Bluezoo Nominated for Best Seafood Restaurant

Todd English's Bluezoo was just nominated for best seafood restaurant in Orlando, Fl by City's Best. We would appreciate the votes of anyone who has been in or wants to help support us in our goal to bring the best dining experience we can to Orlando. Our focus is fresh, seasonal and substainable which is something we pride ourselves in. If you haven't had the opportunity to stop in, please do not hesitate to!!


Epcot Fod & Wine

As I said in the previous post, we have been extremely busy and will continue to be busy. Last weekend and this past weekend we had separate demos at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. The first one with Torm Siverson of Pasture Prime Wagyu demoing his mangalitsa pig and the second with Chef Todd English, followed by a 7 course dinner at the restaurant. There is more about the Mangalitsa pig and the demo on Torm's blog that has pictures of the event and is worth checking out.

photo courtesy of pasture prime wagyu

I also recently did a tasting for a sous chef position at work which I was unable to get any pictures of, but fortunately did get the position, so here is the menu.

foie gras mousse
brioche butter, caramelized milk solids, minus 8 gastrique

crispy sweetbreads
garlic puree, heirloom tomatoes, fried caper vinaigrette

olive oil poached halibut
roasted boniato, preserved meyer lemon, ham hock broth

sous vide pork belly
braised kale, cannellini beans, pickled chanterelles

wagyu ribe eye
pickled beet fluid gel, baby root veg in different textures, arugula, bordelaise

foie gras, preserved strawberry, frangipan, ice wine


This will be a brief post, but yesterday I cut into one of the bresaola, and was pleased outcome. I probably would bump up a couple of the spices and herbs when curing, but overall the flavor was good. It probably would have a better texture if I had used something other the tenderloin, but when I get free meat I don't complain. Here it is...

Where to begin....

OK, so I've been super busy that past few months, this being the reason for the lack of posts. In early september we were working on the new menu, then I went and spent a week in new york for star chefs (met some awesome people, learned  a lot, ate some great food), took the first flight home for a 5 course buy out for 180 people, did a tasting for a jr sous chef position at work, and we're in our busiest month of the year and haven't gone to sleep since...

Dan Barber's Speck.... AWESOME!!

Corton. Sic dinner, sic food

The dudes at olives hooked it up and killed it. 

...and we don't plan on slowing down. Looking towards the future I will be cutting into a coppa and our country ham here in middle to late november, so I'm pretty stoked abou that. Chef Windus, myself and Torm Siverson of Pasture Prime Wagyu will be heading over to the Epcot Food and Wine festival this week to demo the Mangalitsa pig. Just pulled out about 200lb of fat to be rendered for a couple of different applications for the demo. The on November 6th, I will be heading back with Chef Todd English to do his yearly demo, race back to the resraurant and do another 5 course meal for at leats 180 people (which is always a great time), and then we break down and get ready for a full restaurant buy out the next evening. So, it may be another couple of weeks before I'm able to post anything interesting, but we are still pushing ourselves and the restaurant and do still have projects in the works. Stay Tuned!!!

More Coppa

This time I actually was able to procure these coppa myself, since I was working butcher and received the massive mangalitsa shoulders. These things are serious. I just recently got some beef bung in, and it is a good thing that I did because I'm gonna need them. I have rubbed these down with salt, cane sugar, garlic, black pepper, cayenne, fennel, espelette, smoked paprika, and some cure 2. They just went in a couple of days ago, so I will post more about them later.

I have really high hopes for these bad boys. The smaller chunks of mangalitsa that I cured like coppa turned out really good, so my fingers are crossed.

This is a small plate i did a few weeks ago for a guest who came in and had the tasting menu 3 nights in a row. We gave him different courses each night, and I was stoked that I got to throw this one in.

From Left to Right: Pickled Okra, White Cuke, Cherry Bomb, Melted Lardo, Coppa, Bottom: Pepperoni, Lonzino


I have recently been cross training to work butcher on the weekends. This is not only good because it gives me a bit more experience and is something new to do, but also because it will give me a little bit of extra time after my shift to hopefully get the charcuterie project rolling faster. Now with that being said, the other day we received some beef tenderloins leftover from a chef's demo. So, I decided to try a bresaola. We haven't tried this yet, so I figured what better time than now. Since I have never done a bresaola, I am going based off of len poli's recipe for the most part. I am not smelling as much of the garlic or rosemary by using the dry, so depending on how it tastes, I may change this next time around. However, I will give in a update on those in the near future.

Here are a couple of images that Chef Windus shot the other night from a VIP tasting we did for a friend of his. There were more courses, but these included some of our house cured products. there was one more that had house lardons on it, but I didn't get a pic of that one.

