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Recent Work

  • A la Carte: Cocomo’s - A recipe for success Published 07/02/2009 at 8:38 p.m.

    Is there a formula for success in the restaurant business? If there was one, Scott Gibbs must know the secret, because he has succeeded where others have failed.

  • Chef Q & A: Alfred Schinagl Published 06/25/2009 at 8:53 p.m.

    Like every chef, I believe if you don’t have the passion — the love of cooking — you might as well get a job sitting in an air-conditioned office.

  • Chef Q & A: Guy Verdi Published 06/18/2009 at 9:11 p.m.

    Just the enjoyment of it and being around my family. My mom was a chef in Wildwood, N.J., so food was an important part of our lives.

  • A la Carte: Luck of the Irish Published 06/16/2009 at 8:18 p.m.

    Standing on a corner for a quarter century can be a good thing if your name is Mike Ward and you own a restaurant named Erin’s Isle that occupies a sparkling white building with a bright green roof that’s become ...

  • Chef Q & A: Bruce Bell Published 06/11/2009 at 10:01 p.m.

    I’ve always been interested in knowing about and trying most kinds of foods, but my interest became a necessity when we opened the bar.

  • Chef Q & A: Adam Rogers Published 06/04/2009 at 9:14 p.m.

    I became interested in food and cooking at a young age. In the early 1980s I used to go to the Kissimmee Public Library and check out Julia Child videos, and then ask my mom if I could help her ...

  • A la Carte: Raise your glass Published 06/02/2009 at 8:21 p.m.

    The Marco Island Chamber of Commerce will hold its 8th annual Glory of the Grape Wine Tasting on Sunday, June 7 at the Marco Island Yacht Club. The popular bacchanalian bash starts at 5:30 p.m. and tickets for the event ...

  • Chef Q & A: Alejandro Castaneda Published 05/21/2009 at 9:09 p.m.

    I’m from Mexico and my first job in Mexico City was a dishwasher in the Guadalajara Grill.

  • A la Carte: On the trail of winemaking Published 05/19/2009 at 8:50 p.m.

    While microwave ovens and computers are technological marvels that have enhanced modern lifestyles, winemaking, which predates recorded history, has also become techno-savvy and now it has become possible to create wine here in Southwest Florida, that’s arguably a passable proxy ...

  • Chef Q & A: Damaso Sostre Published 05/14/2009 at 9:18 p.m. 1 Comment

    My, that was a long time ago, but if you’re asking about cooking professionally I began working at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rochester, N.Y. Before that, I came to Rochester from Puerto Rico in 1985 where I began working, ...

  • In The Kitchen: A conversation with Ray Fortune Published 05/05/2009 at 9:43 p.m. 5 Comments

    Sage advice from Kenny Rogers certainly resonates when considering Ray Fortune, the well-known eponymous restaurateur and astute pub owner of Marco Island’s iconic Sand Bar.

  • Chef Q & A: Brandon Tungett Published 04/30/2009 at 9:26 p.m.

    I’m originally from California, but I’ve been here since I was 11, when my family moved here.

  • A la Carte: Dreams will come true Published 04/28/2009 at 9:30 p.m.

    The Wishing Well Foundation, held its eagerly awaited annual chocolate extravaganza on Fridayat the Hilton Hotel in Naples.

  • Get a Taste of Marco on Sunday Published 04/23/2009 at 9:34 p.m.

    You got taste. Marco got taste. Even the Y got taste on Sunday when Marco’s finest restaurants get together for the 19th annual Taste of Marco 2009 and all the proceeds benefit the Greater Marco Family YMCA.

  • Chef Q & A: Juan Mares Published 04/23/2009 at 9:30 p.m.

    I come from a little town in Mexico near Brownsville, Texas.

  • A la Carte: Seafood platter Published 04/21/2009 at 9:41 p.m.

    On the plate

  • Chef Q & A: Sunil “Charlie” Prabhakar Published 04/16/2009 at 9:32 p.m.

    I used to help my mother in the kitchen, and then when I was older I found that I liked to cook and subsequently enrolled in culinary school in India.

  • Chef Q & A: Michael O’Connor Published 04/09/2009 at 9 p.m.

    I think it was probably the family business. My dad owned a restaurant and he put me to work in it at a young age – and I’ve enjoyed working in restaurants ever since!

