Collaboration is key to success in the kitchen and in the fight against hunger. Partnership and teamwork were on display at the most recent Chef’s Night hosted by Orange Appeal. Each Chef’s Night dinner helps raise funds for Second Harvest’s Culinary Training Program and provides students with the opportunity to work alongside some of Central Florida’s top chefs to hone their culinary skills. This dinner was no different, except that instead of one local restaurant or chef leading the charge on May 23, four chefs worked together to prepare a delicious four-course meal.
The evening began with a cocktail reception and passed hors d’ oeuvres in the atrium created by Chef Jason Wolfe from Cuisiniers Catered Cuisine and Events. Selections included avocado toast with charred corn, brisket stuffed piquillo peppers and pickled eggplant.
Once inside the community room, Christi Ashby, publisher of Orange Appeal, welcomed guests saying, “Second Harvest doesn’t just take care of our community, they provide a solution. People need jobs, good paying jobs.”
The Culinary Training Program provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry. To date, more than 270 graduates have completed the program and found a new career. The Program maintains a 100% placement rate with employers such as hotels, restaurants, and caterers. Graduates have also gone on to launch successful businesses.
Christi explained that when she decided to co-host this dinner that she made four calls and everyone said, “Yes, absolutely. How can we help?” Then, she recruited Quantum Leap Winery to pair wines and Flourish Productions to decorate the tables.
“The beauty of the evening is that this was a collaborative effort. Everyone came together under one roof in one kitchen to do some good,” said Christi. “Thank you for joining us.”
The salad course featured Chef Scott Pizzo, Chef de Cusine, High Ball & Harvest at the Ritz Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. He prepared an heirloom tomato salad with house-made cornbread croutons.
Chef Alberto Navarrete, Chef de Cuisine of La Luce at Hilton Bonnet Creek, served a sangiovese braised short rib for the main course, accompanied by English pea and celery root puree and baby carrots.
Ending the evening on a sweet note, Rabii Saber, executive pastry chef at Four Season Resort Orlando, delighted guests with a blueberry dessert featuring Florida blueberries, lemon cremeux and a pistachio white chocolate crunch.
To learn more about the 16-week Second Harvest Culinary Training Program and how to apply for the next class, click here.
To find out when the next Chef’s Night is announced, sign up here.