House Smoked Pork Belly, Mizuna, House Lardo, Yuzu Pickled Watermelon, Compressed Watermelon, Watermelon Vinaigrette, Miso Powder, Candied Ginger, Micro Mustard Greens

House Lardo Wrapped Black Cherry, Black Cherry Noodle and Powder, Pure Butter Shortbread Cookie

A Failed Sopressata, but Good Mangalitsa Dog

I cut into this sopressata about a month ago, and was quite disappointed. It had such promise. Great ingredients, a nice mold on the outside, and I cut into it at about 38% weight loss. However, something had not gone right. The outside of the meat had dried and hardened into what I can only describe as what was like a "rind." The smell of the meat on the inside,( although not discolored but not dried either) was not right and borderline rotting. So needless to say it went into the trash rather quickly. There were only two but disappointing none the less. Better safe than sorry. I used artificial casings on these and have noticed that they dry up really quickly and don't shrink like natural casings, but there was also something that didn't go right on the inside.

On a brighter note, Chef Windus and I made some mangalitsa dogs for memorial day weekend. The ones in the following picture are the ones that I smoked at work (Chef has his own smoker at home). Then I grilled them up for a little BBQ we had for my wife's birthday. They were a hit. Better than the $2 12 pack dogs we bought...haha.

Some More Mangalitsa Jowl & The first peaches of the year

So this jowl was brined with some of the mangalitsa bacon, smoked and then sous vide. We are trying to come up with a new pork dish at work, and this is one of the concepts that I have been messing around with. The concept is there, but I am still trying to balance out the flavors.

We had a VIP come in for dinner tonight, so I sent them out a version of the dish. I didn't get a chance to snap a picture, but one of the other guys did, so I may post it down the road.

The Concept:
I sous vide the already smoke jowl @ 158' f for 24 hours in a mixture garlic honey, mustard seed, korean chili paste, peppercorns, etc.

Pickled Peaches with a mixture of cider vinegar, simple syrup, cinnamon, ginger, and red pepper flakes

the peaches were really soft, so i didn't really get the texture that I wanted. I may try compressing the with the liquid and dropping the bag into boiling water and shocking, and see if I can remove the skin without overcooking the flesh.

And I also made a Peach based BBQ sauce which turned out pretty good (a touch too sweet though).

So here is one we made up to taste.

Sous Vide mangalitsa Jowl
Peach BBQ
Fried Anson Mills Grits
Pickled Peaches
Burnt Onion
Freeze Dried Charred Corn (which was plated with NL2 to appears as if it was still smoking)

Mangalitsa Country Ham

Again, sorry for the lack of posts. I have been pretty busy, but will try to catch everyone up on what has been going on slowly but surely. So, the country ham has been cured, dried, smoked and will hang for a while (we're going for at least sixth months, but we'll see what happens).

The ham was cured with a mixture of cane sugar, salt, cure 2 and some spices and allowed to cure for just a little over 1 day per lb. I wasn't sure if it felt soft because there is at least 2 inches of fat surrounding the meat or if it hadn't cured enough so i let it go a little longer. I rinsed it, patted it dry and we allowed a pellicle to form before Chef Windus cold smoked it for about 2 days. I rubbed the exposed meat with a mixture of lard, semolina and black pepper and red pepper flakes (i read a couple of recipes who mixed the spice rub in with the lard).

I can't wait to taste it. It smells great and the meat had a dark rosy red color to it after smoking. It smelled up the walk-in for a couple of days when it first went in. Smelled like a barbecue every time someone opened the door.

Now we wait...

Here is the ham the first day into the cure

Hanging to form the pellicle before smoking

After smoking. You can kind of see how the skin has become a deeper brown color

Been Busy...

Well, I have been busy the past couple of weeks at work, however have been able to still keep up with the charcuterie. I have recently received a nice piece of coppa from one of our mangalitsa and it is in the cure, the country ham has been smoking and will be hanging soon to dry, and we have made mangalitsa hot dogs, which disappeared in a matter of minutes. I dont have any pictures to post right now, but hopefully soon I will be able to show what has been going on.

Overload of Mangalitsa Jowl

I had a picture message from Chef Windus today and was not pleased with what I saw. The weight of the 2 massive mangalitsa jowl that I had hung in the curing chamber caused everything to come crashing down on itself. I am told that nothing was lost during this disaster, but it is still a bummer. I am off today, but Chef is taking care of putting it all back in. We have had to resort to using thick oven racks thanks to the weight of the lovely mangalitsa (but I'm not complaining). The soppressata will surely be done by the middle of next week, and the coppa feel like they are really starting to lose some weight. Our country ham will come out of the cure on the 24th and we are planning to cold smoke it with white oak for 18 hours or so. Until then....

After the accident....

On the left is 20lbs of Mangalitsa Guanciale which caused the accident!!


