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2011 Chef’s Gala is Saturday

Written By Scott Joseph On May 16, 2011



Some of the chefs from the 2010 Chef’s Gala. Many of them will be back at Saturday’s event at Walt Disney World.

As you prepare to slog through another week, I hope you have Saturday’s Chef’s Gala in mind. It’ll help you get through the workweek knowing that the area’s premier charitable food and wine event is waiting at the other end.


Chef’s Gala benefits Heart of Florida United Way’s local health and human services that provide food, shelter and other services to Central Floridians in need. You know there’s a need — even more so than in years past. This great organization would be worthy to just write out a generous check. But here’s a chance to contribute and also enjoy some pretty fabulous food and wine. (You can also write a generous check if you wish.)

Chef’s Gala will once again be in the ginormous World Showplace at Epcot. The voluminous venue allows guests to move about the food and wine stations without being jostled and crammed. Walt Disney World, which has hosted and sponsored the event for 19 years, always does a terrific job with setting the proper party mood. (In fact, the Chef’s Galas are very similar to the Party for the Senses events during the Epcot International Food & Wine Event, and you know how much fun those are.

Of course, for Party for the Senses, you have to buy a ticket to get into Epcot, then park in the main lot and walk all around the World Showcase to get to the Showplace. By the time you get there you’re all hot and sticky. Those attending Chef’s Gala are directed to a special area of the parking lot where air-conditioned buses wait to drive you through Epcot’s backstage area — which itself is a treat if you’ve never seen it — right to the door of the World Showplace. You arrive fresh as a daisy, especially a daisy decked out in cocktail attire (that means suits for the gentlemen, gentlemen).

And once you’re inside, you’ll be treated to a champagne and martini reception and a silent auction. Then it’s inside to the main event. There will be approximately 20 stations this year from some of Central Florida’s and WDW’s top culinary talent. There will be Kouzzina by Cat Cora and La Luce by Donna Scala (Scala’s food was my favorite last year with her scotch pudding made with real Macallen Scotch; can’t wait to see what she has this year). Also in the lineup: Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion; Napa; Todd English’s bluezoo; Primo by Melissa Kelly; Artist Point; and a bunch of others. Trust me, you’re not leaving this thing hungry. Or thirsty. The wines are always top-notch. In fact, I often find a new favorite to stock up on.

Individual tickets are $225 and couples tickets are $400. You can purchase online by going to the 2011 Chef’s Gala site.

Reception and silent auction begin at 6:45 p.m. Saturday; curtains to the main event open at 7:30. Last buses leave to take you back to the parking lot when the event ends at 10 (buses shuttle continuously throughout the evening, so you can leave whenever you’re full). I’ll be there; hope you will be, too.


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