?” They waved him through, and he took his place, safe and sound, among the lumbering commuters. Like him, they
were headed for a railroad siding, and their temporary home: a parked train that serves as rolling headquarters for The Greatest Show on Earth. Such is life in the circus for the Longwood native. Lorry travels on that train all over the country, including Pittsburgh and points beyond, as head chef for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’ “Blue Unit.” He’ll be home briefly this month when the circus comes to Orlando for performances at the Amway Center January 9, 10 and 11. Loory’s official title is Pie Car Manager, “Pie Car” being big-top jargon for the troupe’s cafeteria. His job entails acting
PHOTOS: Tatton Jacob/Feld Entertainment
By Rona Gindin
12/13/13 2:20:47 PM
Clockwise, from above: The Pie Car’s narrow kitchen serves up as many as 1,500 meals per week; head chef Matt Loory, originally from Longwood, fulfilled his childhood dream to run away to the circus; the “Pie Car Junior” is a mobile serving station used at arenas at which circus performances are held. ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
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Loory enjoys an unusual quiet moment before the lunch rush at one of the Pie Car’s eight diner-style booths. The 23-year-old actually planned for a career in communications before the big top beckoned.
as both food-service director and chef, charged with feeding 300-plus people. Though he is only 23, Loory knows enough lore to suggest three possible old-time circus explanations for the mobile cafeteria’s quirky name. One: Circus chow houses used to serve primarily meat pies. Two: Dining cars on trains everywhere once served noth24
ing but coffee and pie. Three: Only “Privileged Individuals and Employees” could eat at the car. (“Privileged individuals” were private concessionaires who had the “privilege” of selling popcorn, cotton candy and the like to circus attendees.) These days, Loory and his staff buy, cook and serve seven days a week. Performers and other circus staffers either eat in the Pie Car’s eight booths or grab takeout boxes. During a show, they’ll eat at the Pie Car Junior, a mobile serving station set up at arenas. All told, Loory and his crew serve 1,000 to 1,500 meals every week. He didn’t set out to be a cook. After graduating from Lake Brantley High School
in 2008, he enrolled in the New England School of Communications in Maine to study video production. But he was soon “too cold and too far from home.” Though his mother cooked, vacuum-sealed, froze and shipped her beloved brisket and noodle kugel to cheer him up, her chilled and disillusioned son soon came back home to sunny Florida. He took classes at a community college and worked odd jobs — as a security guard, shooting news footage, making sweets at Goofy’s Candy Company at Downtown Disney. A friend suggested he try culinary school. He was intrigued, and got himself a job at a local breakfast stop to January 2014
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test the waters. Soon he was not only working at the First Watch café in Altamonte Springs but rushing home and changing into chef whites to take night classes at Le Cordon Bleu Orlando. Loory had graduated and was two weeks shy of a promised promotion when he learned that the circus was hiring. “I was 22, and I figured I’d never have the opportunity to travel like this again,” he says. “I thought about the stories I’d have to tell my grandchildren one day.” He joined the circus in Miami, and after only a few weeks as a cook, successfully applied for the Pie Manager position. “My staff has been 100 percent behind me,” he adds. “And, when I make mistakes, I learn from them. That makes you stronger in the end.” Crisscrossing the country has been an education of another sort. “Traveling by rail, we get to see so much of the country that nobody else gets to see,” says Loory, who works to keep his menu as varied as the destinations on the circus itinerary. He even uses recipes from circus employees, who hail from 17 countries. So while cheeseburgers, salads and any dish featuring grilled chicken breast are certain to remain Pie Car standards, Loory’s show-folk clientele might sup on mojo chicken (Cuba), or miso-braised beef (Japan). When the circus train pulls into Orlando, however, Loory will have his own culinary preferences in mind. He’s yearning for meals at Viet Garden, Emeril’s Orlando, Imperial Dynasty and Buca de Beppo, a sentimental favorite where he celebrated every birthday from the age of 10. But that was long ago, back when he was just a little boy dreaming, like so many others, of running away to join the circus. One difference, he says: “I just got lucky enough to do it.” n ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
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King of H HOTELIER RICHARD KESSLER IS A
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f His Castle
CINDERELLA STORY IN HIS OWN RIGHT. by Michael McLeod • photographs by Rafael Tongol
s a boy growing up in the 1950s
in the tiny town of Rincon, just outside Savannah, Ga., Richard Kessler often wandered down to the railroad tracks to collect rocks, with his nanny and little red wagon in tow. He also collected arrowheads and other boys’ marbles — winning the latter one day, then selling them back to their original owners the next. Later on, he rode his bike around town selling okra to neighbors. He’d take his little sister along, understanding the strategic value a cherubic face brought to closing the deal. Depending on your perspective, those are either nostalgic, Mayberry RFD-type memories or a portent of bigger things to come, a la Citizen Kane. Kessler, the son of a plumber, would eventually turn his small-town street smarts and his penchant for collecting into an Orlando-based empire of themed luxury hotels. All are stocked with artwork and assorted curiosities foraged from his travels around the world. The 67-year-old Isleworth multimillionaire has been playing for all the marbles for some time now. A devout but unostentatious Lutheran, he acquired hundreds of Martin Luther’s defiant 16th century manuscripts, eventually donating them to Emory University. He also favors Winchester rifles from the 1800s and first-generation Colt firearms, as evidenced by a collection that includes two revolvers once owned ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
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by Old West lawman Pat Garrett, one of which was possibly the gun Garrett used to kill Billy the Kid. He owns, among other things, a canyon, the centerpiece of a 23,000-acre tract on the western slope of the Colorado Rockies. Once a family retreat, the unspoiled wilderness getaway has been transformed into a luxury resort and game-hunting oasis. What Kessler owns most of all are hotels, 10 of them, with three in Central Florida: The Castle on International Drive, the Bohemian in Celebration, and the Grand Bohemian in downtown Orlando. And what he collects most of all is art, hundreds of paintings and sculp-
Richard Kessler ORLANDO LIFE
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tures that are either on exhibit in the hotels or stashed away in storage facilities. “My friends tell me I need to keep building more hotels because I’m running out of room in the warehouses,” Kessler says. He’s only too happy to oblige. Three hotels are on the drawing board for Charleston, Birmingham and Savannah. And he recently oversaw a $6 million upgrade to The Castle, one of his early experiments with themed properties. Kessler got his start in the hotel business in the early 1970s when he was hired by a family acquaintance, Cecil Day, as a personal assistant. “My salary was $9,800 a year,” he says. “We operated out of a room in a Travelodge Motel.” What they were doing there was creating a chain of reasonably priced motels. By 1980, Days Inn of America had more than 300 motels in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Though the chain eventually ran into financial difficulties and was sold, Kessler emerged with the wherewithal to branch out on his own. He knew right where to start. A longtime admirer of Walt Disney, he had once endeavored, on a family vacation to Disney World, to spend the night with his wife, Martha, and their 28
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two children, Mark and Laura, in Cinderella’s Castle. When he was told that guests couldn’t stay at the castle, Kessler decided that one day he’d build one himself. The 214-room International Drive property, crowned with pointy turrets, opened in 1995. It’s the Grand Bohemian, though, that best defines Kessler’s approach. He got the idea for the hotel on a trip to San Francisco, where he encountered the elegant Bohemian Club, founded in the 1870s as a meeting place for artists, musicians and writers. The name itself appealed to him, with its connotation of free thinking and unconventional artistry. Nice, sure. Artsy, fine. But an awfully flimsy concept as traditional hotel themes go. Yet Kessler carried it off by stocking the property from floor to ceiling with an astonishing array of art, most of it from his personal collection. Linger long enough in the plush, 15-story, 225-room Grand Bohemian and it begins to feel less like being in a hotel and more like you’ve been left to wander through an eccentric connoisseur’s mansion. Either that, or an art museum whose curator has a free hand and a whimsical flair. There are spectacular displays that January 2014
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Clockwise from opposite page, bottom: Some of the art at the Grand Bohemianâ€™s first-floor gallery, overseen by director Debbie Roberts, is for sale. The pieces on display in meeting rooms, lounges and lobbies include abstract works by such artists as Elsie Ject-Key; a classic nude by William Russell Walker; a depiction of a bizarre masquerade ball by Susan Contreras; and an engraved metal sculpture of a violin by David Regier.
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Richard Kessler is a collector of artists, not just art: He contracts with favorites such as African wildlife painter Stefano Cecchini to create works for display in the hotel and for sale in the Bohemian’s first-floor gallery. are hard to miss, such as the fifth-floor lobby collection of full-sized oil paintings by Dean Cornwell, a master of dramatic illustrations from an era when magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Harper’s Bazaar were filled with fiction. But there are also breathtaking discoveries to be made in seemingly random locations. At the end of a long hall, for example, is a nightmarish cityscape, reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s vision of hell, painted by renowned French mime Marcel Marceau. A collection of sketches, casually displayed on a dining room wall, happen to be the work of Gustav Klimt, the 19th century Austrian artist whose elegantly erotic renderings of the female form remain extremely popular. Like most collectors, Kessler derives 30
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as much satisfaction in the story of how he found something as he does in having the object itself. He was in Nova Scotia when he discovered the work of a favorite French landscape painter, Jean Claude Roy. He acquired a large collection of extremely valuable portraits by the Chinese artist David Wu Ject-Key in an impromptu deal struck as he was returning a misrepresented Frederic Remington sculpture to a dealer. Though he may be of retirement age, he is still avidly traveling, collecting, building and rebuilding hotels. Last month, he made an appearance at a VIP party at The Castle to celebrate both its renovation and its inclusion as part of the Autograph Collection, a group of high-end independent hotels associated with Marriott International.
Then he headed out the door and out of the country, bound for a high-end hotelier conference in the Cayman Islands. He already has a head start on the decorating theme of his planned Savannah hotel, which Kessler calls the most challenging project he’s ever tackled. The 400-room facility will be built on the site of an old power plant on the Savannah River. The theme, he has already decided, is power itself, to be represented in its most raw and primitive form by a collection of fossils, gems and minerals. He amassed a huge cache of them on a recent visit to the three-day Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the largest such event in the country. He has come a long way from his little red wagon days in Rincon, Ga. The purchases he made were, he says, “all museum quality.” He bought so many of them that they had to be shipped to his warehouse in four 8-by-10-by-40 -foot containers, all of them filled to the brim. n January 2014
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The Art of Attraction O ORLANDO’S TOP RESORTS WORK HARD FOR THE MONEY.
rlando is the country’s No. 1 travel destination, attracting 57 million tourists last year. With that many potential guests up for grabs, the area’s hotels are among the most inventive in the world, turning Central Florida into a high-stakes incubator of novel themes and amenities meant to attract potential guests. Here’s a sampling.
