CAST YOUR VOTE IN THE BEST OF ORLANDO READERS POLL

click to enlarge bartlettimage-old_jailhouse-8223.jpg

Photo by Rob Bartlett

Chef Bram Fowler of Sanford's Old Jailhouse says his South African upbringing inspires him to cook world cuisine 

South African-born chef Bram Fowler is no stranger to our dining scene, having wowed guests at his Longwood restaurant Journeys well before helming the kitchen at Sanford's Old Jailhouse, a stunning restaurant specializing in "Sun Belt Cuisine."

As a chef, there are obvious challenges when you run the kitchen but don't own the restaurant. How do you navigate your relationship with an owner? My owners give me the freedom to run the kitchen and menu as I see fit. I've had other owners at different establishments that liked to micro-manage. There was a restaurant whose owner wanted to tell me what menu items should appear on the menu because, he said, "people love that dish." Well, that restaurant is no longer in business. I run the Old Jailhouse as if it were my own restaurant and, so far, it's working out and my owners are very supportive.

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROB BARTLETT
  • Photo by Rob Bartlett

What effect has your immigrant experience had on the restaurant's evolution? My mom is such a great cook, so my love of cooking came from her. I was fascinated that she could create anything from any restaurant and make it better, so I guess I started playing with dishes and plating food at an early age. I believe my background coming from South Africa has helped me in my cooking career. I was brought up with so many different cultures who all "stayed in their own lane," as it were, so when you ate at a Greek or Indian or even French restaurant, it was as authentic as it was in the home country. That's what inspired me to cook world cuisine. I enjoyed blending the cuisines of different cultures that were so separated where I came from.

How are you reducing food waste? What are you doing to make the restaurant more sustainable? Using the right vendors who can get sustainable fish and local produce and meat is the key. We try using every part of the animals and or vegetables we get. I'm working with a local pig farmer and will be sending them some of our plate waste. The beef we use comes from Florida, the shrimp comes from the Gulf and so on. I like to use the Seafood Watch app and only get green or yellow options. I get my tomatoes from Waterkist Farm in Sanford. I believe that as a community we can work together on reuse and recycling.

What was your first food addiction? Curry. I love it and ate it on a weekly basis growing up. (theoldjailhousesanford.com)▲

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.

More in Bite

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 1, 2020

View more issues

Calendar

© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation