The Overlook Bar & Grill at The Isles of Collier Preserve in Naples, Florida now has its very own celebrity chef — Executive Chef Ron Duprat. Chef Ron is best known as one of the top competitors on Bravo TV’s “Top Chef.” He also has appeared on “Iron Chef America,” “Bar Rescue,” and “Beat Bobby Flay” on the Food Network as well as numerous other television shows.
As a member of the U.S. State Department’s American Chef Corps, he prepared dishes for world leaders, including former President and First Lady Obama as well as celebrities, including Taylor Swift and others. The Huffington Post named him as one of the top “10 Black Chefs That Are Changing The Food World As We Know It,” and Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine named his famous Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Bisque as one of Oprah’s favorites.
Chef Ron is the author of the book, My Journey of Cooking, in which he states, “What I hope to do is to lure you into the kitchen and show you how easy it is to make a simple meal and how exciting the results can be. It’s contagious. The more you accomplish, the more you’ll want to do. Right away, you’ll instinctively realize that part of the pleasure is in pleasing others.”
As a young boy growing up in Haiti, Chef Ron developed fond memories of his grandmother’s cooking. “You could be far away and smell the fresh herbs and the essence of her cooking,” he recalls. He carries these memories and expresses them through his love of cooking. When asked about his favorite aspect of being a chef he responds that it is “expressing my passion and love for the culinary arts one plate at a time.”
Chef Ron’s Floribbean-style cuisine is a fusion of Caribbean, Cuban, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Haitian and Bahamian cuisines. He notes that he also adds a dash of New Orleans influence. Now, he is cooking up delicious dining experiences, classes, catering and even the occasional cocktail cruise on the community’s electric boat for residents of The Isles.
Chef Ron Takes His Talents to The Overlook Bar & Grill
He describes dining at The Overlook Bar & Grill as sea and seed to table with fresh grouper, shrimp and other fresh coastal selections as well as locally sourced fresh ingredients. While The Overlook Bar & Grill’s emphasis on seafood is an appropriate tribute to the storied fishing history of Naples and coastal Florida, Chef Ron notes that there is a wide range of menu favorites. Tasty shareables include Confit Jumbo Wings and City Dock Tacos. There also are salads, steaks, burgers, artisan pizza and more as well as daily specials. Dessert favorites include Key Lime bars, flourless chocolate cake and Chef’s banana bread pudding.
Residents also have had a voice in developing menus. According to Vice President of Community Hospitality and Lifestyle, Scott Gambone, “A unique ingredient in our menu design is that we have periodically issued a menu survey to all residents asking them questions such as what they like to eat and drink and what are the special qualities of their favorite restaurants. We review the surveys as well as the popular selections on our existing menu, and work with the chef to develop recipes that are tasted and tested before they become final menu selections. Staff members also taste every dish so that they can describe menu selections to our diners.”
Good Food, Good Friends & a Side of Charming Old Florida History
The design of the rustic Overlook Bar & Grill was inspired by the waterfront bars that dotted the shores of Florida’s waterways in the past. It is perched on the shore of the community’s Cypress Waterway where diners enjoy spectacular views of the waterway and Southwest Florida’s stunning sunsets.
Walls are filled with historic seafaring memorabilia and photographs of Naples’ early fishermen and their catches. A massive dark wood U-shaped bar sits at its center where hand crafted beers, cocktails and a full wine list are available. It should be no surprise that, with its delicious food and inviting ambiance, The Overlook Bar & Grill is a favorite gathering place for residents of The Isles of Collier Preserve and their guests.
When residents stop in to meet friends for a cool beverage, snack, sandwich or full dinner, the friendly staff serves up great food with a smile. “We want The Overlook Bar & Grill to always be the place for our residents to have that home away from home comfort,” concludes Chef Ron.
Georgia and Dominic Cicchi, six-year residents of The Isles of Collier Preserve, stop by The Overlook Bar & Grill three to four times a week. They are quickly becoming fans of Chef Ron. “You can definitely tell that the menu is done by a chef who has a lot of experience and a great background,” says Dominic. Georgia agrees and adds, “He always comes out and says hello and often delivers dishes personally.” “As far as bar & grill style restaurants in other Naples communities, The Overlook is at the top,” notes Dominic.
Their favorite dishes and drinks? For Dominic, the dish is the salmon. “It’s probably some of the best salmon in town,” he says. As for his favorite drink, “They do a good spin on margaritas!” he adds. For Georgia, the dish is the Southwestern Salad and the drink is her own concoction, Chopin Vodka, club soda, and extra lemon served in a tall glass. “The bartender has one ready for me when he sees me coming,” she laughs.