Grand Lakes Orlando, Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Hotels
Hard Rock Hotel ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
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You can’t sink any deeper into the lap of luxury than at Grande Lakes Orlando, home of not one but two high-end hotels. So it’s a bit counterintuitive that one of the selling points of the resort complex is as earthy and back-to-basics as it gets: a farm. Well, not just any farm. It’s in a fairly posh location, curled up alongside the sixth tee of the golf course. And it has a suitably elegant name: Whisper Creek Farm. But it’s a working farm all right, home to neatly laid-out patches of red mustard, Swiss chard, oregano, parsley, sweet potatoes, upland cress, collard greens, French sorrel and pumpkins, all of which are harvested regularly to be included in dishes, beverages and even spa concoctions at both hotels. There’s a citrus orchard as well, along with a few papaya and banana trees, and a set of three beehives. And there’s more to come. “We’re hoping to add a chicken coop and a pigpen,” says JW Marriott executive chef Chris Brown. “And as soon as we get the permits, we’ll be brewing some beer out here, too.” At special events, groups of up to 250 people can dine — either at an outdoor celebration site near the farm or inside the hotel — on farm-to-table fare consisting of scratchmade dishes using ingredients either from the farm or from local producers. A recent feast ORLANDO LIFE
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showcased bananas, kale, berries, potatoes, escarole, oregano, plantains, chimichurri, and a variety of herbs and spices.
Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Both of these Universal Orlando hotels beckon guests with music, but they couldn’t differ more in what kind of music, and how they go about delivering it. Every night at sunset at Portofino Bay — a luxury resort patterned after a famous Italian fishing village — the strains of Puccini, Verdi and classic Italian folk songs ring out from a balcony over the Harbor Piazza, as opera singers serenade guests. The singers also stroll around the tables at Mama Della’s Ristorante most evenings, entertaining diners as they enjoy Old World Italian cuisine. “This is the real deal. It’s not piped in,” says Millicent Barimo, CEO of Penguin Entertainment, which provides the resort with an array of powerhouse tenors, sopranos and mezzo-sopranos. “Every now and then a guest will request some obscure song their Italian grandmother used to sing. And someone on our team knows it.” You don’t have to wait until sunset or gather beneath a balcony to be entertained at the Hard Rock. Nobody ever accused rock ‘n’ roll of subtlety, and it comes at you from every direction. In the swimming pool, underwater speakers pump out rock music. The walls don’t have ears, but nearly every square inch is decorated with rock memorabilia, from Elton John’s rhinestone boots to the outfits that make-believe rockers Derek Smalls and Nigel Tufnel wore in Spinal Tap. The hotel itself is zoned to play different kinds of rock music in various areas and at different times of day, from the Elvis suite to the Velvet bar. There’s even a “Vibe Manager,” 32
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Music and memorabilia permeate the Hard Rock Hotel, from the lobby to the Elvis Presley suite, opposite page, which features a baby grand piano and images of the King with some of his rockabilly peers. The hotel is replete with representations of rock icons, including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and the ever-present Presley. January 2014
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Molly Ford. Her job includes changing the music, like a radio jockey responding to the request line, to appeal to individual guests. Her profession, like any other, has its drawbacks. “It’s hard for me to be anywhere that’s silent,” she says. “I just can’t concentrate.”
Waldorf Astoria Orlando
For sheer hospitality bloodlines, you can’t beat the Waldorf, whose New York City predecessor invented services and dishes that hotel guests and diners take for granted today — from room service to eggs Benedict. The first hotel outside New York to carry the legendary Waldorf Astoria name, Orlando’s 498-room luxury resort has the twin benefits of being on Disney property as well as in the pristine Bonnet Creek nature preserve. It features a full-service European spa; an outdoor, zero-entry pool with private cabanas; six restaurants and bars, including Bull & Bear, Peacock Alley and Oscar’s; a championship golf course; and complimentary private transportation to all Disney parks.
Rosen Shingle Creek
Every evening, opera singers such as Vittorio Vidal and Anne Smith, top, serenade guests from a balcony overlooking the Harbor Piazza at the Portofino Bay Hotel. Accordionist Pasquale Valerio, left, is as authentic as they come: He was born in Napoli, Italy, birthplace of many of that country’s most cherished folk melodies.
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There are two distinguishing qualities in evidence at the Rosen chain’s premiere hotel. First, there’s the sheer size of the place: With 1,500 rooms and nearly a half-million square feet of meeting space, it’s Central Florida’s biggest convention hotel. It’s big, but it also occupies a beautiful and historic setting. The 230-acre property sits at the headwaters of the Everglades, where a 19th century trading post and one of the region’s first settlements once stood. In the early 1800s, pioneers would log cypress trees and float them down the creek. The trees were used to make — you guessed it — shingles. Rosen Shingle Creek features a full-service spa and fitness center, four outdoor swimming pools, more than a dozen restaurants (and a 24-hour deli!), lighted ORLANDO LIFE
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tennis courts, a nature trail and a championship golf course.
Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center
With a 4.5-acre, glass-covered atrium encompassing three distinct Florida environments, Gaylord Palms brings the outdoors inside. The 1,400-room hotel ranks second in the state for total meeting space and first in ice sculptures, with its annual holiday ICE! exhibit. Aside from the world-class atrium, there’s a water park, fitness center, full-service spa and salon, a museum display of a Spanish galleon’s treasure, a video arcade, four restaurants and a sports bar.
Nickelodeon Suites Resort
Billed as the world’s first and only “kid resort,” the self-nicknamed Nick Hotel has 777 suites, every one of which includes a family room with a 32-inch flat-screen TV. Where else can you breakfast with SpongeBob SquarePants and get slimed later that same day? Amenities include two onsite water parks with more than a dozen slides and flumes, a theater with nightly live entertainment, a kid’s spa, a 3,000-square-foot video arcade, a nine-hole miniature golf course and a food court.
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Grand Lakes Marriott executive chef Chris Brown escapes the resort’s kitchen on a regular basis to visit Whisper Creek Farm, where fruits and vegetables that make their way into his recipes are grown.
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Clockwise from top: Santiagoâ€™s assortment of knickknacks and original art gives the restaurant a casual, welcoming ambiance. The Ivanhoe Village hangout features patio seating, a variety of beers on tap and even a newspaper rack. Opposite page: Owner Jason Dugan and General Manager Tanya McMillan run the show.
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rona gindin photographs by rafael tongol
Small Plates, Big Time FRESH TAKE ON TAPAS AT SANTIAGO’S BODEGA.
en years ago, Jason Dugan was ready to transition
from bartender to restaurant owner. Dugan, who’d saved his starter stash while mixing drinks at busy nightspots in Las Vegas and Kansas City, began surfing websites that listed eateries for sale in locations he liked. “I saw a listing for an inexpensive place in Key West,” he recalls. “I called, made an offer and it was accepted.” A decade later, what was once a humble soup-and-sandwich eatery is a thriving tapas restaurant that recently spawned an Orlando offshoot: Santiago’s Bodega in Ivanhoe Village. Dugan, who still owns the Key West restaurant, moved here with his girlfriend and general manager, Tanya McMillan, to be near her family. But they were also attracted by what Dugan describes as Orlando’s transformation from “a town of corporate and structured places” to an edgier, more sophisticated place with “a lot of independent thinking and doing.” The couple quickly discovered that Central Florida customers, unlike their Key West counterparts, didn’t particularly care for super-spicy dishes. Otherwise, however, the recipe for success forged down south has traveled well. Come sundown, the indoor, outdoor and bar seats at Santiago’s fill up quickly with diners of all ages dipping forks into shared plates, pitchers of sangria at the ready. For Dugan, camaraderie is even more important than comestibles. “I want the place to be fun and energetic, as well as very soft, comfortable and sexy,” he says. And so it is, with an interior dominated by masculine mixed woods and enhanced by candles, fresh flowers and original art. Some of the art adorning the walls are the surreal/satirical creations of his friend, shareholder and one-time business partner Robert Henry Thompson. Also on display are colorful, quasi-impressionist paintings by local painter Jennifer Payne. The soft lighting, faux gaslights, friendly service and nurturing foods are paired with background music that’s mellow but eclectic. It’s Dugan’s “personal blend,” ranging from Frank Sinatra to Johnny Cash, from Norah Jones to Jack Johnson. “Each song is different, like the beer in our taps,” ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
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Among the many flavor-packed small plates at Santiago’s are patatas bravas, above, and prosciutto-wrapped figs and country-style ceviche, right. The restaurant has its culinary roots in Key West, but has adapted some dishes for local tastes. Dugan says. “Each creates a different emotion.” But even if Dugan insisted on blaring heavy metal, the food would be just as appealing. The small plates, priced from $7 to $14, are boldly flavored with ingredients from around the world. Yellowfin tuna ceviche, for example, arrives as large chunks of citrus-marinated fish with pine nuts and red onion. “We have fresh mangos, avocados, oven-roasted tomatoes and jalapeños in there,” Dugan says. “This is definitely an unorthodox, country style. I want color in the foods, and flavor. I’m not afraid of spice and I’m not afraid of salt. This isn’t a place for people who are on a diet.” So it won’t surprise you that patatas bravas — pan-fried diced spuds slathered in spicy mayonnaise — is, indeed, a 38
tongue-shocker, with chipotle aioli, capers, olives and a topping of Parmesan cheese. Long a hit in Key West, this dish took a while to find its audience in Orlando. “Guests found it too spicy,” Dugan says. “We had to train the staff to say, ‘These are very, very spicy.’ Now they’re a hit, because people who order them know what they’re getting.” Marinated chicken skewers are popular, Dugan says, because they’re “safe,” while seared beef tenderloin topped with bleu cheese butter is the top seller in both locations. Our advice: Be adventurous. Ask for the dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped with crisped prosciutto. The flavors and textures — salty, sweet and creamy — are complex but delightful. Brussels sprouts feel like a special occasion at Santiago’s. The veggies are oven-roasted with balsamic vinegar, then sautéed in brown butter and served with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. “I didn’t want the same vegetable everyone else had,” Dugan says. “This dish changed so many peoples’ minds about Brussels sprouts because it’s not their mom’s or grandma’s Brussels sprouts.” January 2014
