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.
The cultivated culinarians at Young Chefs Academy mold fledgling cuisine crafters into experienced gastronomic artists with fun cooking classes for kids aged 3–16. Students learn the essentials of proper food handling, as well as preparation and kitchen-safety tips, such as avoiding any and all spork fights. Like an indecisive chameleon, classes have a new theme each month and new recipes each week, with kids accumulating kitchen knowledge while using professional equipment in a decked-out kitchen. October is Halloween themed, featuring such recipes as the serpent sandwich, sinister salsa, and jack-o’-lantern quesadillas, while during November kids learn recipes such as herbed turkey bites, pumpkin whoopie pies, eggnog pancakes, and deep-fried pilgrim hats.
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.
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.
Upscale French eatery Chef J Bistro takes its name from executive chef Jethro Joseph, who understands that fine dining can be relaxing rather than fussy. His cooking has received accolades from publications such as the Gulf Coast Times, which called his four-star gourmet fare “mouthwatering.” Chef J curates two seasonal menus replete with seafood, smoky pastas, and steak, among other dishes. His staff understands the importance of presenting entrees elegantly, supplementing them with artfully scattered greens or sandwiches made in the shape of Picasso’s Guernica.
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.