12 Sep The Kitchen Will Be Sizzling At Mizner
The fast-approaching opening of the new Lifestyle Center has the excitement at Mizner reaching a fever pitch. Nowhere is that anticipation hotter than in the kitchen.
As move-in day gets closer, the dining staff is clamoring, all in preparation for some big changes. We asked Mizner’s Executive Chef Orlin to spill the tea on what residents most want to know — what’s cooking in the kitchen?!!
Meet Mizner’s Culinary Family
Ask Chef Orlin McLendon to come and talk about all things delicious at Mizner, but don’t expect him to appear solo. Instead, the man who could never be accused of curbing his enthusiasm shows up with several members of the Mizner dining team to dish about motivation, inspiration and what’s going to happen when the Lifestyle Center opens.
Guiding us along our culinary tour are a few of members of his team:
- Orlin McLendon, Executive Chef
- Hannah Flora-Mihajlovic, Chef deCuisine
- Mario Paz, Food & Beverage Manager, and
- Marc Hoffmann, Food & Beverage Manager
“What inspires me is my team,” said Chef Orlin. “That’s what drives me, that’s what pushes me. I think it’s their passion. One of the things I enjoy is that everyone has an idea, a thought of what they want to bring to the table.”
You can think of Mizner’s culinary family like a finely tuned orchestra. Like any suitable conductor, Chef Orlin knows how to get the most elegant notes from each instrument. Each player is given the opportunity to take the spotlight and the encouragement to be innovative and creative.
“We like to bring in every idea and opinion,” said Chef Hannah. “Mostly, I’m inspired by Chef Orlin’s ideas and opinions — and then we execute them. I’m inspired by watching cooking shows and by any events coming up. I pick up fresh ideas, too, when I go out to eat on vacation.”
Communication is also crucial, so the team meets several times a week to stay in harmony.
“We have several meetings through the week,” said Food and Beverage Manager Mario Paz. “Once a week we’re all together in terms of management. We meet to discuss events and review past events to talk about what is and isn’t working. It’s how we keep everyone on the same page and gives us the ability to react and execute fast if we want to implement any changes.”
It’s also a way for the team to connect.
“We try out sample plates and bond as a group,” said Chef Hannah. “We never miss a day to check in with each other.”
How does this orchestra create such beautiful music together?
Chef Orlin has a one-word answer — diversity.
Having a team of people from different cultures, from all around the world gives them the advantage of flexibility. They’re able to contribute fresh ideas and novel flavor pallets. It also helps to serve their Mizner family who are equally diverse and a little adventurous when it comes to trying new things.
“We all come from different backgrounds,” said Chef Orlin. “I just sit with them and hear ideas. We find ourselves collaborating. Twelve minds talking about how to bring a better experience to the membership. It constantly inspires me being surrounded by a team who loves what they do.”
One of the reasons they love it is that they get to play before a very receptive audience. One who’s ever shy about showing the love right back.
Unlike running an ordinary restaurant with a parade of ever-changing guests, Mizner’s culinary team says that they’re more like private chefs cooking for 400 families. They’re not just about creating dynamic, eclectic menus. They’re about establishing relationships with the members. That means making sure there’s always plenty of comfort food on the menu, as well as kid-friendly options and knowing what items are member favorites and keeping them well stocked.
“We make sure to have classic, staple items always available,” said Chef Hannah. “Our core menu changes every two weeks. We’re constantly rotating options — bringing in local produce that’s in season gives us new, fresh ideas for our ever-changing seasonal menus.”
To learn more about Mizner’s culinary program and membership, contact Mizner’s Director of Membership, Marie Mitchalk, at [email protected] or 561.288.3300.