A native of Tampa, chef Ted Dorsey spent his childhood summers with his grandparents in Alabama. “I spent the summers cooking with my grandmother. She made everything from scratch,” he says. Dorsey has helped open and developed menus for restaurants all around the area. With The Mill, he’s been able to expand on his Southern sensibilities and even introduce diners to a few of his grandmother’s recipes.
How did you start cooking?
I grew up in Tampa but I spent my summers with my grandparents in Alabama. They had a small farm and we ate fresh food all summer and my grandmother loved to cook. She made her biscuits from scratch.
Where did you start in the restaurant business?
I graduated from Le Cordon Bleu and then worked at Mis En Place.
You’ve been instrumental in helping develop many area restaurants. Which ones have
you helped open?
Eight including Ciro’s Speakeasy & Supper Club, Boca Kitchen Bar and Market, Cooperfish Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, Hotel Zamore and Castille Restaurant and The Mill.
What’s your favorite small plate from another restaurant?
The charcuterie plate at Haven. [Executive chef] Chad Johnson and [chef de cuisine] Courtney Orwig do an exceptional job. They make a house cheese, pay great attention to details, and their terrines and pâtés are fantastic.
What should a first-time visitor to your restaurant try?
Start with the watermelon bruschetta – whipped feta, watermelon, cucumber and shallots, it has a lot of layers of flavor, and try the meatloaf wellington – an old family recipe from my grandmother. If you come for brunch, you have to try the biscuits. Everything is made fresh, every day. Everything we make is a labor of love. Everyday my reason for being a chef is to show love.
How do you come up with your recipes?
I try to layer a lot of flavors. One of the joys of being a chef is you get to play with food. I’ve learned what flavors go together but a lot of it is trial and error. It has been a lot of fun to see the culinary scene in Tampa evolve over the years. Being a chef is a labor of love.
2208 W. Morrison Ave.
2500 W. Azeele St.