the chef's corner

Our Executive Chef, Manny Navarro, proudly represented Watercrest Lake Nona at the Inaugural Nona Chamber Festival Burger Showdown, winning first place with his delectable Bacon Jam Slider with Smoked Gouda, Yellow Tomato, Arugula and Guacamole Spread. Since 2015, Chef Manny has proudly served fresh, exquisite meals with diverse, seasonal menu selections to the residents and guests of Lake Nona.


Bring the Award-Winning Bacon Jam Slider to your table with Chef Manny’s recipe:

Award-Winning Bacon Jam Slider

2oz. seasoned Angus Beef patties

1 sliced Smoked Gouda Cheese

3" Poppy Seed Water Buns

1 Sliced Yellow Tomato

7-10 leaves of Arugula lettuce

1oz. warm Bacon Jam

1oz. guacamole


Grill beef flipping sides until cooked through (about 3min each side).  Once cooked, place cheese on top of meat until melted. To assemble burger; spread guacamole on bottom bun, place tomato and arugula on top of spread, place cooked meat on arugula and top with bacon jam. Finish with top of bun, take a big bite, and ENJOY!!


Bacon Jam Recipe:

1 ½ pounds bacon, chopped

2 teaspoons butter

4 large yellow onions, diced

1 teaspoon salt

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup sherry vinegar

1 ½ teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, divided

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pinch cayenne pepper

½ cup water

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil



Place bacon in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat until bacon is crispy and the rendered fat is foaming (about 10 minutes). Pour bacon and rendered fat into a strainer placed over a bowl to drain fat. When fat is drained and bacon is cool enough to handle, remove bacon to a cutting board and finely chop. Return pot to medium heat; drizzle 2 teaspoons reserved bacon fat and butter in pan. Sauté onions and 1 teaspoon salt until soft and translucent (7-10 minutes). Stir brown sugar, sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, black pepper, and cayenne into onion mixture; add bacon. Stir water into bacon mixture and cook until jam is a brick-brown bacon color and has a jam consistency (10-15 minutes).


Guacamole Recipe:

3 avocados - peeled, pitted, and mashed

1 lime, juiced

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup diced onion

3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

2 roma (plum) tomatoes, diced

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 pinch ground cayenne pepper (optional)


In a medium bowl, mash together the avocados, lime juice, and salt. Mix in onion, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic. Stir in cayenne pepper. Refrigerate 1 hour for best flavor, or serve immediately.