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The mushrooms in puff pastry are also sublime. The dish is a mix of chopped portobellos with fresh thyme, onion and garlic, deglazed with white wine, mixed with crème fraîche, lemon juice and Parmesan, then wrapped in puff pastry and baked. Béarnaise sauce topping further tantalizes the taste buds. The spicy lentil soup may be vegan, but carnivores love it, too. The broth, with curry and jalapeño, onions and cilantro, Portobello and button mushrooms and potatoes for starchiness, is so deeply flavored that you’d think it had beef base. Dessert standouts include a boozy bread pudding and a fruity flourless chocolate cake. Indeed, the flavor punch permeates every element of the menu. Well, almost everything. The avocado and pear atop mixed greens with Parmesan dressing is the only item we sampled that seemed surprisingly flavorless. At both of Dugan’s restaurants, every cook and chef are equal, and all are invited to make suggestions and to create their own daily specials. “Chefs are kind of prima donnas who like to create new things,” Dugan says. “We’re working our way toward 10 specials a night.” So if you stop by to see Jason and Tanya, order from the ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
No matter how much you think you hate Brussels sprouts, you’re sure to change your mind after trying Santiago’s oven-roasted version, which is served with toasted pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. written menu for sure bets, try the specials for inspired extras — and save the surprises for the soundtrack. ■
WHERE: 802 Virginia Dr., Orlando HOW MUCH: $$ WHERE TO CALL: 407-412-6979 santiagosbodega.com
Rona Gindin, dining editor of Orlando Life, has written about Orlando’s restaurants for Fodor’s and Zagat, among many other publications. She’s the author of The Little Black Book of Walt Disney World. ORLANDO LIFE
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AFRICAN Nile Ethiopian
7048 International Drive, Orlando, 407354-0026 / nile07.com. Locals willingly navigate International Drive to dine at Nile, a family-owned restaurant specializing in the exotic cuisine of Ethiopia. Order a few dishes to share and scoop up the intriguing concoctions with the eatery’s signature spongy bread. End with a strong cup of aromatic, brewed-to-order coffee. $$
Sanaa 3701 Osceola Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, 407938-7400 / disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/sanaa. Sanaa, one of Disney’s most interesting restaurants, offers dishes based on cuisine from the Spice Islands, a coastal African area rich with Indian influences. Flavors are intense, but spicy only upon request. (Curry, the chefs insist, is a melding of flavors, not one particular spice.) The marketplace-style dining room boasts picture windows overlooking the Animal Kingdom Lodge’s savannah, so you might spot zebra or wildebeest while lunching on tandoori chicken or a vegetarian platter with stewed lentils and a vegetable sambar (stew). $$
AMERICAN Cask & Larder
565 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, 321-280-4200 / caskandlarder.com. Billing itself as a “Southern Public House,” this casual Winter Park eatery serves up modern twists on traditional favorites. Look for a three-ham platter with pepper jelly; pimento cheese; and seasonal favorites such as grilled pork belly and chicken-and-biscuits. Many beers are made on the premises. $$
Chatham’s Place 7575 Dr. Phillips Blvd., Orlando,
407- 345-2992 / chathamsplace.com. For an old-fashioned dining experience — a subdued dining room and doting personalized service by a longtime staff — dine at this hidden Restaurant Row establishment. Locals return regularly for Chef Tony Lopez’s classic dishes such as black grouper with pecan butter, rack of lamb and filet mignon. $$$
Citrus 821 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, 407-373-0622 /
citrusorlando.com. A clubby yet stylish restaurant in a convenient downtown Orlando location, Citrus features modern American cuisine with a nod toward regionally grown and produced ingredients. International influences also highlight the menu, from smoked chili aioli complementing herbmarinated chicken to balsamic rum glaze topping juicy pork chops. $$$
Dexter’s 808 E. Washington St., Orlando, 407-648-2777;
558 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 407-629-1150; 950 Market Promenade Ave., Lake Mary, 407-805-3090 / dexwine. com. Central Florida has three Dexter’s locations, and each has become a neighborhood magnet, drawing diners of all ages for hearty portions of creative American fare (at fair prices), good wine and, in some cases, live music. Casual dress is the rule. The brunches, and the pressed duck sandwiches, are especially popular. $$-$$$
Emeril’s Orlando 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando,
407-224-2424 / emerils.com. Get a taste of New Orleans at Emeril’s, a fine-dining restaurant at always-bustling Universal CityWalk. You’ll find classics from celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse, including the signature barbecue shrimp, andouille-stuffed redfish, double-cut pork chops and banana cream pie. The service, of course, is superb. Consider sharing appetizers at the bar area. $$$$
Hillstone 215 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-7404005 / hillstone.com/hillstone. Formerly known as Houston’s, this Winter Park mainstay is part of a high-end chain. Still, it grows its own herbs, bakes its own bread, grinds its own meat, cuts its own fish and whips its own cream. In nice weather, guests relax with a cocktail in Adirondack chairs overlooking Lake Killarney. Many proposals have been popped during dinners for two on the boat dock. $$$
Rusty Spoon 55 W. Church St., Orlando, 407-4018811 / therustyspoon.com. Foodies flock to this Church Street gastropub, a warm and welcoming space in which meals are described as “American food. European roots. Locally sourced.” Your salad will consist of über-fresh greens, your sandwich will be filled with slow-braised lamb, your pasta will be hand-rolled and your meat will be robustly seasoned. $$-$$$
Seasons 52 7700 Sand Lake Road, Orlando, 407-
354-5212; 463 E. Altamonte Drive, Altamonte Springs, 407-767-1252 / seasons52.com. Business dinners, ladies’ luncheons and date nights abound at these ever-popular restaurants, big bustling spaces with satisfying food and comprehensive wine lists. It seems incidental that the food happens to be healthful and low in fat, with no menu item topping 475 calories. So if you want that clam chowder, go for it. It will be cleverly produced without cream, butter or roux. $$-$$$
The Table Orlando 8060 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407-900-3463 / thetableorlando.com. For special occasions, book a place at The Table, a tiny restaurant that serves a five-course gourmet meal with wine pairings. Up to 22 guests at a time share the repast around an oversized table. The New American menu changes regularly and is comprised in large part of locally sourced foods. The price is a set $100 including tax and tip. Groups can host private events here. $$$$ TooJay’s Various locations / toojays.com. When it’s time
for a taste of Jewish Brooklyn — pastrami on rye, latkes, blintzes, knishes — the six local outlets of this South Florida-based chain have it all. You’ll also find diner foods such as omelets, sandwiches and pot-roast dinners. Take home some black-and-white cookies. $
ASIAN Hawkers Street Fare
1103 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, 407-237-0606 / facebook.com/hawkersstreetfare. This Mills 50 mainstay, named for street vendors of Asian fare, serves up generous tapas-size portions of curry laksa (an aromatic Singaporean soup), roti canai (Malaysian flatbread with a hearty curry sauce), five-spice tofu, chilled sesame noodles, smoky mussels and sensational beef skewers with peanuty satay dip. $$
Seoul Garden 511 E. Horatio Ave., Maitland, 407599-5199 / orlandokorearestaurant.com. Seoul Garden is so Asian-focused that the “about us” section of its website is written in Korean. That authenticity extends to the food. Barbecued meats are grilled to order in the dining room. Be sure to try the marinated beef short ribs and the soft tofu stew. $
Sushi Pop 310 W. Mitchell Hammock Road, Oviedo, 407-542-5975 / sushipoprestaurant.com. Oviedo is an unlikely location for this cutting-edge restaurant, a popular spot for sushi. The food is serious and often experimental, as chef-owner Chau uses molecular gastronomy to create some of the fusion fare. The aura is fun: Asian anime on the walls, playful colors, and servers who dress in outrageous themed outfits. $$
4 Rivers Smokehouse 1600 W. Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park; 1869 W. S.R. 434, Longwood; 1047 S. Dillard St., Winter Garden / 407-474-8377, 4rsmokehouse.com. A diverse array of barbecue specialties — from Texas-style brisket to pulled pork, smoked turkey and bacon-wrapped jalapeños — has gained this rapidly growing homegrown concept a large following. The newer outposts even include a bakery and an old-fashioned malt shop featuring homemade ice cream. $
CONTINENTAL Venetian Room
8101 World Center Drive, Orlando, 407-238-8060 / thevenetianroom.com. Walk though a run-of-the-mill convention hotel to reach the AAA FourDiamond Venetian Room, an elegant, domed-service, continental restaurant that hearkens to the heyday of unapologetic, butter-and-cream-enhanced fine dining. The
$ Inexpensive, most entrées under $10 $$ Moderate, most entrées $10-20 $$$ Pricey, most entrées over $20 $$$$ Very expensive, most entrées over $30 indicates the restaurant is a Silver Spoon winner (Judges’ Choice).
lobster bisque is an absolute must. After that, try the filet mignon, duck a l’orange or Dover sole. $$$$
CREATIVE/ PROGRESSIVE Chef’s Table at the Edgewater Hotel
99 W. Plant St., Winter Garden, 407-230-4837 / chefstableattheedgewater.com. Husband-and-wife team Kevin and Laurie Tarter are your personal servers at this intimate Winter Garden hideaway, where Kevin prepares the evening’s three-course, prix-fixe meal and Laurie helps choose the wine. Both stop by every table to chat with guests. Adjacent, the Tasting Room offers tapas-size portions of international dishes and a full bar. $$$
K Restaurant 1710 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, 407872-2332 / krestaurant.net. Kevin Fonzo, the go-to chef in College Park since 2001, owns this homey eatery, which is, in fact, located in an erstwhile residence. The menu is mostly creative-American, along with Italian favorites celebrating Fonzo’s heritage. Casual wine tastings and themed special dinners, along with a constantly changing menu, bring back regulars for singular experiences. $$-$$$
Luma on Park 290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407599-4111 / lumaonpark.com. If there’s pancetta in your salad, the salumi was made in the kitchen, by hand, starting with a whole pig. Most herbs are from local farms, fish from sustainable sources, pickled vegetables jarred in house and desserts built around seasonal ingredients. Luma’s progressive menu, which changes daily, is served in a sleek and stylish dining room in the heart of Winter Park, under the passionate direction of Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery, Chef de Cuisine Derek Perez and Pastry Chef Brian Cernell. $$$
Norman’s 4012 Central Florida Parkway, Orlando, 407-393-4333 / normans.com. Celebrity Chef Norman Van Aken’s restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton, Grande Lakes, turns out artistic New World cuisine combining the flavors of Latin America, the Caribbean, the Far East and the United States. The dining room is dramatic, the food astounding and the service polished. Be sure to begin with a Norman’s classic: foie gras “French toast.” And you’ll be delighted with the Mongolian veal chop. $$$$
Ravenous Pig 1234 N. Orange Ave., Winter Park, 407-628-2333 / theravenouspig.com. After leaving their hometown for serious culinary training, Winter Park natives James and Julie Petrakis returned to open the region’s first genuine gastropub. Dinner reservations have been tough to snag ever since. The ambitious menu changes daily based on the fish, meat and produce that’s available, and it’s executed by a dedicated team that abhors shortcuts. Besides daily specials, The Pig always serves up an excellent burger, soft pretzels, shrimp and grits, and a donut dessert called Pig Tails. $$$
