Around Town: Chef gone today, back tomorrow

    That’s what Lindsay Autry promises after her departure from the kitchen at Sundy House. The award-winning chef, who moved to the popular Delray Beach restaurant from The Omphoy, said she is leaving to pursue other projects. No hard feelings about Sundy, Autry says. She planned to stay only six months but liked it so well she stayed 18.
    Those other projects include helping with Palm Beach Wine Auction at Mar-a-Lago, Jan. 30 with Zach Bell of Addison Reserve and executive cheffing Swank Farms’  table luncheons. With proper backers, a restaurant of her own — in Palm Beach County — is a definite possibility.
    Sundy House promises a new chef with a new concept … from Florida.
    Also look for some changes at Benny’s on the Beach, on Lake Worth Pier. After 28 years, John Tsakon and Peter Thanopoulous waved goodbye in November. They handed the keys to Lee and Max Lipton, who have teamed with Jeremy Hanlon, a chef with impressive credentials.
    “We’re just getting our hands around it,” Hanlon said of Benny’s. “For now, we’ll serve breakfast and lunch and may extend to happy hour. We’re gonna have some fun.”
    A finance major in college, Hanlon spent a year in a Wall Street cubicle before deciding he wanted to cook. He made his way to Daniel Boulud’s kitchen in New York, with a short stint at Café Boulud in Palm Beach, then shipped out to study under some of Europe’s top chefs.
    Back to the States, he made his way to West Palm Beach, starting MyFreshChef, a personal chef service. In 2010, he won the National Restaurant Association’s Hot Chef Challenge, then joined Carlson Restaurants (TGI Fridays) as director of international culinary and menu development.
    His credo: The fresher the better.
    The way to a touchdown is through a man’s stomach.
    Heart, skill — and a little luck — may also play a role, but Patrick Delaney can claim the Miami Dolphins were on a mid-season winning streak because they started eating right … at least on Fridays.
    Delaney, former executive chef at The Polo Club in Boca Raton, is the man in the kitchen for the Boca-based Fresh Meal Plan. The fledgling company expects to deliver more than 1 million gourmet fresh meals in South Florida in 2014. But to get it off the ground two years ago, partner Marc Elkman, a 27-year-old Boca entrepreneur, had what seemed a harebrained idea.
    Traditionally, Friday meals at the Dolphins training camp at Nova Southeastern University consisted of wings, pizza or subs. Monster calories for the monsters, or as Dolphins General Manager Jeff Ireland called it: “trans-fat Friday.” But Elkman persuaded Ireland to give his always fresh, never more than 500-calorie meals a shot.
    Not only are the meals served at training camp on Fridays and after home games, but quarterback Ryan Tannehill, defensive end Cameron Wake, center Mike Pouncey, receiver Brian Hartline and several other Dolphins have them delivered to their homes year-round.
    Plans start at $75 for two meals, five days a week and customers can work with staff nutritionists to set goals and track progress. (
    We have a new bird in Owl country. A Partridge now rules the roost in FAU’s football stadium.
    Charlie Partridge gave up his assistant head coach and defensive line coach jobs at Arkansas to come back home … almost. He was born in Plantation and graduated from Plantation High School. He played at Drake University in Iowa and then spent nearly two decades gaining the experience that FAU Athletic Director Pat Chun believes will lead the Owls to greatness.
    Partridge has never been a head coach, but Chun is impressed with his ability to recruit, especially players from Florida, even to the not-so-sunny Midwest.  But can he persuade top recruits to forsake offers from a Southeastern Conference school such as Arkansas or Big 10 stalwart Wisconsin for the fledgling program at FAU?
    A bowl bid would have helped, and after winning its final four games to finish with a 6-6 record, the Owls were bowl-eligible. But bowl-bound teams should have fans. Rarely did more than 10,000 fans attend a game. Fewer than 5,000 bought season tickets. Bowl sponsors want to attract loyal fans who not only attend the game but also will spend several days in town, fill hotels, dine in local restaurants, rent cars and visit attractions.
    Of course, FAU isn’t alone. Big rival Florida International in Miami sold 10,045 season tickets yet could be dropped from Division 1 because it can’t average 15,000 per game.
    At least FAU’s program is gaining some recognition. Former star Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins), among the top five NFL rushers, is one of four former FAU players on NFL rosters.
    The new stadium has certainly caught the NCAA’s attention. It announced Dec. 19 that the Division 1 semifinals and championship game for women’s soccer next December will be played in Boca. The tournament will be a joint effort by FAU and the Palm Beach County Sports Commission.
    Partridge also persuaded assistants Brian Wright and Jovan Dewitt to remain. As acting head coach and acting defensive coordinator, respectively, they guided the Owls to four straight victories. He made another savvy move by hiring famous grandson Dan Shula as receivers coach. A graduate of national prep powerhouse, St. Thomas Aquinas in Lauderdale, Shula should be a recruiting asset in South Florida.
    Ironically, disgraced former head coach Carl Pelini apparently had everything about the program on the right track — except for himself.
    Chun, on the other hand, has more than football to worry about. Aside from baseball, no program has showed consistent championship quality. Don’t be surprised to see more new coaches.  
    FAU is wasting no time making a name for itself in other areas. No Heisman Trophy looms, but one grad did grab a Grammy and a former student won TV’s X Factor.  
