The Back Nine Blog - Life in Our Gated Community in Florida

The Back Nine

an Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club Blog

June 8, 2018
Meet the Culinary Leader of Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club

Chef Sozio grows his own herbs which he uses in various recipes throughout the Club.

Orchid Island is home to three distinct dining venues. Each with its own menu, personality, and dining experience, it takes a true culinary veteran to orchestrate everything. That’s where Orchid Island’s Executive Chef, Chris Sozio, steps in, spending his day coordinating daily menus, among many other tasks, to give Orchid Island Members a true culinary experience.

The Buck’s County, Pennsylvania native started his culinary journey at his father’s restaurant where he gained his respect for the culinary arts. He then attended The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York where he received first-class training. While in culinary school, Sozio took his first professional steps as an intern at the Williamsburg Inn. After graduating from CIA, he moved closer to home and began working at an upscale restaurant in Doylestown, PA.

Sozio’s journey to Orchid Island was full of many miles and a few tropical stops along the way. Before landing at Orchid Island in 2014 as the Executive Chef, he worked at fine dining restaurants and resorts in the Virgin Islands, Hawaii, and Connecticut.  His first destination was Caneel Bay Resort in St. John, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands signature luxury resorts. From there, he was in Hawaii as was part of the opening team at The Lodge at Koele, known for its elegance and distinctive charm, followed by the Manele Bay Hotel, a luxurious hotel that is situated in the picturesque island of Lanai. But when his mentor, John Farnsworth, moved to Connecticut to open up The Mayflower Inn, Sozio followed suit where it earned the distinction of becoming a Relais & Chateau Property. Eventually moving to Florida, they both worked together again at John’s Island Club in Vero Beach for 18 years before Chef took the helm of the culinary program at Orchid Island.

The Golf & Beach Club community has three dining options, all of which are supervised by Sozio and conveniently just a short golf cart ride away for the members: The Pool Grille, Golf Club and Beach Club.

The Pool Grille & Turtle Bar is the perfect poolside paradise where you can enjoy tranquil breezes beneath the swaying of palm trees while enjoying lunch. Offering both bar and dining seating options, your cravings are guaranteed to be satisfied here. The menu includes creative salads, local seafood, and delicious burgers. This is, without a doubt, is one of the biggest perks of waterfront living.

The Golf Club is a wonderful place to unwind and catch up with friends, offering a comfortable and casual atmosphere for dining or socializing.  One of the favorites is sitting out at the fire pits overlooking the 10th tee, fairway and sparkling lake where many tropical birds like to hang out. On Fire Pit Fridays, members like to sit back and relax to the sounds of live music, while enjoying delightful bites from the Fire Pits Favorites Menu.  On chilly nights, blankets are available, making it extra cozy.

The Beach Club Dining Room overlooks the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, making it a superb upscale dining experience where members indulge their palates with one of the Chef’s masterful selections paired with great wines from the club’s well-thought-out wine list.

And, if time or convenience factors become an issue, delivery and catering services are available.

As food can be subjective, Chef Sozio makes sure to have a menu that covers everything. Healthy and innovative dining options are offered alongside more decadent dishes. There are also a handful of country club favorites offered. The Orchid Island kitchens focus on a farm-to-table philosophy. Working with local family-owned farms, as well as small-time distributors, the relationship is filled with respect as farmers will even email Sozio when their crops are ready, including details about what’s ready to be harvested.

Catering to members’ tastes, Sozio makes sure members know that the kitchen door is always open and that their appetite is on his mind. This gives members the opportunity to request some of their favorite dishes. It isn’t just the members that Sozio encourages to provide him with feedback. He motivates his Sous Chefs to assist him with writing menus full of creative and diverse options. Though every menu is different, the outstanding quality always stays the same. Your taste buds will never be bored when dining at Orchid Island.

In his free time, when he isn’t cooking, Sozio loves trying new restaurants all around the area and traveling. Outside of his passion for the culinary arts, he also enjoys taking to the crystalline waters of the Indian River Lagoon and the Treasure Coast in his boat.

Lauded as one of the most visually stunning and exclusive barrier island clubs, Orchid Island Golf & Beach Club is a private, gated residential golf course community in Florida. Offering a variety of luxury properties, including breathtaking waterfront and golf course homes, Orchid Island is nestled between the peaceful Indian River Lagoon and gorgeous Atlantic Ocean. Having all of the amenities island living has to offer, Orchid Island is more than just a place — it’s a lifestyle. Let your journey begin.

Let your journey begin.

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