Victoria & Albert’s 4401 Floridian Way, Lake Buena Vista, 407-939-3862 / victoria-alberts.com. Indulgent, multicourse prix-fixe feasts are served in the serenely elegant main dining room, accompanied by live harp music, while yet more courses are offered in the more intimate Queen Victoria’s Room and the private Chef’s Table. Chef Scott Hunnel, Maitre d’ Israel Pérez and Master Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek travel the world to seek out impressive food and service trends, then adapt the golden ones locally. That’s why V&A, at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, is Orlando’s only AAA Five Diamond restaurant. $$$$
5748 International Dr., Orlando, 407-370-9830 / aashirwadrestaurant.com. Begin with kashmiri naan, a slightly sweet bread stuffed with nuts, coconut and raisins, and continue with chicken biryani, cauliflower in exotic Manchurian gravy and a mixed tandoori grill. Whole spices are roasted and ground daily on site, further enhancing the cuisine’s authenticity. $$
Memories of India 7625 Turkey Lake Road, Orlando,
407-370-3277; 3895 Lake Emma Road, Lake Mary, 407-8040920 / memoriesofindiacuisine.com. Exceptionally good Indian fare draws diners in Dr. Phillips and Lake Mary to these twin restaurants, where dishes such as palek paneer (creamed spinach) and lamb masala in rich ginger-garlic gravy always satisfy. $$
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Raga 7559 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando, 407-985-2900 /
ragarestaurant.com. From its stylish décor to its inspired, somewhat global menu, Raga is a step above most local Indian restaurants. $$-$$$
611 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, 407-645-5523; 691 Front St., Celebration, 407-566-2233 / antoniosonline. com. Fine Italian fare comes in three price ranges at Antonio’s, proprietor Greg Gentile’s trio of culinary homages to his ancestors. In Maitland, the upstairs Ristorante is somewhat formal, although the open kitchen provides peeks of the chefs in action. Its downstairs counterpart, Antonio’s Market & Café, is a more casual spot that doubles as a market and wine shop. And in Celebration, the casual, lake-view Cafe d’Antonio hits that center sweet spot. $$-$$$
Enzo’s on the Lake 1130 U.S. 17-92, Longwood, 407834-9872 / enzos.com. Long before Orlando became a serious foodie town, Enzo’s was serving up lovingly prepared Italian specialties inside a converted Longwood home. Little has changed. Split a bunch of antipasto to begin your meal. After that, you pretty much can’t go wrong, but standout dishes include homemade ravioli stuffed with chicken and spinach, veal with artichoke-caper-white wine sauce and possibly the best spaghetti carbonara in town. $$$
Peperoncino 7988 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407-440-2856 / peperoncinocucina.com. The menu changes every night at this cozy Dr. Phillips Italian, where chef-owner Barbara Alfano puts out plates of fried pecorino drizzled with honey, pear and four-cheese pasta, and fish steamed in parchment paper. $$$
Prato 124 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-262-0050 / prato-wp.com. This is one of Orlando’s very best Italian restaurants, but don’t expect a classic lasagna or chicken parmigiana. Executive Chef Brandon McGlamery and Chef di Cucina Matthew Cargo oversee an open kitchen in which pastas are made from scratch, pizzas are rolled to order, sausages are stuffed by hand and the olive oil is a luscious organic pour from Italy. Try the chicken liver Toscana, a satisfying salad Campagna with cubes of sizzling pancetta tesa, shrimp tortellini and citrusy rabbit cacciatore. Begin with a Negroni cocktail; it’s possibly the best around. $$-$$$
Rocco’s Grille & Bar 400 S. Orlando Ave., Winter Park,
407-644-7770 / roccositaliangrille.com. Calabria native Rocco Potami oversees this romantic Italian eatery, where fine authentic fare is presented in an intimate dining room and on a secluded brick patio. Classics include carpaccio (raw, thinly sliced beef with white truffle oil and arugula), ricotta gnocchi and a breaded veal chop topped with a lightly dressed salad. It’s easy to miss, tucked away in a Winter Park strip center, but once you find it, you’ll be back. $$$
LATIN Mi Tomatina
433 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, 321-972-4881 / mitomatina.com. This eatery bills itself as a paella bar, and indeed guests share a half-dozen varieties of the signature Spanish rice dish. Yet others come for a mellow meal over tapas (garlic shrimp, potato omelet, croquettes) and sangria, enjoyed while seated within a small contemporary dining room or outdoors overlooking Hannibal Square. $$-$$$
108 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-6448609; 7600 Dr. Phillips Blvd., 407-352-6766 / bosphorousrestaurant.com. This is the place for flavorful Turkish fare in either a white-tablecloth setting or alfresco along Park Avenue or Dr. Phillips Boulevard. Many couples fill up on the appetizer sampler with oversized lavash bread. For a heartier meal, try the ground lamb “Turkish pastry,” a shish kebab or a tender lamb shank. Outdoor diners can end their meals by smoking from a hookah. Or not. $$
MEXICAN/ SOUTHWESTERN Cantina Laredo
8000 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407345-0186 / cantinalaredo.com. Modern Mexican cuisine in a spiffy setting draws lovers of cilantro, jalapeño and pico de gallo to this Restaurant Row eatery, where the margaritas flow, the guacamole is made tableside and the portions are generous. The spinach enchilada is a vegetarian-friendly treat. $$
Cocina 214 151 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park, 407790-7997 / cocina214.com. Tex-Mex food is top quality here (214 is the Dallas area code), with salsa, savories and even margarita flavorings made from scratch. The spinach-mushroom quesadilla and tacos are especially noteworthy. $$
SEAFOOD Flying Fish Café
2101 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, 407-939-2359 / disneyworld.com. Creative seafood — and some great steak — are on the menu at this upbeat restaurant in the Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. It is themed after Eastern Seaboard summer spots of yore. For a special
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experience, enjoy a five-course Chef’s Tasting Wine Dinner while seated at the food bar. $$$$
Ocean Prime 7339 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando, 407-7814880 / ocean-prime.com. Designed to evoke the ambience of an old-time supper club, Ocean Prime’s white-jacketed servers offer sensational steaks and fish dishes along with creative options such as sautéed shrimp in a spectacular Tabasco-cream sauce, crab cakes with sweet corn cream and ginger salmon. End with the chocolate peanut butter pie. $$$$
Todd English’s bluezoo 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, 407-934-1111 / thebluezoo.com. Creatively prepared seafood is served in an over-the-top undersea setting at this fine-dining restaurant, located in Disney’s Swan and Dolphin hotel. The fashion-forward choices might be a miso-glazed Hawaiian sea bass or fried lobster in a soy glaze. The desserts are among the best in town. $$$$
STEAK Bull & Bear
14200 Bonnet Creek Resort Lane, Orlando, 407-597-5500 / bullandbearorlando.com. Orlando’s Bull & Bear looks similar to New York’s legendary steakhouse (except for the pool and golf course views), but ours has its own ambitious menu. Guests of the Waldorf Astoria’s finedining spot can feast on traditional items such as veal Oscar and prime steak that’s dry aged for 21 days, and intriguing ones like appetizers of gnocchi and escargot with crescents of black garlic, and shrimp and grits presented under a dome that, when removed, introduces a waft of aromatic smoke. The chocolate and lemon desserts are superb. $$$$
Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster 729 Lee Road, Orlando, 407-645-4443 / christnersprimesteakandlobster.com. Locals have been choosing this prototypically
masculine, dark-wood-and-red-leather enclave for business dinners and family celebrations for more than a decade. Family-owned since 1993 yet under the Del Frisco’s banner until mid-2013, Christner’s features USDA Prime, corn-fed Midwestern beef or Australian cold-water lobster tails with a slice of the restaurant’s legendary mandarin orange cake. And there’s a loooong wine list (6,500 bottles). On select nights, Kostya Kimlat hosts magic shows along with a prixfixe menu in a private dining room. $$$$
Fleming’s 8030 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando, 407-352-5706;
933 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-699-9463 / flemingssteakhouse.com. Fleming’s puts a younger spin on the stately steakhouse concept, featuring sleek décor and 100 wines by the glass along with its prime steaks and chops. The tempura lobster “small plate” with soy-ginger dipping sauce is a worthy pre-entrée splurge. For a taste of the oldfashioned, visit on Sunday, when prime rib is served. $$$$
Linda’s La Cantina 4721 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando, 407894-4491 / lindaslacantina.com. An Orlando icon, this stylefree, windowless restaurant is always packed, and that’s because it serves top-quality steak dinners at wallet-friendly prices. Namesake Linda’s daughters Karen Hart, Debra Tassoni and Lori Coley run the establishment today. $$-$$$ Nelore Churrascaria 115 E. Lyman Ave., Winter Park,
407-645-1112 / neloresteakhouse.com. This is one of two Nelore Brazilian all-you-can-eat steakhouses — the other one is in Houston — where the servers, or “gauchos,” come to your table as often as you’d like bearing skewers of premier beef, chicken or pork. There’s a world-class salad bar and Brazilian cheese bread to keep you happy between meat courses. $$$$
Ruth’s Chris 7501 W. Sand Lake Road, Orlando,
407-226-3900; 610 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 407-6222444; 80 Colonial Center Parkway, Lake Mary, 407-804-
8220 / ruthschris.com. With three stately steakhouses and corporate headquarters by Winter Park Village, Ruth’s Chris, a native of New Orleans, has become an Orlando specialoccasion mainstay. Its service-oriented restaurants specialize in massive corn-fed Midwestern steaks served sizzling and topped with butter. $$$$
Shula’s 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Orlando, 407-934-1362;
2974 International Parkway, Lake Mary, 407-531-3567 / donshula.com. Coach Don Shula, who led the Miami Dolphins through a perfect season in 1972, is now in the restaurant business. One of his Orlando outposts, located in Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin resort, is a dark, tastefully sports-themed steakhouse where the menu is painted on a football. Offerings include Premium Black Angus beef as well as barbecue shrimp, wedge salad and crab cakes. Up in Lake Mary, Shula’s 347 Grill is more of a sports bar with ambitious food. $$-$$$$
VEGETARIAN Café 118
153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-389-2233 / cafe118.com. Raw foods — none cooked past 118 degrees — are the focus of this crisp Winter Park café, attracting raw foodists, vegans and vegetarians. The spinach and beet ravioli stuffed with cashew ricotta is an impressive imitation of the Italian staple. Thirsty Park Avenue shoppers might stop by for a healthful smoothie. $$
Ethos Vegan Kitchen 601 S. New York Ave., Winter
Park, 407-228-3898 / ethosvegankitchen.com. Ethos is a vegan restaurant with a menu that also satisfies open-minded carnivores. Fuel up on pecan-crusted eggplant with red wine sauce and mashed potatoes or a meat-free shepherd’s pie, if salads, sandwiches and coconut-curry tofu wraps won’t do the trick. $-$$
Don’t miss a golden opportunity for romance. 2013 Golden Spoon Award Winner “Orlando’s Most Romantic Restaurant” - Orlando Magazine’s 2013 Dining Awards
12/13/13 2:46:44 PM
Learning Experience Parents need to do their homework when SELECting a school for their kids.
