Keith Fogarty is a 20-year veteran of the restaurant industry in both Boston and Orlando and spent 10 years in operations in the travel industry working for Smart Destinations. Keith also spent several years in the craft beer industry in New England, specifically with the Brooklyn Brewery. It was on a business visit in Miami when he took his first food tour and thought this would be something really neat to start in Orlando. Introducing Celebrate Food Tours!!
1. What foods is your city known for?
If you don’t live here, one may think of the food scene in Orlando as turkey legs at theme parks (I do partake in one occasionally) and chain restaurants. But the Orlando food scene has been evolving spectacularly both in the local farm to table with our multitude of great chefs and in the celebrity chef restaurant offerings. Ok, you want specific foods. Gator tail, conch, rock shrimp, key lime pie and of course our Florida oranges are the usual delicious suspects.
2. What neighborhoods should people visit when they come to your city?
Well of course Celebration and Winter Garden because of our food tours but there are several others where you’ll feel miles away from the theme parks if that’s what you choose. Winter Park feels a bit like Boston, historic Sanford on the St. John’s River and Thornton and College Park really speak to the word neighborhood to name a few. Each are distinctly different and offer not only diverse dining options but have a neat historical past.
3. What is the best time of year to visit your city?
From a local’s point of view, Fall is the best time to visit as the summer crowds have shrunken a bit. But please remember, our perspective of the “slow season” may be skewed as 65 million visitors annually visit Orlando! The weather is a bit cooler around mid October which makes walking the “City Beautiful” much more enjoyable. It’s also the time of the EPCOT’s International Food and Wine Festival as well as tons of local food events.
4. Are there any events foodies should plan their trip to your city around?
The aforementioned EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival runs from mid September through mid November and the Annual Strawberry Festival in Plant City which is halfway between Orlando and Tampa, is the 1st 2 weeks of March. Both include great concert lineups to compliment the great food.
5. What can people expect on your food tours?
We are brand new and started running our Taste of Celebration tour in August. Celebration is a Walt Disney inspired All-American town just minutes from most of the theme parks. It’s beautifully designed around a town center which has a plethora of great restaurants. Our tour stops at 5 of them and is almost a progressive lunch tasting which includes a bit of history, architecture, culture, and fun facts.Tastings include a Spanish restaurant, a New England Seafood Tavern, a boutique hotel, a wine room and of course dessert. But honestly our main goal is lots of fun and laughs!! Coming soon is the Taste of Winter Garden Tour.