This was a year when third-culture cooking really made an impression in restaurants around the city. A new generation of chefs not only found their place amid the pull of competing cultures and traditions, but celebrated their personal journeys through food, and in the process redefined “authenticity” of cuisine.
Unlike the fusion fare of yore devised by white chefs charmed by “ethnic” and “exotic” ingredients and flavors, third-culture cooking is deeply personal, sincere and, yes, authentic. It’s made by those with intimate ties and roots to the heritage of the cuisine.
In embracing their third-culture identities, chefs and restaurateurs like Lordfer Lalicon, Jamilyn Bailey, Lewis Lin, John Zhao, Gene Kim, and Johnny and Jimmy Tung continue to evolve and cultivate Orlando’s dining landscape by spotlighting diasporic foodways. This is the future of food, after all, and if the list below is any indication, the future is now. Here, then, are the very best restaurants that opened in 2022.