By Harry Wessel
early nine out of 10 parents send their children
to public schools, with their school choice all but made for them based on where they live. Their kids go to the school for which they are zoned. Pretty simple. But it’s not so simple for parents who want their children in a private school. While proximity is a consideration, it’s only one of many factors to consider. How big is the school? How religious (or not) is the school? How much emphasis does the school place on academics, athletics, the arts, community involvement? And, perhaps most important of all: Does the school provide a quality education in a nurturing environment? “The goal of choosing a [private] school,” says Janet Stroup, head of school at Sweetwater Episcopal Academy, “is to match your children’s ability, interests and needs with the most appropriate educational setting.” That’s easier said than done, acknowledges Stroup, whose independent private school in Longwood serves pre-kindergarteners through fifth graders. “First, start with a tour of the campus,” she advises. “Talk to students and teachers, not just the head of admissions. Ask them, ‘What do you like about your school?’” High on parents’ list of concerns, says Stroup, is their chilWWW.ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
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dren’s safety, “both physical and emotional.” School visits can give a sense of how students relate to each other, she says, while giving prospective parents the chance to ask about school policies on bullying. Cory Ostrowski, director of admissions at Lake Mary Preparatory School, agrees school visits are critical. She recommends that prospective parents make at least two separate school visits before making a final decision, starting with a weekend open house and following up with another visit when school is in session. Then again, even multiple school visits won’t tell the whole story. As Stroup puts it, “It’s like trying on a pair of shoes. They feel good in the store, but maybe not when you’re dancing all night.” For example, it’s important to check on a school’s accreditation, which assures it has been vetted by independent professionals. Accreditation is particularly important in Florida — a state that neither regulates nor licenses private schools — and most colleges will accept students only from accredited schools. If a regional accreditation is not specified, the school must be approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and ORLANDO LIFE
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EDUCATION ALPHABET SOUP
Following are the listed accrediting organizations used by private schools in Florida and elsewhere. For more information about each organization and its criteria, visit their websites:
FAANS: Florida Association of Academic Nonpublic Schools (faans.org)
MSA-CES: Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (msa-ces.org)
FACCS: Florida Association of Christian Colleges & Schools (faccs.org)
NAD/SDA: Seventh-day Adventist North American Division Commission on Accreditation (nadadventist.org)
FCCAP: Florida Catholic Conference Accreditation Program (eas-ed.org)
ACSI: Association of Christian Schools International (acsi.org)
FCCPSA: Florida Coalition of Christian Private Schools Association (fccpsa.org)
ACTS: Association of Christian Teachers and Schools (actsschools.org)
FCIS: Florida Council of Independent Schools (fcis. org)
AI: Accreditation International (aiaccredits.org)
FCSDA: Florida Conference of Seventh Day Adventists (floridaconference.com)
AISF: Association of Independent Schools of Florida (aisfl.org) AMS: American Montessori Society (amshq.org)
FKC: Florida Kindergarten Council (fkconline.org)
CAPE: Council for American Private Education (capenet.org)
FLAGS: Florida League of Assembly of God Schools (flags.org)
CASI: Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (ncacasi.org)
FLOCS: Florida League of Christian Schools (flocs. org)
CITA: Commission on International and TransRegional Accreditation (citaschools.org) CSF: Christian Schools of Florida (christianschoolsfl. org) ECFA: Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability
FISA: Florida Independent School Association (no website)
GOLD SEAL: Gold Seal Quality Care Program (dcf. state.fl.us/programs/childcare) IBO: International Baccalaureate Organization (ibo. org) ICAA: International Christian Accrediting Association (icaa.us)
NAIS: National Association of Independent Schools (nais.org) NCPSA: National Council for Private School Accreditation (ncpsa.org) NCSA: National Christian School Association (nationalchristian.org) NIPSA: National Independent Private Schools Association (nipsa.org) NLSA: National Lutheran Schools Accreditation (lcms.org) NPSAA: National Private Schools Association Accreditation (npsag.org) SACS: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (sacs.org) SAIS: Southern Association of Independent Schools (sais.org) SBACS: Southern Baptist Association of Christian Schools (sbacs.org) SUC: Southern Union Conference (southernunion. com)
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Make your first choice the B.E.S.T. choice. Schedule Your Personal Tour 407.206.8602 s email@example.com At The First Academy, we partner with you in making your child’s education the very best it can be by combining a first class education with a core set of Christian values: Bolstering spirituality, Excellence in teaching and learning, developing Servant leaders, and Telling the story of Christ. The First Academy – the best choice for your child’s education. A Christ-Centered K4 – Grade 12 College Preparatory School | 2667 Bruton Blvd.,Orlando, FL 32805 | 407.206.8602 | thefirstacademy.org The First Academy does not discriminate on the basis of color, race, gender or ethnic origin.
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Schools (SACS), which is the accrediting body for all schools and universities in 11 southeastern states. SACS, one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, evaluates academic programs, extracurricular activities, staff qualifications and financial stability, among other factors. Including SACS, there are just 13 accrediting organizations officially recognized by the Florida Association of Academic and Nonpublic Schools (FAANS), including the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS), which represents more than 70,000 students in 158 member schools. FCIS, which evaluates both secular and faith-based private schools, uses criteria similar to SACS. Meanwhile, faith-based schools have a number of accrediting organizations recognized by FAANS, including the Florida Association of Christian Colleges & Schools (FACCS) and the Florida Catholic Conference (FCCAP). Beyond certifications, school size is often a major determining factor. At Pine Castle Christian Academy in Orlando, a Pre-K through 12th grade school with just 200 students, “there’s a sense of community, where everybody knows everybody,” says Principal Brenda Oliver. She views her school’s small size as a big plus, where students can participate in activities such as drama, band, choir and athletics — opportunities they might not get in a larger school. But whether it’s a big or small school, academics should be uppermost, says Oliver noting that parents of prospective students often ask what percentage of the school’s graduates attend college, and more specifically, in which colleges they have been accepted.
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Another academic yardstick parents can use to judge a private school, Oliver adds, is how its students fare on standardized tests. While private schools don’t use the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test, better known as the FCAT, most rely on some kind of standardized measure, such as the Stanford Achievement Test or the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. Class size is also a critical measure, says Craig Maughan, headmaster of Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park. Even the larger private high schools often keep their class sizes under 20 students, he notes. That means students get more individual attention, particularly when it comes to writing skills. Having smaller class sizes is as much a benefit at Park Maitland School, which has students from pre-kindergarten to sixth grade, as it is at Trinity Prep, which covers grades 6-12. “Everybody has a strong suit, and small classes are important,” says Mary Margaret Bowen, Park Maitland’s vice president. “Children can feel good about themselves if they’re great in math, or in music or in phys ed. Teachers teach to their strengths.” The overall size of a school matters, too, and Maughan points out that by this measure private schools offer much more choice than public schools. While most public high schools in Central Florida have at least 2,000 students, the region’s private and parochial high school student bodies range in size from as large as 1,100 to as small as 50. For more in-depth information and advice, go to the website of the National Association of Independent Schools, nais.org, and click on “Parents” at the top of the page. n
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Student Teacher Ratio
Faith Lutheran School 2727 S. Grove St., Eustis, FL 32726
352-589-5683 faitheustis. org
First Academy Leesburg 219 N. 13th St., Leesburg, FL 34748
Gateway Christian School 2705 Robie Ave., Mount Dora, FL 32757
352-383-9920 antbmu. adventistschoolconnect.org
FAANS, FCSDA, SUC
Lake Montessori & Learning Institute 415 N. Lee St., Leesburg, FL 34748
Liberty Christian Academy 2451 Dora Ave., Tavares, FL 32778
Montverde Academy 17325 Seventh St., Montverde, FL 34756
407-469-2561 montverde. org
FCIS, FKC, SACS, SAIS
Real Life Christian Academy 1501 Steve’s Road, Clermont, FL 34711
352-394-5575 rlcacademy. com
St. Paul’s Catholic School 1320 Sunshine Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748
Azalea Park Baptist 5725 Dahlia Drive, Orlando, FL 32807
16::1 / 20::1
Bishop Moore Catholic High School 3901 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804
Central Florida Christian Academy 700 Good Homes Road, Orlando, FL 32818
407-850-2322 cfcaeagles. org
Central Florida Preparatory School 1450 Citrus Oaks Ave., Gotha, FL 34734
ASIF, GOLD SEAL, NCPSA, SACS
Christian Victory Academy 4606 Lake Margaret Drive, Orlando, FL 32812
Faith Christian Academy 9307 Curry Ford Road, Orlando, FL 32825
Family Christian School 671 Beulah Road, Winter Garden, FL 34787
16::1 / 18::1
Forest Lake Academy 500 Education Loop, Apopka, FL 32703
AISF, FAANS, NCPSA
Foundation Academy, South Campus: 15304 Tilden Road, Winter Garden, FL 34787
South Campus: 407-8772744 North Campus:
Good Shepherd Catholic
5902 Oleander Drive, Orlando, FL 32807 Hampden Dubose Academy
Number of Students
Christian Home & Bible School 301 W. 13th Ave., Mount Dora, FL 32757
3700 Dohnavur Drive, Zellwood, FL 32798
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*Annual tuition for grades K-12; does not include pre-K.
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Student Teacher Ratio
Number of Students
Holy Family Catholic School 5129 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando, FL 32819
407-876-9344 hfcschool. com
12::1 / 35::1
Jewish Academy of Orlando 851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland, FL 32751
Kingsway Christian Academy 4161 N. Powers Drive, Orlando, FL 32818
20::1 / 22::1
Lake Highland Preparatory School 901 N. Highland Ave., Orlando, FL 32803
FCIS, FKC, NAIS, SACS
New School Preparatory 130 E. Marks St., Orlando, FL 32803
Orangewood Christian School 1300 W. Maitland Blvd., Maitland, FL 32751
CSF, NCPSA, SACS
Orlando Christian Prep 500 S. Semoran Blvd., Orlando, FL 32807
407-823-9744 orlandochris- Yes tianprep.org
20::1 / 25::1
Orlando Junior Academy 30 E. Evans St., Orlando, FL 32804
407-894-6213 discoveroja. com
Park Maitland School 1450 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland, FL 32751
10::1 / 15::1
Pathways School 1877 W. Oak Ridge Road, Orlando, FL 32809
Pine Castle Christian Academy 7101 Lake Ellenor Drive, Orlando, FL 32809
407-313-7222 pccaeagles. org
12::1 / 20::1
4::1 / 8::1
St. Andrew Catholic School 877 N. Hastings St., Orlando, FL 32808
St. Charles Borromeo School 4005 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804
407-293-7691 x249 stcharles-orlando.org
St. James Cathedral School 505 E. Ridgewood St., Orlando, FL 32803
St. John Vianney Catholic School 6200 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32809
The Christ School 106 E. Church St., Orlando, FL 32801
The Crenshaw School 2342 Hempel Ave., Gotha, FL 34734
AISF, CASI, NCPSA, SACS
The First Academy 2667 Bruton Blvd., Orlando, FL 32805
18::1 / 22::1
ACSI, FCIS, FKC, SACS
The Parke House Academy 1776 Minnesota Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789
Trinity Christian School 1022 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL 32703
407-886-0212 tcsapopka. org
ACSI, SACS, SBACS
East Campus: 1561 S. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32828 West Campus: 7605 Conroy Windermere Road, Orlando, FL 32835
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*Annual tuition for grades K-12; does not include pre-K.
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Trinity Preparatory School 5700 Trinity Prep Lane, Winter Park, FL 32792
407-671-4140 trinityprep. org
West Orange Montessori 227 S. Main St., Winter Garden, FL 34787
Pre-K & K
Windermere Preparatory School 6189 Winter Garden-Vineland Road, Windermere, FL 34786
City of Life Christian Academy 2874 E. Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy., Kissimmee, FL 34744
12::1 / 25::1
CASI, ICAA, SACS
First United Methodist School 122 W. Sproule Ave., Kissimmee, FL 34741
Heritage Christian School 1500 E. Vine St., Kissimmee, FL 34744
24::1 / 26::1
Holy Redeemer Catholic School 1800 W. Columbia Ave., Kissimmee, FL 34741
407-870-9055 hrcschool. com
Life Christian Academy 2269 Partin Settlement Road, Kissimmee, FL 34744
AdvancEd, FLOCS, SACS
North Kissimmee Christian School 425 W. Donegan Ave., Kissimmee, FL 34741
407-847-2877 nkcs.weebly. com
Saint Thomas Aquinas Catholic School 800 Brown Chapel Road, St. Cloud, FL 34769
407-957-1772 stacschool. com
Southland Christian School 2440 Fortune Road, Kissimmee, FL 34744
407-201-7999 scs2440.com Yes
Trinity Lutheran School 3016 W. Vine St., Kissimmee, FL 34741
All Souls Catholic School 810 S. Oak Ave., Sanford FL 32771
Altamonte Christian School 601 Palm Springs Drive, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Annunciation Catholic Academy 593 Jamestown Blvd., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
Center Academy 341 N. Orlando Ave., Maitland, FL 32751
Champion Preparatory School 1935 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Apopka, FL 32703
Forest City Adventist School 1238 Bunnell Road, Altamonte Springs, FL 32714
407-299-0703 fcsdaschool. com
Holy Cross Lutheran Academy 5450 Holy Cross Court, Sanford, FL 32771
AISF, NCPSA, SACS
Student Teacher Ratio
Trinity Lutheran School 123 E. Livingston St., Orlando, FL 32801
Number of Students
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*Annual tuition for grades K-12; does not include pre-K.
12/13/13 3:16:01 PM
AISF, MSA-CES, NCPSA
Lake Mary Montessori Academy 3551 W. Lake Mary Blvd., Lake Mary, FL 32746
AMS, CITA, SACS
Lake Mary Preparatory School 650 Rantoul Lane, Lake Mary, FL 32746
Liberty Christian School 2626 S. Palmetto Ave., Sanford, FL 32773
Markham Woods Christian Academy 1675 Dixon Road, Longwood, FL 32779
ACTS, FLOCS, NCPSA, SACS
Pace Brantley Hall School 3221 Sand Lake Road, Longwood, FL 32779
Page Private School 100 Aero Lane, Sanford, FL 32771
407-324-1144 pageschool. com
AI, AISF, GOLD SEAL, MSCES, NCPSA, SACS
St. Lukes Lutheran School 2025 W. S.R. 426, Oviedo, FL 32765
AdvancEd, NLSA, SACS
St. Mary Magdelen Catholic School 869 Maitland Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
407-830-6245 smmschool. org
Sweetwater Episcopal Academy 251 E. Lake Brantley Drive, Longwood, FL 32779
The Geneva School 2025 S.R. 436, Winter Park, FL 32792
The Masterâ€™s Academy 1500 Lukas Lane, Oviedo, FL 32765
ACSI, ECFA, SACS
Tuskawilla Montessori Academy 1625 Montessori Point, Oviedo, FL 32765
407-678-3879 tuskmont. org
AISF, AMS, NCPSA, SACS
Lighthouse Christian Preparatory Academy 126 S. Ridgewood Ave., DeLand, FL 32720
St. Barbabas Episcopal School 322 W. Michigan Ave., DeLand, FL 32720
St. Peter Catholic School 421 W. New York Ave., DeLand, FL 32720
Trinity Christian Academy 875 Elkcam Blvd., Deltona, FL 32725
FAANS, FLOCS, NCPSA, SACS
Student Teacher Ratio
Lake Forrest Preparatory School 866 Lake Howell Road, Maitland, FL 32751
Number of Students
*Annual tuition for grades K-12; does not include pre-K.
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HIGHER-EDUCATION DIRECTORY SCHOOL NAME
ANA G. MÉNDEZ UNIVERSITY SYSTEM Orlando 407-207-3363 / suagm.edu
BS, BBA, BSN, BA
MBA, MPS, MS, MEd, MA, MPA
Undergraduate PCH: $358 Graduate PCH: $420
The 62-year-old private university, based in Puerto Rico, opened its Orlando campus in 2003; offers accelerated, dual-language undergraduate and graduate programs.
BARRY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF N/A LAW Orlando 321-206-5600 / barry.edu
PS Part Time: $17,150 PS Full Time: $12,950
Opened in 1999 and fully accredited since 2006; recently opened a new Legal Advocacy Center on its 20-acre east Orlando campus.
BEACON COLLEGE Leesburg 352-787-7660 / beaconcollege.edu
PY Full Time: $30,396
The first accredited U.S. college offering associate and bachelor degrees exclusively for students with learning disabilities.
BELHAVEN UNIVERSITY Orlando 407-804-1424 / orlando.belhaven. edu
BA, AA, BBA, BS
MA, MBA, MEd, MS
Undergraduate PCH: $460 Graduate PCH: $480$590
A private Christian liberal arts university designed for busy professionals, with classes held one night per week.
BETHUNE-COOKMAN UNIVERSITY Daytona Beach 1-386-281-2950 / cookman.edu
PY Full Time: $14,410
Founded in 1904 by civil-rights legend Mary McLeod Bethune, and one of just three historically black colleges in Florida, B-CU has been a full-fledged university since 2007.
COLUMBIA COLLEGE Orlando, FL 407-293-9911 / ccis.edu
AA, AS, BA, BS, AGS, BGS
Undergraduate PCH: $185; Undergraduate (online) PCH: $245; Graduate PCH-$325; Graduate (online) PCH: $325-$345
The Orlando campus, one of 34 nationwide, was established in 1975; the main campus in Missouri was founded in 1851.
THE DAVE SCHOOL Orlando 407-224-3283 / daveschool.com
Certificate of Completion
The Digital Animation and Visual Effects school at Universal Studios Orlando offers training in computer graphics; one of only two educational institutions granted membership in the Visual Effects Society.
DEVRY UNIVERSITY Orlando (two campuses) 407-345-2800 / 407-659-0900 / devry.edu
AA, BBA, BA
MBA, MPA, CERT
Undergraduate PCH: $365-$609 Graduate PCH: $766
The 81-year-old university has 90-plus locations nationwide; offers associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees at its five colleges, including the Keller Graduate School of Management.
EMBRY-RIDDLE AERONAUTICAL UNIVERSITY Daytona Beach 386-226-6000 / erau.edu
BAS, BS, BAE, BBA, AS
PhD, MS, MAE MBA, MSE, MSA
Undergraduate PY: $31,344 Graduate PY: $16,284
The world’s oldest and largest university devoted to aviation and aerospace; boasts a fleet of 92 instructional aircraft and 41 flight simulators.
EVEREST UNIVERSITY Orlando (2 campuses) 407-628-5870 / 407-851-2525 / everest.edu
BA, BS, AA
Varies by program
More than 100 campuses nationwide, including two in Orlando; offers degrees and certification programs in fields ranging from accounting and nursing to massage therapy.
EVERGLADES UNIVERSITY Altamonte Springs 407-277-0311 / evergladesuniversity. edu
Undergraduate PP: $65,190 Graduate PP: $19,656
Offers bachelor’s degrees in such fields as construction management and alternative medicine, and graduate degrees in business administration and aviation science.
FLORIDA A&M UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW Orlando 407-254-3286 / law.famu.edu
PY Part Time: $10,029 PY Full Time: $14,132
Celebrating its 12th anniversary in Orlando; has 700 students at its four-story, downtown Orlando campus.
FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE Lakeland 863-680-4111 / flsouthern.edu
PY: Full-Time Undergraduate: $27,930
Founded in 1883, the school features several Frank Lloyd Wright buildings and was ranked as one of the Top 10 colleges in the South by U.S. News & World Report.
F I E
H s in t
C *PCH: Cost per credit hour, PS: Cost per semester, PY: Cost per year, PP: Cost per total program, PC: Cost per course. Note: Costs are for in-state residents.
10OL_Jan14_Higher Education.indd 52
12/13/13 3:21:23 PM
Fi To pl
SCHOOL OF ART & DESIGN
FUTURE IS WORTH EXPLORING Take the Campus Tour
FILM & WRITING GAME MUSIC WEB
Campus Online Degree Programs 3300 &University Boulevard
Winter Park, FL 3300 University Boulevard • Winter Park, FL 800.226.7625
© 2013 Full Sail, LLC
Hollywood-style sets, live venues, game, animation, and recording studios, acres of creative spaces – it’s all inside the Full Sail campus in Winter Park. If you’ve got a dream in entertainment and media that’s worth following, book your tour today.
Financial aid available for those who qualify • Career development assistance • Accredited University, ACCSC To view detailed information regarding tuition, student outcomes, and related statistics, please visit fullsail.edu/outcomes-and-statistics.
10OL_Jan14_Higher Education.indd 53
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HIGHER-EDUCATION directory SCHOOL Name
Full Sail University Winter Park 407-679-6333 / fullsail.edu
Undergraduate PCH: $453-$622 Graduate PCH: $534-$850
Offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs for careers in film, music, gaming, animation and other forms of interactive entertainment.
Herzing University Winter Park 407-478-0500 / herzing.edu
One of the first post-secondary institutions founded to prepare students for careers in the computer industry
International Academy of Design and Technology Orlando 407-278-7988 / iadt.edu/Orlando
AS, BS, BFA
Founded in 1977 in Chicago as an academy of merchandising and design, IADT now has 10 campuses nationwide and offers degrees in cutting-edge technologies.
ITT Technical Institute Orlando & Lake Mary 407-371-6000 / 407-660-2900 / itt-tech.edu
Focusing on technology-oriented programs at its 140-plus U.S. locations, including two in metro Orlando, ITT offers associate and bachelor’s degrees.
Keiser University Orlando 407-273-5800 keiseruniversity.edu/orlando.php
AA, BA, AS, BS
MBA, MA, MS, PhD
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale; has 14 campuses in Florida, including Orlando; classes are small and are taken one at a time.
Nova Southeastern University Orlando 407-264-5601 / nova.edu
AA, BA, BSN, RN, BS
MA, MS, MBA, MEd
Undergraduate PCH: $675-$825
The Fort Lauderdale-based school, founded in 1964, has grown into the nation’s eighth largest, not-for-profit independent university.
Reformed Theological Seminar Oviedo 407-366-9493 / rts.edu/orlando
M.Div, MA, D.Min
The virtual campus started in Orlando in the 1990s and became the first online seminary offering accredited degrees.
Rollins College Winter Park 407-646-2000 / rollins.edu
For five years running ranked No. 1 among Southern master’s level universities by U.S. News & World Report.
Rollins College Crummer Graduate School of Business Winter Park 407-646-2405 / rollins.edu/mba
PP varies from $50,670-$69,000
Offers three different MBA degrees, one tailored for recent graduates, another for working professionals, and a third for mid- to senior-level executives. Ranked No. 1 by Forbes.
