enRich Rich Knowles chef owner

Since he was a preschooler, Rich Knowles—the eldest of six siblings—was cooking for his family. He grew up fishing, hunting and serving up his catches. At 13, he was already bussing tables at a restaurant.

Today, he owns his own. As the restaurateur/executive chef of the 2014-opened enRich Bistro in Bradenton, Knowles elegantly whips up with Southern, Asian and Cuban delicacies.

“I am from a fifth-generation Bradenton family and I’ve always been passionate about food,” Knowles says. “For enRich, I collected a lot of ideas from steakhouses in Austin, restaurants in Montana and seafood places out on Anna Maria Island to create the menu.”

Knowles’ inspiration comes from his career experiences. In Montana, for example, he cooked under his mentor, chef Scott Mechura, at Timbers Restaurant and the Yellowstone Club. Knowles later moved to Austin, Texas, to help with the opening of Bob’s Steak & Chop House. Then he returned to Bradenton to launch his current venture.

His behind-the-scenes glimpse into the culinary world showed him the importance of using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. Knowles now buys his produce from Geraldson’s Farm Market and his sustainable seafood from A.P. Bell Fish Co. in Cortez. He even uses home-cultivated honey.

“I keep the ingredients as local as I possibly can, and that’s a big part of being an ‘Original,’ I think,” Knowles says, adding that regulars often request his Thai pork tacos, Cuban sandwiches and buttermilk-fried chicken. “I only want to serve the highest-quality ingredients. Also, I’m proud of my hometown and it’s important to me to showcase the products that are grown right here in our community.”

enRich Bistro | 5629 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton | 941-792-0990 | enrichbistro.com

Author:  Abby Weingarten

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Local Dish Season 2C smallOrtygia Restaurant Gaetano Guy Cannata Chef Owner

Restaurateur Gaetano “Guy” Cannata of Ortygia turns to his childhood when brainstorming menu items.

He thinks about his Abruzzi-born mother and Sicilian father whenever he considers showcasing a new delicacy at his eatery in Bradenton’s Village of the Arts. So it was a natural move for him to do the same when choosing the dish for Forks & Corks 2016. His pick: sweet and savory stuffed baby bell peppers (the way his family used to make them, of course). It is a carefully guarded recipe.

“My mom and dad always made stuffed peppers for the family while I was growing up in my Italian neighborhood in New Jersey,” Cannata says. “Sicilians love vegetables and they love stuffing them. Name a vegetable and, if I haven't stuffed it before, I'll figure out how to do it!”

At Ortygia, the stuffed pepper underwent many revamps until it was perfected, Cannata says. Cannata needed to figure out how to make it totally vegetarian in such a way that even carnivores would order it. He even modified it to be gluten-free. Now it is the menu’s top seller.

“Some of the reasons I chose this dish for Forks & Corks is that, except for vegans, it is acceptable to almost everyone at the event,” he says. “Although I use a full-sized red bell pepper at the restaurant, the yellow, orange and red baby bells are the perfect size to give away for a sample. One or two bites and it’s gone.”

And the Forks & Corks feedback? Positive all the way around.

“I have been told by many of the event’s partakers that it is their favorite dish and that they look forward to it every year,” Cannata says. “Also, people who come by to sample usually say that they were told by others that this is one dish that should not be missed.”

Ortygia | 1418 13th St. W., Bradenton | 941-741-8646 | ortygiarestaurant.com

Author: Abby Weingarten

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drunken poet 9 12 smallDrunken Poet Café Thai SushiDrunken Poet new

One of Oy Punyahotra’s signature dishes at Drunken Poet Café, the Pad Thai Shrimp was just as popular at Forks & Corks 2016 as it is daily at her Sarasota eatery.

With its combination of fresh vegetables, herbs, noodles and seafood, it is a much-requested savory, spicy delight.

“Here’s a tip: Make your Pad Thai fresh to order. Don’t let it sit. The noodles will dry out and get sticky otherwise,” Punyahotra says. “Also, this national dish is even more flavorful with a squeeze of fresh lime.”


