By Estella R. Fullmer
For Hometown News
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- A new series for the Discovery Channel called Waves of Grace is filming in the streets of New Smyrna Beach and Edgewater.
Cindy Joy Goggins is the writer and producer of the show that deals with battling alcohol and substance addictions, and the toll they take on victims and their families.
With the film including the standards of Alcoholics Anonymous, the set is entirely substance free. To support that goal, Ms. Goggins hired Master Chef Don Midland of The Patio to cater all the food on location. Chef Midland's talent for making gourmet international cuisine without the use of wine made him the perfect chef for the job.
"It is actually a myth that all the alcohol cooks out of the food," Chef Midland said. "There is still enough left to cause problems for those with an addiction."
Chef Midland, who owns The Patio at 626 N. Dixie Freeway, assured his client he could create dishes that have the taste of the alcohol without using any wine.
"It's all in the ingredients," he said. "Whether it is Chicken Marsala or Fish Francaise, you can use lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar with just the right mixture of other ingredients to fool the tongue into thinking you are eating a wine-based sauce."
Although Chef Midland is providing food for more than 60 actors on the set of Waves of Grace, he has the staff and expertise to cater two other church banquets and host a wedding and reception at The Patio during the past month.
"We do a lot of weddings here," Chef Midland said. "The patio area out back is a perfect setting with the wrought iron gates and the fountain."
A variety of plants, including honeysuckle, jasmine and Muscadine grapes, complete the English Victorian garden look and is a favorite spot for diners when the weather is nice.
During Easter week, Master Chef Midland celebrated his 20th year of The Patio. "It's been a pretty good run and we just love it here."
A native of New Smyrna Beach, Chef Midland is a graduate of the Southeast Institute of Culinary Arts, which was named the top-rated culinary school in the country the year he graduated. He has studied under several master chefs around the world, including Master Chef Klaus Freedenhieght, the 1980 Culinary Olympic Winner, and Master Chef Louis R. Oakes of the SE Institute of Culinary Arts.
The Patio has won several awards over the years, including Best Restaurant in New Smyrna Beach two years in a row and winner in eight different categories. Chef Midland enjoys cooking competitions and strives to make his restaurant and catering business the best. "We use only the highest quality ingredients, the best poultry and seafood and make every dish fresh to order," he said. "We can special order different items such as duck or lamb for our customers."
The menu offers a variety of fresh fish and seafood dishes, vegetarian options and chicken entrees. He also has beef and veal entrees and a good selection of soups, salads and appetizers to choose from. The prices are comparable to any big chain restaurant, such as Olive Garden or Outback Steakhouse, but Chef Midland keeps the small town charm of New Smyrna with his prompt, friendly servers and personal touch.
The Chicken Marsala is a delicious blend of juicy chicken breast grilled to perfection with marinated mushrooms in a wine sauce served with spinach fettuccini and fresh fruit garnish. The 'wine' sauce actually contains no alcohol but Chef Midland's blend of balsamic vinegar and molasses give it just the right sweet acidic taste to make you believe it is a wine sauce.
Another favorite dish is the fresh catch Fish Francaise with its lemon juice-based sauce that also fools your tastes buds. The fish is sautéed in a seasoned flour and egg batter and served with coconut cream rice, fresh dill sprouts and fruit garnish. The generous portion priced just under $16 is a great value and tastes delicious.
Chef Midland is proud to be part of the Waves of Grace project. "Ms. Goggins is a very special lady and very talented. I am so happy to be able to help her out," he said with a smile.
He is cooking most of the meals for the actors on the set including Bruce Springsteen's son, Liam Springthorpe, Annika Marks, Caroline Jarna, Elizabeth Dean, Michelle Feren and Sharon Laurance as well as co-producer Heath Jones. They just began filming Waves of Grace in March and no release date has been set.