    Eighteen years after earning a degree in fine arts, Marlow Rosado and his salsa orchestra, La Riqueña, was a surprise winner of the 2013 Grammy for Best Latin Tropical Album, Retro. Latin artists regularly seek out the Puerto Rico-born Rosado as a pianist, composer, arranger and conductor. He’s worked with the late Celia Cruz, Selena, Tito Puente Jr., Marc Anthony and most recently arranged and directed the horn sessions for Ricky Martin.
    “FAU provided me with the tools I needed to go on and face a professional environment and move swiftly within the music industry,” said Rosado, the first in his family to earn a college degree.
Two years ago, Alex Kinsey was singing in his dorm when he was overheard by Matt Smith, student president of Hoot/Wisdom, FAU’s on-campus recording company. Submit a demo, Smith urged. Kinsey’s recording of I Like It made Hoot/Wisdom’s Compowlation 2 album in 2012.
Kinsey, from New Smyrna Beach, later transferred to the University of Central Florida to join his girlfriend, Sierra Deaton of Winter Springs. Both took failed shots at American Idol before teaming up big time on The X Factor. They won the latest competition, and with it $1 million and a future steered by their mentor, Simon Cowell. Stay tuned.
    Santa arrived early at The Wick Theatre. On Dec. 19, during a performance of White Christmas, Countess Henrietta de Hoernle opened her legendary pocketbook and contributed $250,000 to the new theater’s donor naming rights program. The lobby will bear her name.
    De Hoernle, 101, urged guests to support the Wick while honoring someone they love. Naming rights range from $1,000 for a seat to $750,000 for the costume museum. The Wick’s next production, 42nd Street, opens Jan. 9 with Loretta Swit in a featured role.
    Up the road in at The Plaza Theatre, Manalapan, another veteran of the boards, Renee Taylor, stars in My Life on a Diet, Jan. 16 to Feb. 9.
    Claiming to offer more fun per square foot than any other arts entertainment center in the region, the Lake Worth Playhouse presents Ain’t Misbehavin’ from Jan. 16 to Feb. 2. And on Jan. 8, you can catch Barbara Van Eycken’s one-woman show, Country to Pop, A Tribute to Patsy Cline. Tickets are only $20, and it’s live, a lot better than a movie.
    If you missed Itzhak Perlman’s performances at the Kravis Center in December, don’t despair: The violin virtuoso will open Boca’s eighth annual Festival of the Arts on March 6 and return March 9. Both shows are at Mizner Park. Those in a jazzy mood can catch Arturo Sandoval’s tribute to Henry Mancini with special guest Monica Mancini and the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra March 8.
    As a preview, the Festival will offer four-time Grammy winner David Holt and rising star Josh Goforth Jan. 12 at Mizner Park in a pickin’ and grinnin’ tour de force. Tickets are $30, $20 for students.
    The death of Palm Beach Pops founder and impresario Bob Lappin in August forced cancellation of the subscription concert season. But while the organization decides its future course, the Pops remains active, with music education in schools and the occasional concert. The first will honor Lappin.
    Lee Musiker, Grammy and Emmy-winning music director and pianist for such legends as Tony Bennett, Barbara Cook, Mel Tormé and Buddy Rich will serve as guest conductor Feb. 4 at the Kravis Center. He’ll be joined by an all-star ensemble of Pops veterans including vocalists Lynn Roberts and Tony DeSare, trumpeter Longineu Parsons and violinist Mary Rowell.
    To buy tickets, sponsor, underwrite or inquire about the Pops or its Music and You Program, visit or call 832-7677.
    Arthur Godfrey and Jake Shimabukuro may not have started this way, but the Delray Public Library is inviting ukulele lovers of all ages to “Get-Togethers” at 6 p.m. Jan. 14 and 28. Leading the strumming and singing is uke-meister Tavit Smith. P.S. He was born Thomas Smith (no relation) but changed it to Tavit in honor of his grandfather. And he has lots of stories to tell.  (266-9490)
    To celebrate National Book Month, the Delray Beach Public Library will host its 15th annual Author’s Showcase at 2 p.m. Jan. 12. The free event features 13 authors, most with local ties, including two who deal with coincidental subjects:
    At Coral Springs High School and Penn State, Nick Gancitano was one of the top football kickers in the nation, but a knee injury in his first season with the Detroit Lions ended his pro career. He tried selling insurance and taught school but, unsatisfied, he turned to meditation, yoga and creative visualization to find fulfillment. Ultimately he used them to develop a holistic approach to train place kickers. Now one of the nation’s top kicking trainers and a motivational speaker, the Boca resident has written The Edge of Glory — The Athlete’s Inside Guide to Greatness.
    Ethan Skolnick began his sportswriting career in earnest at The Palm Beach Post and covered the Miami Heat’s championship seasons before moving on to Bleacher Report and Turner Sports. Raising Your Game, written with Lighthouse Point psychologist Dr. Andrea Corn, offers child athletes and their parents advice about playing and not playing youth sports from 100 accomplished athletes, from LeBron James to Brandi Chastain.
    The featured authors will speak briefly about their books and sell and autograph them as they meet the public.
    Its title, 7 F Words for Living A Balanced Life, should attract attention. But the three South County businesswomen who wrote it — Cathy Lewis of Delray Beach and Deb Bacarella and Barbara Agerton of Boca Raton — are no slackers when it comes to marketing. To learn more, check their website, And don’t worry, none of the seven contains four letters.
    Thom Smith is a freelance writer. Email him at


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