I was very pleased with how this pepperoni actually turned out, due to the fact that it was stuffed by hand using a pastry bag. There really weren't any air pockets (except for one or two tiny ones) and no smearing. I do think that it probably could have used a bit more fennel and definitely more cayenne or red pepper flake, but overall the flavor turned out nice. I pulled this one at 32% because it felt firm and the casing aren't that big. It dried for about 4 weeks. The rest will continue to dry, but I actually like they creaminess that you get on the palate. I think this is partly that it hasn't over dried and also that I used a mixture of mangalitsa fat and wagyu fat, and mangalitsa shoulder. This is probably the most expensive pepperoni I have tasted thus far. I really like using the mangalitsa fat because it so creamy even when dried. You can see in the picture the difference between the mangalitsa and wagyu fat. The wagyu has a yellowish hue to it (some of which is picked up from the spices i think).

The Chamber is Growing

Here is an updated shot of the chamber. I have since rearranged it into rows, in which I can slide the older meats forward and hang the newer behind without much difficulty. So as it continues to fill up it will look a bit more organized. I do have a couple things I want to tackle here in the next week or so (N'duja, Boudin, and Summer Sausage), but we have the Epcot Chefs Gala, a couple of off premise catering events, and a big buyout coming up, so it will be tough to squeeze it all in. But for now, here is the chamber. The Pepperoni and Sopressata should be done soon, so some tasting notes to come.

More preserving and pickling

I know this entry is kind of late, but nevertheless I feel it is worth posting. With all of the amazing produce we get in the spring (most of which is foraged and reeived in abundance when available) and even as busy as we are, it is often hard to keep all of it fresh before you use it and unfortunately lose it. So, i have (and for a little while now) been studying preserving and pickling through the use of sugars, salt and vinegars. We do a few different styles of pickling at work. The one we use the most is a quick pickle where we'll pour a hot pickling liquid over, say celery, let it cool to room temp before we ice it down and stick in the fridge for a day or two. Another is allowing the natural lactic acids to build up and ferment for things like sauerkraut and kimchi. A few of the other guys at work, along with myself have been messing around with different recipes and types of kimchi. The first one I did turned out pretty good, but was too spicy for most. Another one that was done, which was sweet and a little less spicy, was a kimchi based mostly around cucumber as the main ingredient. This was then pureed and allowed to drain for a consomme. The flavor is really nice, a bit spicy but very light and sweet from the cucumber. We have a couple different kinds going right now including a swiss chard kimchi (where i made a brine that is poured over the kimchi. a technique that I have never tried before) and another batch of cucumber for the tasting menu. The other one, which is great for most things is using a mostly vinegar and salt based solution for things like dilled verts, dill pickles, pickled okra, etc. However the most recent that I have been exploring is pickling flowers and fruits. The first attempt ending up in a mango vinegar, and my latest some spring onion blossoms. I used a mixture of water, sugar and a chradonnay vinegar. I wanted it to stay sweet, and try to cut some of the pungent onion flavor that the blossoms burst with, but not too much of it.

I have unfortunatley not messed around too much with preserves, but did have some nice strawberries come in for a VIP dinner, and was able to grab a couple of the extra pints and thought it was time. So, I did a mixture of vanilla, sugar, lemon juice, white port and starwberry. Can't wait to use these up in the near future!!

Hear is a shot of a couple of ideas that i've been throwing around based on two main ingredients: squash preserves from last june and a red mole.

Wagyu Tenderloin, Hasta la Pasta Squash Preserve, Red Mole, Cocoa Meringue, Soubise, Burnt Onion, Freeze dried corn powder, salad of roasted carrots and tops, Candied Marcona Almonds

Honey brined Mangalitsa Loin, Red Mole, Preserved Squash Butter, Spring Onion Pudding, Cocoa Meringue, Micro Cilantro, Candied Marcona almond

Charleston, South Carolina and Mangalitsa Country Hams

I recently was able to take a trip up to Charleston for a couple of days (it worked out that my 2 days off for each week connected Mon and Tues, and Wed Thurs... Thanks Chef) and absolutely love everything about that whole area. The city itself, the history, the cuisine, the passion for everything they do, southern traditions, the towns surrounding Charleston,.... you get the point.

The first time that I traveled to Charleston was for my anniversary. My wife and I took a few days and went in to eat at McCradys restaurant. I guy that used  to work at Bluezoo (Chris) had worked there and I had heard nothing but great things about it. We did the Chefs tasting menu, and it was one of the best meals I have had. All of the flavors married well together. Southern inspired dishes with local ingredients (most of which are grown by the restaurant), simple plates with such depth in flavor, and a mixture of classical and modern avant garde techniques. However, the one thing that I really wanted to try, the Charcuterie plate, i did not get the chance....