  • Marco Healthcare salutes volunteers Published 04/07/2009 at 8:17 p.m.

    Marco Healthcare Center held its 2009 NCH Volunteer Awards Luncheon Thursday, April 2, at the Island Country Club.

  • A la Carte: Easter dining Published 04/02/2009 at 9:37 p.m.

    Easter Egg hunts may amuse the kiddies, but adults may be less delighted if they have hunt to find restaurants on Marco Island that will be serving Easter Sunday brunch or dinner buffets of the all-you-can-eat variety for a set ...

  • Chef Q &amp: A: Capt. Brien Spina Published 03/31/2009 at 9:18 p.m.

    Yes, the economy is the trend most affecting the restaurant business — and that’s been reflected in our new menu — we’ve removed some high end things and eliminated loss leaders like steamers.

  • A la Carte: Fruits of their labor Published 03/24/2009 at 8:28 p.m.

    Vintners, like the wine they produce, usually have distinct characteristics that are reflected in their cultural mores and diverse backgrounds.

  • Chef Q & A: Denis Meurgue Published 03/19/2009 at 8:48 p.m.

    My brother was a chef and owned a restaurant in Metz, a French resort town near the German border – so I guess you could say I started in the family business.

  • When beauty meets scientific Published 03/17/2009 at 7:38 p.m.

    When March first rolls around it’s a sure bet that the Marco Island Shell Club’s annual shell spectacular can’t be far behind. This year, Shell Show 2009 opened Thursday for its traditional show and sale open from 10 a.m. to ...

  • Chef Q & A: Konrad Mayerhofer Published 03/12/2009 at 8:56 p.m.

    Growing up in Germany in the 50’s wasn’t the best of times and I had a teacher who told me, “If you’re a chef you’ll never go hungry,” and I took his advice and started a life-long career, from my ...

  • Grow it and show it Published 03/12/2009 at 6:57 p.m.

    The Calusa Garden Club of Marco Island decided to spread its roots in 2009 and presented its first Plant & Garden Expo on Saturday at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. This year’s gift to the community subtitled “Gardening Brings Good Things ...

  • A la Carte: Cooking with a pro - Chef Guy Verdi - Week 4 Published 03/10/2009 at 8:43 p.m.

    Guy Verdi’s B Group cooking class on March 4 started on a sweet note with Chef Guy demonstrating how to peel an orange. That done, he proceeded to deftly cut along the membrane to remove the orange segments, prompting a ...

  • Chef Q & A: Michael Johnson Published 03/05/2009 at 8:23 p.m.

    I’ve always been in the kitchen with my mom and grandma for as long as I can remember.

  • Chef Q & A: Sam Hapstak Published 02/26/2009 at 10:17 p.m.

    When I was 13 and in high school I started cooking barbecued chicken at roadside stand fundraisers with the local sports team, in Canandaigua, N.Y., to raise money for charities like the Cancer Society.

  • A la Carte: Family affair Published 02/24/2009 at 7:20 p.m.

    The “Like mother like daughter” cliché can turn into a barbed hook to hang a story on when there’s no bait to feed a writer’s line of reasoning.

  • A la Carte: Cooking with a pro Published 02/24/2009 at 7:08 p.m.

    We’re back again, and after attending the third “From the kitchen of Guy Verdi…” cooking class I have just one word — wow!

  • Chef Q & A: Robert Aylwin Published 02/19/2009 at 8:57 p.m.

    My mother’s brothers were all in the food and restaurant business so you might say heredity stirred my enthusiasm for cooking. What was your first restaurant job?

  • A la Carte: Cooking with a pro Published 02/12/2009 at 8:53 p.m.

    Well, you can salute Chef Guy Verdi with a soup ladle for the “souper” second session of the creative Cooking Class he’s presenting every other Wednesday at Verdi’s Bistro located at 515 S. Collier Blvd.

  • NCH Auxiliary “Puttin’ on the Ritz” Published 02/12/2009 at 7:15 p.m.

    Beautiful bouquets of roses, elegant black top hats and glitzy silver streamers on every table set the stage for the NCH Marco Healthcare Auxiliary’s “Puttin’ on the Ritz” fashion show and luncheon fundraiser held Tuesday at the Marco Island Yacht ...