Rollins College Hamilton Holt School Winter Park 407-646-2000 rollins.edu/holt
Undergraduate PCH: $411-$423 Graduate PCH: $430-$568
Named for Rollins’ eighth president; offers evening classes for working adults pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees.
Seminole State College Sanford 407-708-2050 / seminolestate.edu
AA, AS, BA, BS
Four campus locations; offers five bachelor’s degrees in addition to scores of associate degrees, certification programs and continuing adult education.
Stetson University DeLand 386-822-7100 / stetson.edu
BA, BS, BBA
MEd, MBA, MS, MA, MAcc, JD/ MBA
Undergraduate PY: $37,980 Graduate PCH: $789$1,205 Law School PY:
Founded in 1883; boasts Florida’s first School of Business Administration, first School of Music and the first college newspaper, now 125 years old.
Strayer University Orlando & Maitland 407-926-2000 / 407-618-5900 / strayer.edu
AA, BS, BBA, CERT
MBA, MS, MPA, MEd, MHSA
Undergraduate PC: $1,420 Graduate PC: $2,325
Founded in 1892; has more than 90 campuses in the U.S.; offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as certification programs, in subjects ranging from accounting to public
*PCH: Cost per credit hour, PS: Cost per semester, PY: Cost per year, PP: Cost per total program, PC: Cost per course. Note: Costs are for in-state residents.
10OL_Jan14_Higher Education.indd 54
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HIGHER-EDUCATION directory SCHOOL Name
Troy University Orlando 407-219-5980 / trojan.troy.edu/ globalcampus
BS, BAS, ASB
MS, MPA, MBA
Undergraduate PCH: $264 Graduate PCH: $338
Main campus in Troy, Ala.; the 127-year-old school has branch campuses in several Southeastern states, including seven in Florida.
University of Central Florida Orlando 407-823-2000 / ucf.edu
AA, BA, CERT, BFA
MA, MFA, MSA, MBA, MS, MEd, MPA, PhD
Undergraduate PCH: $105 / Graduate PCH: $288
Opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University in the outskirts east of Orlando; now the second largest university in the U.S., offering more than 200 majors.
UCF Center for Emerging Media Orlando 407-235-3616 / cem.ucf.edu
BFA, BA, BS
Undergraduate PCH: $105 Graduate PCH: $288 Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy
The downtown center houses a host of undergraduate and graduate programs in digital media, plus an art studio, a printing press and the University of Florida’s graduate architectural
UCF College of Medicine Orlando 407-266-1000 / med.ucf.edu
MS, PhD, MD
Opened in 2009, with its first class of medical students all receiving full four-year scholarships; a main anchor for Orlando’s burgeoning Medical City in Lake Nona.
UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Orlando 407-903-8000 / hospitality.ucf.edu
Undergraduate PCH: $105 / Graduate PCH: $288
Offers bachelor’s and graduate degrees in hotel, event, restaurant and food-service management and a PhD in hospitality education.
University of Phoenix 3 Orlando-area campuses 866-766-0766 / phoenix.edu
AA, BS, RNto-BSN
MBA, MPA, MS, MEd, MHA, MIS
Undergraduate PY: $10,894 Graduate PY: $13,557
More than 200 locations nationwide; now the largest private university in the U.S.
Valencia College Orlando 407-299-5000 / valenciacollege.edu
AA, BA, BS, AS
Named in 2011 as the top community college in the U.S. by the prestigious Aspen Institute; guarantees its graduates admission to UCF.
Webster University Orlando 407-869-8111 / webster.edu/orlando
MA, MBA, MHA, MS, CERT
Undergraduate PCH: $250 Graduate PCH: $340
The St. Louis-based university has more than 100 campuses worldwide, including two in Orlando, with classes starting five times per year.
*PCH: Cost per credit hour, PS: Cost per semester, PY: Cost per year, PP: Cost per total program, PC: Cost per course. Note: Costs are for in-state residents.
DEGREE Key AA: Associate of Arts
AAS: Associate of Applied Science AGS: Associate of General Studies AS: Associate of Science ASB: Associate of Science in Business
BGS: Bachelor of General Studies BS: Bachelor of Science BSBA: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration BSE: Bachelor of Science in Engineering BSN: Bachelor of Science in Nursing BT: Bachelor of Theology
ASBA: Associate of Science in Business Administration
CERT: Certificate program
ASGE: Associate of Science in General Education
JD: Juris Doctor
BA: Bachelor of Arts BBA: Bachelor of Business Administration BFA: Bachelor of Fine Arts
10OL_Jan14_Higher Education.indd 55
D.Min: Doctors of Ministry JD/MBA: Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration MA: Master of Arts
MAE: Master of Aerospace Engineering
MPA: Master of Public Administration
MBA: Master of Business Administration
MPS: Master of Professional Studies
MD: Doctor of Medicine
MS: Master of Science
M.Div: Master of Divinity
MSA: Master of Science in Aeronautics
MEd: Master of Education MFA: Master of Fine Arts
MSBA: Master of Science in Business Administration
MHA: Master of Health Administration
MSE: Master of Science in Engineering
MHSA: Master of Health Services Administration
MSEd: Master of Science in Education
MHSc: Master of Health Science
MSN: Master of Science in Nursing
MIS: Master of Information Systems
PhD: Doctor of Philosophy RN: Registered Nurse
MAcc: Master of Accountancy
12/13/13 3:21:44 PM
PEOPLE & PLACES
To Sir Elton, With Love
A RACkET-TOTING ROCKER ROLLEd INTO TOWN.
orrect me if I’m wrong on this, but when it comes
right down to it, aren’t we all on Team Elton? It sure seemed so when Sir Elton John took the yellow brick road to Walt Disney World for the Mylan WTT Smash Hits at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The celebrity tennis tourney and auction raised $700,000 for AIDS-related charities. Sir Elton and Billie Jean King were here to co-host the event, teaming up with local hosts Robert and Tricia Earl and the sponsoring charity, The Hope and Help Center. The international celebs brought with them a brilliant (and very entertaining) corps of professional players: John Isner, Venus Williams, Marion Bartoli and Andy Roddick. Just before the match, in which Team Elton defeated Team Jean 24-18, the duo and their tennis-pro buddies bantered from the stage during a live auction that attracted an enthusiastic crowd of Hope and Help supporters, tennis junkies and celebrity chasers. Sir Elton was jovial and looked fit in his tennis togs during the auction, though for flashy looks he couldn’t compete with fashion plate Venus, whose dyed magenta locks matched her tennies. And as for personality, it was a consummately smart-alecky Roddick who stole the show when he took the microphone to auction off a private lesson, selling two sessions for $36,000 apiece, one of them to a man he kept calling Robert Redford. Well, there was a striking resemblance, but the handsome bidder was actually Esurance CEO Gary Tolman. He was one of several out-of-towners who came to Orlando for the event hoping to snag auction gems such as Billie Jean’s Wimbledon package, featuring her own Centre Court seats to the 2014 ladies’ and gentlemen’s championship matches. That particular package went for $25,000.
1. Andy Roddick high-fives Sir Elton John 2. Mickey Mouse flanked by Andy Roddick, Elton John, Billie Jean King and Venus Williams 3. John Isner powers a backhand 4. Robert Kendrick awaits a serve 56
9OL_Jan_14 Paula.indd 56
4. January 2014
12/16/13 3:01:06 PM
Bartoli, the reigning Wimbledon ladies’ champion, also offered up her personal tickets and, cha-ching, the $25,000 was matched. Other auction items included an Elton Johnsigned piano bench, a hitting session with Bartoli, a Daytona 500 Experience, tournament packages for the U.S. Open and BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, and a Forevermark pendant and earrings. Too bad that Hope and Help’s share in the money raised was only roughly 10 percent, but John’s international AIDS charity is a herculean effort, and at least the event brought publicity to an equally worthy local cause. Hope and Help ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
9OL_Jan_14 Paula.indd 57
9. 1. John Best, Pamela Bolling, Michelle and Johnny Damon 2. Parliament House’s winning headdress 3. Harriet Lake, Eva Krzewinski 4. Karen and Lawrence Blunk, Pamela Bolling 5. Robert Adams 6. Lauren Rowe 7. Laura Diaz 8. Mark and Josie NeJame 9. Sam Ewing, Steve Adona ORLANDO LIFE
12/16/13 12:42:41 PM
PEOPLE AND PLACES
1. Ellen Titen-Wojcik, Karen Dee, Ann McGee, Helen Donegan 2. Jennifer Johnson, Kelly Dowling, Stephanie Bolyard 3. Jennifer Johnson, Karen Keene, Traci Smith 4. Teresa Jacobs offers compassionate support and a broad range of services for Central Floridians dealing with AIDS.
And speaking of Hope and Help, we are waaaay late in catching up to this year’s Headdress Ball. But there’s a timeless quality, don’t you think, to the winning entry, created by the ever-imaginative souls at the Parliament House. The traditional highlight of the event is a competition to see who can come up with the most outrageous decorative headgear and the familiar nightclub’s creative team didn’t disappoint. The theme was a masquerade ball, so there were all manner of elaborate masks in evidence as event co-founder Sam Ewing welcomed the celebrants. Harriett Lake arrived all 58
9OL_Jan_14 Paula.indd 58
suited up in a white-feather ensemble that could have qualified her for the competition on stage. Michelle Damon, wife of Cleveland Indians outfielder Johnny Damon, was there as chair of the event. And drag queens Darcel Stevens, Sassy Devine, Roxy Andrews and Tasha Long were as colorful as the laser-light show in the Hilton Orlando ballroom, as a variety of performers took the stage in a Vegas-style extravaganza, courtesy of Hardrive Productions and JM Best Entertainment. But the big prize went to the Parliament House. The gravity-defying contraption was the unanimous winner in the eyes of the celebrity judges, who included Harriett, XL 106.7 radio host Laura Diaz, Real Radio 104.1 host Jana Banana, Mix 105.1 morning host Dana Taylor and Orlando Life editor Michael McLeod.
