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Orlando Santos
MGM Grand Detroit Hotel & Casino

Top Chef Orlando Santos

Orlando Santos Edible Art


The excitement in Detroit has attracted yet another citizen of the world. Orlando Santos grew up in St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he was lucky enough to be in a fifth-grade class that was “adopted” by the Sidney Lee Dream Foundation. He was given a full, four-year scholarship to the university of his choice. Because he had spent his childhood cooking and baking with his uncle, he chose to attend Johnson & Wales University in North Miami where he could focus his studies on baking. While there, he participated in a pilot program that took him to Brussels. Although he received training in artisanal chocolates, he said his ultimate favorite recipe is a “simple coconut cake.”

Santos, a season 2 contestant on Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts, joined the team at the MGM Grand Detroit as executive pastry chef last year. “The greatest thing about where I work is that they allow me to express my creativity and share it with the general public. I come from country clubs and big hotels and other facilities within that realm. Here, the corporate world allows me to express my creativity and I am not limited to the clientele I create for,” he said.

Santos is nostalgic for the foods of yesteryear and creates treats that cater to a classical palate. “I want to bring that to MGM Grand Detroit so people can come and enjoy their old favorites once again.”

He’s also a big fan of the architecture and history of the city of Detroit. The Guardian, Penobscot and Fisher buildings are some of downtown’s most notable architectural wonders. “A lot of it has been lost through the supposed recession but if you walk around downtown, buildings are being revitalized,”
he said. “I just want to be a part of it.” And, for the record, he’s also on a mission to find the best Detroit cheeseburger.

MGM Grand Detroit Hotel & Casino
1777 Third St.
Detroit, 48226 DD


Prepared by Chef Orlando Santos, MGM Grand Detroit Hotel & Casino

Tiramisu (“pick me up”) is a modern version of a dessert first created in Siena, where it was called Zuppa del Duca. Only recently, with the substitution of rich mascarpone cheese for the original custard has it come to be known as a tiramisu.

4 ounces strong coffee/espresso
2 ounces sugar
2 ounces Kahlua
1 ounces coffee extract

Mix all ingredients.

10 ounces Mascarpone
2 ounces sugar
3 ounces egg whites
6 ounces cream
2 ounces yolks
6 ounces cream

Combine mascarpone and heavy cream. Warm and whip sugar and yolks. Combine egg whites and sugar over water bath heat to 180 degrees. Whip medium peaks. Whip cream medium and then fold together mascarpone, yolk mixture, meringue and whipped cream. Pipe into container and layer. 
Bake at 375 degrees until golden brown

Layers should begin: Ladyfingers, chocolate shavings, Mascarpone, Ladyfingers, Mascarpone, heavy-soaked Ladyfingers (top)

Soak each Ladyfinger with coffee syrup

Makes 1 10-inch cake or 12 glasses

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