1 package rice noodles, soaked in water until soft
2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup shrimp
1 scallion, chopped
1 radish, chopped
2 tablespoons ground, roasted peanuts
1 egg
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the pad Thai sauce:
1 cup tamarind
1 cup palm sugar
1 cup water

Heat the wok until it is very hot and add the oil. Pour in the egg, scramble it and add the shrimp. Cook the mixture for 2 minutes and set the shrimp aside. Put the noodles in the hot wok and stir until they are soft. To make the pad Thai sauce, mix together the three ingredients. Then, add the pad Thai sauce, radishes, peanuts and fish sauce to the original mixture. When the noodles are dry, turn off the heat, and add the bean sprouts and scallions. Serve with a fresh lime and a hot Thai chili.

Drunken Poet Café | 1572 Main St., Sarasota | 941-955-8404 | drunkenpoetsarasota.com

Author: Abby Weingarten

Photo Credit: www.dinesarasota.com

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euphemia haye 1 20 smallEuphemia Haye Ray Chef DArcy Arpke OwnersEuphemia Haye

Serving a savory cheesecake at Forks & Corks 2016 was a bit of a gamble for Euphemia Haye, admits executive chef/restaurateur Ray Arpke.

“I love my savory cheesecake but it is a hard sell,” he says. “People don’t usually think of cheesecake as savory. It’s almost like Parmesan, Gorgonzola and cheesecake shouldn’t be in the same sentence.”

But the risk taking worked out in Arpke’s favor when the crowd at the January event adored the unorthodox dish.

“Everyone who is adventurous enough to try the cheesecake loves it,” Arpke says.


For the breadcrumb mix crust:
1½ cups Ritz cracker crumbs
⅓ cup clarified butter
Mix the breadcrumbs and butter together. Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch spring form pan.
For the filling:
1 pound cream cheese (at room temperature)
1 pound ricotta cheese (at room temperature)
¼ teaspoon white pepper
4 whole eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup Gorgonzola crumbles
In a food processor, blend the cream cheese, ricotta, salt, and cayenne and white pepper, for 3 to 4 minutes. Scrape the bowl down a minimum of 3 times. With the processor still running, add the eggs one at a time, allowing 30 to 40 seconds between additions. When all eggs are added, process for another 2 to 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally. Add the Parmesan and pulse until it is distributed into the batter evenly. Pour the batter into a cracker-crumb-lined pan. Top evenly with Gorgonzola crumbles. Bake the cheesecake in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let the dish cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
For the topping:
⅔ cup sour cream
½ cup sliced green onion tops
8 ounces diced bacon
Fry the bacon until it is crisp. Drain the bacon thoroughly, place it on a paper towel, and cool it to room temperature.
For full cheesecake assembly:
After the cheesecake cools, spread the sour cream evenly over the top. Sprinkle the green onion tops and bacon evenly over the sour cream, and gently press the sprinkled ingredients down. Run a sharp knife around the outside edge of the cheesecake. Carefully remove the spring form pan. Cut the cheesecake into 8 to 12 slices and serve warm.

Euphemia Haye | 5540 Gulf of Mexico Dr., Longboat Key | 941-383-3633 | euphemiahaye.com

Author: Abby Weingarten

Photo Credit: www.dinesarasota.com

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Local Dish Season 2 AHarrys Continental Kitchens Lynn Harry Christensen Chef OwnerHarrys 1

Harry’s Cheese Torta—a blend of layered chèvre cheese, pesto, sundried tomatoes and pine nuts—was a savory smash at Forks & Corks 2016.

The dish continues to intrigue guests daily at Harry’s Continental Kitchens on Longboat Key.

“This is one of our most popular catering items. We also sell it in our deli to go,” says restaurateur Harry Christensen. “Our customers always rave about it.


Ingredients for the cheese:
3 ounces goat cheese
3 ounces cream cheese
1 ounce pesto (see recipe below)
1 ounce half and half
¼ ounce sundried tomato, diced
¼ ounce toasted pine nuts
Ingredients for the pesto:
1 ounce parsley
2 ounces basil
1/3 ounce garlic
1/3 ounce pine nuts
½ ounce Parmesan cheese
3 ounces olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Blend the goat and cream cheeses with the half and half in a mixer. Put the cheese mixture into a pastry bag and pipe it into a 4-inch-diameter circle on a platter. Spread the pesto evenly on top of the cheese. Sprinkle the sundried tomato and pine nuts on top of the pesto. Pipe another layer of cheese on top of that. Spread the pesto evenly on top again. Garnish with more tomatoes and pine nuts. Serve with melba toast or crackers.

Harry’s Continental Kitchens | 525 Saint Judes Dr., Longboat Key | 941-383-0777 | harryskitchen.com

Author: Abby Weingarten

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