The best in Central Florida food
We’re very proud to announce that Matt McLean (a.k.a. Uncle Matt) is the recipient of Orlando Sentinel’s inaugural “Culinary Cup” award. According to the Sentinel, “Central Florida’s culinary community has been shaped and nurtured by thousands of passionate individuals. From the soil to the table, these professionals have demonstrated a commitment to quality and a vision for the future.”
We’re excited to see Matt, and Uncle Matt’s Organic, recognized for our commitment to a healthy, organic lifestyle. Thank you, Heather McPherson, and the Orlando Sentinel, for this great award!
ORLANDO, Fla. — January 23, 2008 — Central Florida’s culinary community has been shaped and nurtured by thousands of passionate individuals. From the soil to the table, these professionals have demonstrated a commitment to quality and a vision for the future.
This year the Orlando Sentinel inaugurates its Culinary Hall of Fame to recognize those who have made significant contributions to how Central Florida eats, drinks and dines. Each year we will select 10 honorees, plus spotlight trailblazers worth watching and remember those no longer with us.
Our definition of who is a culinary professional is broad. Food and beverage is a diverse industry that requires a variety of skills and interests. Our regional reputation does not rest on restaurant reviews alone. In addition to talented chefs, our achievements are reflected in exceptional work in agriculture, food manufacturing, retail stores, and health and wellness.
The class of 2008 only begins to showcase the talent and history that surround us. It includes established names such as restaurateur Manny Garcia and the Duda farming dynasty, as well as newcomers and industry insiders such as Harmoni Market’s John Gabrovic and the Orlando Brewing Co.’s John Cheek. We salute their accomplishments!
CULINARY HALL OF FAME WINNER
Matt McLean: An organic way of growing Florida citrus for future generations
Working his family’s Lake County groves as a young boy, Matt McLean swore he would never follow his father, grandfather and great-grandfather into the citrus industry. But McLean, 36, did just that.
After graduating from the University of Florida with a degree in business administration, McLean returned to Clermont and started a juice brokerage in 1993. Two years later, opportunities in the organic market piqued his interest and, in 1999, he launched Uncle Matt’s Organic orange juice.
“It’s not just a lifestyle,” says McLean. “It’s about healthy living and healthy soils. For me, it’s laying the foundation for the next generation of McLeans.”
Uncle Matt’s juice is a blend of Hamlin and Valencia oranges, without added flavor or peel oil. The Valencia orange is Florida’s most famous variety, known for its deep orange color and sweet juice. The Hamlin was a favorite of McLean’s grandfather. Uncle Matt’s products can be found in Publix and Chamberlin’s stores, and Economy Health Foods in Altamonte Springs.
By Heather McPherson, Sentinel Food Editor