K Restaurant, Orlando
A native of New York City, Chef Kevin Fonzo received his culinary training starting at the young age of fifteen while working in a country inn in upstate New York.
He furthered his education at “The Culinary Institute of America” in Hyde Park, New York, graduating with honors, and interning in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina at the site of the Heritage Golf Classic.
Following graduation, Kevin landed a job as part of the opening team at “The Peabody Hotel” in Orlando, Florida. At twenty one years of age, Kevin became one of the youngest managers in Peabody history to run their own outlet. He quickly was promoted to Chef of the Italian restaurant, “Capriccio”, where he earned the “Best Brunch in Orlando” award from “Glamour Magazine” and was featured on Orlando’s Noon Day News.
After a six year tenure at the “Peabody Orlando”, Kevin was scouted by Bob Amick of the “Peasant Restaurant Group” in Atlanta, Georgia to bring the “Chef” title back to their restaurants. During his stay with the “Peasant”, Kevin appeared in “Cobb Magazine” and “Atlanta Live! At Noon”. While in Atlanta, Kevin worked for Thomas Coohill and Jean Banchet of “Bistango” and “Ciboulette” coveting the title “Best Restaurant in Atlanta” from “Gourmet Magazine”. Fonzo then moved on to “menu designer/kitchen developer” for the “Phoenix Brewing Company”, where he was featured in “Brew Magazine”, “Brewpub”, “Nations Restaurant News”, “Southern Living”, “Atlanta Magazine”, and “The Atlanta Constitution”. In his spare time, Kevin volunteered his time for the Local Food Bank and “Share our Strength” for the “Taste of the NFL” held in every Super Bowl city. He worked side by side with such great culinarians as Susan Spicer, Emeril Lagasse, Bobby Flay, and Alan Susser.
Knowing Orlando was “home” for Kevin, he returned after seven years in Atlanta. He quickly found employment in a little restaurant called “Café Allegre” in Orlando’s College Park neighborhood. Falling in love with the restaurant and area, Kevin bought “Allegre” in 2001 and changed the name to “K Restaurant and Wine Bar”. It became one of Orlando’s first “Chef owned and operated” restaurants. K was the one of the first establishments to showcase local ingredients, have a menu that changed daily to reflect the seasons, and offer a full cheese list.
As the owner of K for the past 14 years, Kevin has won almost every award in Orlando from “Neighborhood Gem” to “Best Restaurant in Orlando”. As one of “America’s Top Restaurants” in Zagat, his restaurant has been featured in “Bon Appetit Magazine”, “Nation’s Restaurant News”, “Orlando Leisure”, “Florida Trend”, ”The Orlando Sentinel”, and Kevin was added into “Orlando’s Dining Hall of Fame” from “Orlando Magazine”
Kevin was also honored by The James Beard Foundation in 2010 by being nominated for “Best Chef Southeast”. Kevin has been invited three times to cook at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City.
A fervent supporter of the local community, as well as local ingredients, Kevin has generously donated time and money to such organizations as “March of Dimes”, “Hope and Help”, “The American Cancer Foundation”, “Share Our Strength”, and “Second Harvest Food Bank” to name a few. Kevin also teaches local schoolchildren the importance of gardening and cooking at “The Orlando Junior Academy” where he assisted in the starting of “The Edible Schoolyard at O.J.A” which is affiliated with The Edible Schoolyard in Berkeley, California under Chef Alice Waters. For this accomplishment, Kevin was invited to meet Michelle Obama and tour the White House gardens as part of the “Chef’s Move to School” program.
In 2013, Chef Emeril Lagasse visited K Restaurant as part of his “Emeril’s Florida” TV show focusing on Florida restaurants and chefs. Hearing about what Chef Kevin was doing at “The Edible Schoolyard at O.J.A” he visited the school the very next day. Impressed with the program Kevin started, The Emeril Lagasse Foundation partnered with him in building a new kitchen house/classroom. The new building has broken ground and will be open for classes in late spring 2015.
Kevin resides in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando, Florida