Key West native Chef James helms The Chef 4 U, channeling 10 years of experience as a culinary teacher, personal chef, and caterer. During classes, the sounds that fill the kitchen grow gradually more confident as students learn to slice veggies, apply the proper bend of citric juices to ceviches, and squeeze salt from seawater for margaritas. The menus for classes and precooked meals alike are ripe with influences from Cuban, European, and Asian culinary traditions, which peep through in shredded pork, wine sauces, and miso glazes. While working in the kitchen to sate his own clients, Chef James flips through a rolodex of ingredients he went to school with in order to craft menus for vegetarian and gluten-free tastes.
When Gilbert and Josephine Morejon opened their first restaurant, customers lined up around the corner to get a taste of their Cuban-style roast pork, paella, and stuffed lobster. Nearly 50 years have passed since then, and the lines have disappeared, but only because the Morejons collapsed their restaurant business in 2012 to focus solely on catering. Today, Latam Catering services parties and events—from small family gatherings to large weddings—across the city.
Customers can choose from pre-designed menus featuring items such as Cuban-style roast pork, rib-eye steak, and blackened shrimp, or they can work with the chefs to customize their own. Though David Morejon handles the food, they do have an event planner on staff to help interested clients with all the little details, such as decor and music and deciding whether it's appropriate to throw rice cakes at the bride for easier cleanup.
The waterfront tiki bar at Mango Cove has a nice view of the sunset—sit down outside and you can enjoy colorful, inventive sushi as the sky turns shades of peach and pink. Among the restaurant’s specialties are the surf and turf roll, which has seared tenderloin over tempura shrimp and spicy tuna, and the buffalo chicken roll, which features buffalo chicken, carrots, celery, and ranch dressing.
The restaurant also lets guests see what it’s like behind the sushi bar in its sushi-making classes. In each class, you’ll sip wine and learn to roll slices of fish in seaweed and rice by hand, instead of stuffing the ingredients in a paper towel tube and shaking it around.
Seasonal fruits and veggies, fresh herbs, and whole grains play a big role in recipes from The Vegan Menu, a website that publishes weekly vegan meal plans. The plant- and whole foods-based meals, which don’t include unhealthy additives like oils, processed flours, sugars, or dirt, are inexpensive and easy to make. In fact, many are one-pot dinners, tested and approved by vegans.
Every Friday, subscribers get a new meal plan for five weeknight meals with a grocery list broken down by aisle. Each dinner feeds two with enough leftovers for lunch the next day. In addition, free recipes for snacks, desserts, and breakfasts are available on The Vegan Menu's website.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette and safety in youngsters growing up in a world full of laser can openers and sharp pasta rakes, giving children a capable handle on their surroundings as they journey into the land of food. Classes educate a variety of age groups, with specially catered classes for the kindergarten elite and junior line cooks, combining nutritional meals with basic food-prep skills that teach how to correctly follow a recipe to edible fruition. Senior flambéists are offered advanced classes that dig deeper into kitchen secrets and hone specific skills and techniques that expand the parameters of cooking creativity.