I’m always game for some midday inspiration, and I knew I was in for a big dose of it as I pulled into the Church Street Ballroom to join 500 of the smartest women in town for the Orlando ATHENA Women’s Leadership Luncheon and Award Ceremony. January 2014
12/16/13 12:42:17 PM
ATHENA International’s goal is to support and develop leadership in women, and as part of that goal the local chapter raises money to benefit the University of Central Florida’s scholarship fund for female students. At the luncheon, a $20,000 check for the fund was presented to Kelly Dowling, senior director of development for the UCF Foundation, by ATHENA founding co-chair Jennifer Johnson. I was extra excited because a woman I admire very much was receiving the Orlando ATHENA Leadership Award. The award, which celebrates women who actively assist others in realizing their full potential, went to Sandra Hostetter, president of CNL Bank. To know Sandy is to know that she has an “all in” attitude about life. Karen Dee, Florida regional president of Fifth Third Bank, and Diana Bolivar, president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando, were both finalists for the award. But the room was filled with like-minded leaders, including Ann McGee, president of Seminole State College; Helen Donegan; vice president of communications at UCF; and a
9OL_Jan_14 Paula.indd 59
leader-to-be in Stephanie Bolyard. She’s completing a doctorate in environmental engineering and is the first recipient of the ATHENA International Emerging Women Leader Fellowship Award, a scholarship established through the UCF College of Graduate Studies to recognize an outstanding female graduate student. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs was honorary chair of the event. n
THERE’S MORE ONLINE
Using your mobile device, scan the QR code or go to orlando-life.com and see more pictures and stories from these and other events held throughout Central Florida. Native Floridian Paula Wyatt is an Orlando event planner, socialmedia expert and entrepreneur whose companies include Posh Able Events, Posh Able Image Builders and the nonprofit Posh Abilities. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
12/13/13 4:07:04 PM
frontiers of surgery
A Hip Alternative
AT ORLANDO HEALTH, A NEW CENTER; A NEW APPROACH. by Harry Wessel • photographs by Jarred Paluzzi
t had to be growing pains. That’s what Jennifer Coley
figured when her oldest child started complaining last spring that her legs and hip were hurting. After all, 13year-old Cassandra had shot up several inches in the preceding months and was otherwise perfectly healthy. But as weeks went by and Cassie’s complaints persisted, a still-skeptical mom finally brought her to the family pediatrician. It took an X-ray and a visit to an orthopedic specialist to finally convince Coley that her rail-thin, fashion-loving daughter had a serious hip problem. And lucky for the Coleys, they live in Central Florida, home to Orlando Health’s Wyatt Whitney Hip & Orthopedic Institute and the workplace of one of a handful of surgeons in the country who could repair Cassie’s defective hip without having to replace it: Dr. Jose Herrera. 60
n n n If Wyatt Whitney’s name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve surely heard of his father, Dan Whitney, the comedian known professionally as Larry the Cable Guy. But there was nothing funny about the desperate straits Dan and his wife, Cara, found themselves in seven years ago when their first child was born with misaligned hips. Living in Sanford at the time, they had trouble finding information about hip dysplasia before visiting the Department of Pediatric Orthopedics at Orlando Health’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Thanks to months of treatment involving a medical device called a Pavlik harness, Wyatt’s hip problem was taken care of. The Whitneys were so grateful — and by then attuned to a medical problem many parents know nothing about — that January 2014
12/16/13 11:58:49 AM
in 2010 they pledged $5 million to Orlando Health for its orthopedic center and the establishment of an International Hip Dysplasia Institute. “We thought it would be really cool to make Orlando the hip dysplasia center of the world,” Dan said when the Institute opened in 2012. In addition to the pledge, Whitney — who now lives in his home state of Nebraska with Cara, Wyatt and 6-year-old daughter Reagan — has continued to support the Institute with an annual celebrity golf tournament in Orlando. n n n Hip dysplasia, a catchall term for misaligned hip joints, is either rare or common, depending on your viewpoint. Herrera, head of the Children Center for Orthopedics at Arnold Palmer and a founding member of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, notes that while 5 percent of full-term babies have some degree of hip instability, fewer than four out of 1,000 have hip problems serious enough to require treatment. And that treatment, he adds, usually doesn’t require surgery. Then again, with 13,000 births each year at Orlando Health’s Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, even a tiny percentage with serious hip problems adds up to a significant number of cases for a pediatric orthopedic surgeon. Hip dysplasia is often not detectable until adolescence or ORLANDO-LIFE.COM
After having her hips X-rayed during a follow-up visit to the Whitney Hip & Orthopedic Institute, opposite page, 13-yearold Cassie gets a detailed briefing from her surgeon, Dr. Jose Herrera, above. Cassie was born with hip dysplasia, which is often not detected until adolescence or young adulthood.
even young adulthood, when it starts to cause pain. When the pain gets bad enough the medical answer is often total hip replacement. A relatively new surgical procedure called PAO, short for periacetabular osteotomy, is a less-drastic alternative. It involves cutting the bone around the hip socket and repositioning it so that the leg and hip are properly aligned. First performed in Europe in 1984, it was another decade or so before PAO was available in the U.S. Herrera, who has been doing PAO surgeries for the past eight years, is one of the few surgeons in the Southeast — and the only one in Central Florida — who does them. Most of his patients are in their early teens, although the age range extends up into the 30s. His busiest time is in the summer, when school is out, during which he’ll perform four or five PAOs per month. ORLANDO LIFE
12/13/13 4:14:20 PM
frontiers of surgery
Dan Whitney, aka Larry the Cable Guy, pledged $5 million to help make Orlando “the hip dysplasia center of the world.” The former Sanford resident, who now lives in his native Nebraska, appeared at the Institute’s May 2012 opening with his wife, Cara, and their children, Reagan and Wyatt, for whom the facility is named. “I’m getting patients from Daytona, Melbourne, even people from Tallahassee and Pensacola,” Herrera says. “We’re getting people driving seven or eight hours to see me, which is humbling. Doctors know I have the knowledge and experi62
ence with that procedure, so they send me patients from all over the place.” As to who is more likely to have hip dysplasia, Herrera ticks off the four most common risk factors: family history, breech babies, females and firstborns. Those who have close blood relatives with hip dysplasia are roughly 30 times more likely, and breech babies 17 times more likely, to have hip problems than those who don’t. Girl babies are at five to seven times higher risk than males. And while there are no hard numbers on increased risk for firstborns, Herrera says their rates of hip dysplasia are significantly higher than babies with older siblings. n n n
photo courtesy orlando health
12/13/13 4:14:28 PM
Cassie, a firstborn female, had no hip problems until last spring. Even when the problem was diagnosed, her parents were hesitant about the PAO option. “We had a perfectly healthy child who was going to have to go through major surgery,” recalls Cassie’s mom, a successful Brevard County real estate agent in business with her husband, Charles. “But if we hadn’t had anything done, or if we opted not to do surgery, the top of her femur was rubbing on her bone. It would have rubbed all the cartilage off. She would have had early arthritis and needed a full hip replacement.” They considered taking Cassie to Boston Children’s Hospital but changed their minds after meeting with Herrera, who not only specializes in PAO surgery but happens to have twin daughters the same age as Cassie. “He told me before surgery, ‘She’s my kid when she’s on the table,’” recalls Coley. “I’m 100 percent positive we did the right thing.” The right thing isn’t always the easy thing. After the grueling five-hour surgery in late August, Cassie spent four days in the hospital and another six weeks at home before she was allowed to put any weight on her left leg.
Nevertheless, Cassie, whose left hip now includes five permanent screws, has no regrets. “I was happy to go into surgery because I was in so much pain.” She spent her recuperation watching TV, reading books and crafting jewelry, much of which was sent to an African orphanage sponsored by her church. She was able to go back to school in early October, without crutches, although still a bit wobbly. In early December Cassie had a crucial follow-up session that included a brief X-ray session and a “runway walk” to check her gait. Herrera — who she prefers to call “Uncle Jose” — pronounced her hip bones fully healed. The good news meant she could start physical therapy to build up muscles weakened by three months of inactivity. It typically takes at least six months after PAO surgery to be fully back to normal, says Herrera, who adds that youngsters like Cassie make the best patients because of their positive attitude. “It will be a tough six months, but they’ll feel better for years and years,” he says. “They understand that it’s worth it.” n
12/13/13 4:14:33 PM
The Bear Necessities
LET’S KEEP THEM WHERE THEY BELONG: OUT OF SIGHT. was standing still as a pine tree in the middle of the Ocala
National Forest, my laughably inadequate human senses trying to hear or see the bear that was there. He was about 100 feet in front of me, but for purposes of observation he might as well have been in Alaska. I only knew he was there because I was tracking him with a wildlife biologist, who was listening to the beep of his radio collar through headphones to a 350-pound bruiser bear walking on little mice feet. Black bears are the ghosts of the woods — quiet, unseen, scary in theory but harmless in reality. I would much rather encounter a bear in the woods than an ill-tempered pit bull on the sidewalk. Of all the millions of people who have walked trails like this one — from little children to bumbling Yankees to boozing yokels — not one has been accosted by a black bear. Of all the campers who have slept in the woods, their tents emitting smells of Krispy Kremes, Ho-Hos and Baby Ruths, not one has been the victim of a bear home invasion. And it’s not as if the bears don’t know. They smell sugar like sharks smell blood. A Florida black bear has never attacked a human while on its own turf. And so what about that bear attacking a woman in Longwood? Well, it wasn’t really a bear. It was a human-created mutant, like the wolf mutts at the end of the first Hunger Games movie. Call them burb bears, beggar bears, Yogi Bears. Bears are the new raccoons, the latest in a string of oncewild life that decided if you can’t live without humans, then live with them. Eat their food, sleep in their trees, stroll on their St. Augustine, fight their dogs. That’s when they become mutt bears — lumbering, snoozing and sometimes snarling replicas of the real things. And so now we have breathless media reports about bears, entire neighborhoods living in fear of bears, the Orlando Sentinel publishing a bear survival guide headlined: “What To Do In A Face-Off With A Bear.’’ If you haven’t read it, do the following: “Stand your ground. Speak to it in a firm voice.” Try: “Do you feel lucky, punk?’’ Whatever you do, don’t run unless you can do so at 36 mph for approximately two minutes. Most bears can’t do that, not even mutt bears.
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If he or she attacks, there are two theories on what to do next. One is to fight back, with the risk he’ll continue seeing you as a threat and keep mauling you. And the other is to play dead, with the risk he’ll start eating you, which is what our backcountry tour guide in Alaska told us before a rafting trip. So if you’re in Longwood and get jumped, you have to make a quick assessment on whether the bear looks hungry or just is in a bad mood. A Canadian named Gilles Cyr tried yet another strategy when he was attacked by a black bear in August. He grabbed its tongue, so when the bear tried to bite him, it bit its tongue instead — a form of Jujitsu in which you use the attacker’s energy against him. This worked, but still was not recommended in: “What To Do In A Face-Off With A Bear.’’ Now, let’s deal with the bigger picture, and that’s the proliferation of mutant bears in Longwood. The problem is that when bears were put on the endangered list, we did a great job of bringing them back. We went from 300 bears to 3,000 bears while we went from 3 million people to 19 million people. Now throw in that bears have a roaming radius of about 40 miles, and you begin to understand the situation. There is a cure for the problem, which I once suggested to a ranger in a Smoky Mountains campground, who conceded it might be effective. When a bear comes in foraging for food, capture him, gather everybody around that day who left garbage or food out where the bear could get it, and shoot him. Relocation is a feel-good publicity scam to shield people from the consequences of their actions. Mandate bear-proof garbage containers and issue $500 fines for violations. A few executed bears and a few fines, and the problem ends. And lastly, the state needs to purchase wildlife corridors linking bear populations and open up a closely regulated bear hunting season to keep their numbers in check and instill a healthy fear of humans once again. Get the bears back where they belong — out of our sight. n Native Floridian and longtime Orlando columnist Mike Thomas is a freelance writer. You can reach him at email@example.com. January 2014
12/13/13 4:19:10 PM
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Published on Dec 20, 2013
For 15 years, Orlando Life has captured the vibrant spirit, style and natural beauty of Central Florida. Its coverage of local people and pu...