So, back to current times.... I was able to put a couple of days together to stage in the Kitchen with Chef Sean Brock and his team. They were very hospitable and I was able to learn a lot just in the two days I was there. I would love to be able to spend at least a week straight with them, just to take in all that they have to teach me. The amount of knowledge and resources in the kitchen is ridiculous. I thank them for having me and putting up with me for those couple of days and if you are ever in the area, you MUST check it out. The charcuterie program there is freakin awesome thanks to the Sous Chef Travis and one of the cooks Jeremiah. They really know what they are doing and have a tremendous passion for it. And YES, this time I did have the charcuterie plate and some of their bar snack menu items. This is what we had that I can remember. Fried Bologna with beer mustard, duck rillettes with cranberry ketchup, coppa, duck mortadella, a couple of different kinds of salamis, pickled cauliflower, house pickles, pickled green beans, and more duck rillettes (they are amazing!!!). Unfortunately I was only able to snap a couple of photos.

This is a pic of the kitchen setting up for service.

And here is a pic of some of their country hams. Had to weigh close to 40 pounds each

I almost forgot to take a pic of the fried bologna.... I was killing it!

We also have a country ham going and will be putting a couple of more in the cure when we get our next big delivery of Mangalitsa from Torm. This was cured with a mixture of salt, cane sugar, red pepper flakes, black and white pepper. I can't wait to taste this one. It will cure for at least a day per pound, then we'll smoke it and age for at least six months. Wish I had started one of these six months ago. Oh well.

Mangalitsa Coppa

This is my first attempt at a coppa. Our guy at culinary classics is working on getting me an actual coppa, but for now I just used cuts form the shoulder of the mangalitsa. They cured for 15 days in a mixture of salt, cure #2, cane sugar, garlic, black pepper, juniper berries, and red pepper flakes. Then they got rubbed down with a mixture of smoked paprika, cayenne, red pepper flakes, some espelette, etc.

This is my first attempt so I hope they turn out good. The most fun came when trying to case them!!!

I also have recently done some pepperoni and sopressata with mangalitsa. It's great having all of these mangalitsa rolling in because I am able to use all of the scraps on my projects and the quality of meat is superior. The pepperoni is a mixture of mangalitsa scraps and wagyu scraps. Should be tasty.

Here is another mangalitsa belly that I thought was worth posting. We have a handful of these going. These things are beasts.

I'll post on my recent trip to Charleston, SC and stage at McCrady's restaurant soon....

more mangalitsa and a chamber upgrade

The mangalitsa is now coming in more and more that is being featured on our menu, and we have all sorts of things going on. We currently have working 2 bellies (chef has them in his molasses brine) for bacon, all sorts of lardo, guanciale, 3 coppa, and we will be making some salami and pepperoni on monday. I really want to do a country ham soon, but then comes the waiting and waiting and....

The jowl are so nice. They look more like regular bacon than the bellies do (because they are so fatty). I cured these with salt, sugar, black pepper, thyme and garlic for 15 days, and they will prob hang close to 3-4 weeks. I can't wait to render these bad boys out and taste them.

I have also recently had an upgrade in a curing chamber. Its a good thing too, because we have soooo much fat that we have lardo hanging from the roof (ok, that's an over exaduration), but still we have a lot. Half of which isn't even done curing yet.

We have been trying a lot of different recipes, ratios, spices, etc. for curing the lardo to find out which one we like the best so you'll see a lot of different types hanging. I would like to do a side by side flavor and texture comparison once we have one of each type ready, but until then here's what we got!!

LEFT TO RIGHT: lardo di toscana, pimente d' espelette, smoked paprika (behind the pimente), sugar/salt/black pepper, garlic, lardo di colonata (which is berkshire not mangalitsa) and has been curing for about 5 months.

The bottom half of the new chamber.

gunaciale, lonzino, boar salami

And the old chamber... thank goodness for the new!!!

Pasture Prime

The other day we had the opportunity to travel up to Pasture Prime Farms in Ocala, Fl to take a look at their operation. The property is beautiful, and rests on hundreds of acres of open fields and is surrounded by woods. Spring was the perfect time to go out and see the farm as everything is beginning to bloom and is bright green.

Their story up there is unique. Once a dairy farm that was forced to shut down by large corporations and government regulations, pasture prime shifted its focus and has been raising 100% grass fed Wagyu since 2007. They have recently begun raising Mangalitsa (a.k.a. wooly pigs, which we have been lucky enough to be receiving), Naked Neck Chickens, and Red Bourbon Turkeys.

The trip was not only informational, but was inspirational as well. I can't wait to get my hands on some more mangalitsa. I see some coppa and salami in the future and we have more bacon and lardo already working. I thank them for their hospitality the other day and also for their passion for raising such great products 100% naturally the way they do. You can find them at and on facebook.

I have so many pictures from the farm, but will only show a few....

The Wagyu

Cattle dog in training

The old dairy farm

The Mangalitsa

Naked Neck Chickens

Red Bourbon Turkeys