  • A la Carte: Casa Mia opens on Marco Lake Published 02/05/2009 at 9:30 p.m. 2 Comments

    Marco Island’s newest restaurant, Casa Mia Italian Steakhouse, opens its doors this weekend at 155 1st Avenue, in the Lakeside Inn overlooking Marco Lake. Casa Mia’s owners, Maria and Tony Brok will be welcoming dinner guests Friday, February 6 through ...

  • Chef Q & A: Juan Aguirre Published 02/05/2009 at 9:23 p.m.

    I began working in La Casita Restaurant in 1997 for the original owners, Frankie and Mary Ellen Ray and now for Chuck and Scott, the new owners.

  • Cooking with a pro Published 01/29/2009 at 4:18 p.m.

    The cooking classes are held on alternate Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., but because Guy was ill January 14 to begin the first class, those participants were notified and given the option of attending the alternate class held the following week ...

  • VIDEO & PHOTOS: Goodland’s Mullet Festival draws crowd with buzzards, beer and fish-cleaning Updated 01/27/2009 at 3:18 p.m.

    Beauty, buzzards and beer were the bait that drew mega-crowds to the 25th annual Goodland Stan’s & Sons Mullet Festival this weekend in downtown Goodland.

  • Chef Q & A: Rafael Gomez Published 01/22/2009 at 7:44 p.m.

    I came to the area from Mexico in 1990 and worked at several restaurants in the area, starting as dishwasher at Kretch’s working my way up to kitchen prep and line cook.

  • Fishy, feathery, fun Published 01/20/2009 at 8:19 p.m.

    Flocks of buzzards are arriving daily and party preparations are full speed ahead for the 25th Annual Goodland Stan’s and Sons Mullet Festival Kick Off Party on Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. at Stan’s Chickee Bar in Goodland with ...

  • Chef Q & A: Mark Thomas Beatty Published 01/15/2009 at 8:53 p.m.

    I’ve always love food, and I was lucky because when I was growing up my family traveled, and my parents brought me along when they dined at the best restaurants in Europe and the United States and I thought I ...

  • Couple are the cat’s meow Published 01/15/2009 at 7:47 p.m. 1 Comment

    If virtue is its own reward then Jim and Jan Rich have been repaid a million meows over for every homeless kitten and abandoned cat whose life was saved at their no kill kitten shelter on Marco Island.

  • Chef's Q & A: Charles "Chas" Milner Published 01/08/2009 at 8:18 p.m.

    In 2001 at the first Nacho Mama’s and continued here at the expanded Nacho Mama’s since it opened almost 3 years ago. I’ve been with Eric eight years.

  • Chef's Q & A: Tony Flores Published 12/31/2008 at 5:49 p.m.

    Tony Flores - Head Chef Stan’s Idle Hour Seafood Restaurant

  • La Casita and Pub Published 12/30/2008 at 4:31 p.m.

    What’s old is new again at La Casita and Pub where owners Chuck Vreeland and Scott Cervin have spruced up the restaurant’s dining room with brighter lights to better to see the new, lighter paint on the walls.

  • Bopie’s Diner Published 12/30/2008 at 4:19 p.m.

    Opal Vann’s recollections of growing up on Marco Island reads like a page from a book that could be titled “Small Town, U.S.A.”

  • Arturo’s Christmas tree stand tall Published 12/23/2008 at 6:38 p.m.

    Holiday traditions are celebrated around the world and one annual Marco Island Christmas tradition stands above the others, simply because it’s got the tallest free-standing Christmas tree on the Island. Did I forget to mention that given the season, the ...

  • A taste of the Marco Island farmer’s market Published 12/23/2008 at 5:50 p.m.

    Trends usually peak and then decline when something trendier comes along. Now, there’s one that’s blossomed into a full grown movement and is sprouting up in wide-open spaces like church parking lots and community parks.

  • Cafe de Marco: 25 years of fine dining Published 12/18/2008 at 6:43 p.m.

    “You know, when we first opened Café de Marco on April 1, 1983 we joked about it (the Café de Marco) becoming an April fool’s joke on us.” Sandy Scheeler-Franchino said, explaining how she and Dick Scheeler (her first husband) ...

  • Chef's Q & A: Peter Merek Published 12/18/2008 at 5:45 p.m.

    What was your first restaurant job? After graduating from Catering College, I started working as the prestigious Savoy Hotel in London.