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Appetite for the Arches Challenges Local Chefs to Get Creative with Unusual Ingredients

Written By Scott Joseph On February 12, 2014

arches julieJulie Petrakis with her bread pudding created using McDonald’s ingredients.

Well, this is certainly going to be an interesting event.

On Saturday, March 1, some of the area’s top talent will gather for a fundraiser at Orlando World Center Marriott. Nothing strange there; we have fundraisers all the time around here.

Participants include chefs from the Ravenous Pig, Luma on Park, K Restaurant, the Rusty Spoon, Citrus, the Coop and Cuisiniers Catering among others. Also nothing out of the ordinary; despite being successful restaurateurs — or maybe because of it — the chefs and owners of these restaurants frequently donate their time and talent and come together to collaborate for a good cause. This time it’s for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, which provides housing, comfort and care to the families of children who are being treated in local hospitals. A really terrific organization.

But it’s that McDonald’s connection that is making this event unique. It’s called Appetite for the Arches, and all of the participating chefs have been tasked with creating a dish using ingredients found in any McDonald’s fast food restaurant. 

Now before some of you computer geeks quote the “garbage in, garbage out” maxim, remember that we’re talking about some of the most creative culinary talent in town, people who frequently turn pig ears into silk purses.

Or in the case of James and Julie Petrakis, chef/owners of the Ravenous Pig, into delicious appetizers. So you have James whipping up a brandade fritter with smoked tomato bolognese using fish filets, hamburger (yes, Mac meat), pork sausage and bacon from the McDonald’s larder. And from Julie,a caramel apple bread pudding using Cinnamelts, oatmeal raisin cookies, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

arches jamesJames Petrakis prepares his dish for the fundraiser preview.

arches chickenKathleen Blake’s Charmoula Chicken.I tasted both at a media preview earlier in the week, and both dishes were surprisingly good. Joining in the preview were Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon with Charmoula Chicken, an appetizer fashioned out of chicken breasts, hash browns and  pickled red onions. Kevin Fonzo of K whipped up Chipotle BBQ Beef Enchiladas using steak, tortillas, iceberg lettuce, onions, cheese and barbecue sauce. Fonzo allowed as to how he might have fudged a bit and used some ingredients from his restaurant’s garden. No one cried foul.

The event will be a walkabout, with the chefs stationed throughout the venue. They’ll be joined by vendors offering cocktails, also created using McD ingredients and other beverages.

Appetite for the Arches is March 1, 2014, from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Orlando World Center Marriott, 8701 World Center Drive, Orlando. Admission is $250 per person. Marriott is also offering discounted room rates. For information about the event and to reserve tickets, visit the website or call 407-206-0957, ext. 104.

arches fonzoKevin Fonzo shows off his enchilada creation for Appetite for the Arches.

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