Chef J. Christopher Windus has joined The Alfond Inn as executive chef of Hamilton's Kitchen, the hotel's new restaurant.
Windus comes to The Alfond Inn fresh from his tenure as executive chef of Todd English's bluezoo at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel. Windus joined bluezoo in 2003 as assistant chef and under his leadership, the restaurant became one of Orlando's most popular fine dining experiences, earning the AAA Four Diamond award annually, Fodor's Choice Award, and the Culinary Hospitality Santé Award for Innovation.
Windus, a Winter Park native, is thrilled to come back to his roots and oversee Hamilton's Kitchen. The restaurant design will feature exposed beams, a farmer's table, and Dutch oak floors as the backdrop for Chef Windus' Floridian-inspired cooking at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Hamilton's Kitchen will also include a private dining room, accommodating from 12 to 36 guests.
Local ties to Winter Park are at the heart of The Alfond Inn, which is owned by Rollins College. As a longtime advocate of local and seasonal ingredients in the creation of his menus, Windus will expand on that community connection by continually altering his menus to incorporate the freshest of these items. The concept of farm-to-table is at the heart of the rich agricultural backdrop of Central Florida. Windus will celebrate the area's bountiful farmland by embracing locally sourced ingredients that are distinctly Floridian, such as citrus, strawberries, corn, and tomatoes, adding to that locally raised beef and seafood from the Gulf Coast.
Beyond Hamilton's Kitchen, Windus will oversee The Alfond Inn's extensive catering menu for weddings, social affairs, and meetings. The Alfond Inn is poised to become the dynamic new social hub of Winter Park and the hallmark of the property is a spacious and welcoming environment, with expansive indoor and outdoor gathering spaces. That begins with the glass-domed Conservatory, the heart of the Inn and the ideal location for ceremonies, cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres. Outside is 10,000 square feet of lushly landscaped garden space that's ideal for alfresco weddings and events. The elegant 5,000 square foot Ballroom will accommodate up to 350 guests for seated dinners and the 1,000 square foot Board Room can also serve as a private dining room for intimate business dinners.
Windus has showcased his talents at some of the finest events and venues in the culinary world, including the Sundance Film Festival, the Aspen Food and Wine Festival, the American Express Black Card Dinner in Bogota, Columbia, Disney's Epcot Food & Wine Festival, and multiple times at the James Beard House in New York City. In 2009, Todd English named Windus as his co-captain for Israel's cooking competition show, Krav Sakinim, where they claimed the Grand Champion title. In 2012, Windus was selected to be part of the exclusive opening team for the new-concept restaurant Chefs Club by Food and Wine Magazine at Starwood's St. Regis Aspen. Chef Windus has a certificate of food and beverage in hospitality management from Cornell University and an associate degree in culinary arts from the Capital Culinary Institute.