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Beard Award Nominees – Past and Future – Collaborate on Benefit Dinner

Written By Scott Joseph On February 20, 2014

jbfdinner atirum

On Tuesday, the eight past Central Florida semifinalists for a James Beard Award — four of whom would learn the next day that they are once again up for the Best Chef South honor — gathered at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park to prepare a six-course dinner to benefit the foundation’s scholarship fund. Participants included  Scott Hunnel, Victoria & Albert’s; Kevin Fonzo, K restaurant; James and Julie Petrakis, Ravenous Pig; Hari Pulapaka, Cress; Kathleen Blake, Rusty Spoon; Brandon McGlamery, Luma on Park; and Henry Salgado, Spanish River Seafood Grill. 

Norman Van Aken served as master of ceremonies and Dhane Chesson of Rioja curated the wine selections and guided guests through the pairings. Among the 152 attendees were representatives from the Beard Foundation, including president Susan Ungaro, and members of Visit Orlando, which orchestrated the event. Here are some of the scenes from the evening.

jbfdinner aguelVisit Orlando president and CEO George Aguel greeted the guests.

jbfdinner normanNorman Van Aken left his chef’s whites at home and served as master of ceremonies for the dinner.

jbfdinner preproomThere wasn’t enough room in the Alfond’s kitchen, so some of the chefs did their prep work and plating in one of the hotel’s large meeting rooms.

jbfdinner mcglamery appsBrandon McGlamery readied one of the hors d’oeuvres that were passed to the guests who were gathering in the outer room.

jbfdinner hunnelScott Hunnel supervised the plating of his dish, which was the dinner’s first course.

jbfdinner richieHunnel invited Greg Richie of Cityfish and the as-yet-unnamed restaurant that will replace Hue in downtown Orlando, to assist with his course.

jbfdinner pulapakaHari Pulapaka served arancini to the mingling guests.

jbfdinner julieJulie Petrakis had the dessert course, but she started prepping it before the dinner started.


Jbfdinner pabloWinemaker Pablo Orio of Bodegas Riojanas arrived from Spain just moments before the dinner began. He inspected the wines that would be served during the evening. 

jbfdinner plated octopusThe first course was Hunnel’s octopus with preserved artichokes and black garlic aioli, paired with a 2012 Dinastia Vivanco Blanco.

jbfdinner soupPulapaka’s course was ras el hanout-spiced pumpkin chowder with cauliflower pearls, preserved Meyer lemon, saffron and savory baklava. Luis Alegre Rioja Rosado, 2012, a lovely rose, made a perfect pairing.

jbfdinner grouperSalgado offered confit of grouper cheek, charred white asparagus and three sauces (verde, tinta and vizcaina). The wine was Puerta Vieja Crianza, 2010.

jbfdinner kitchenJbfdinner kitchen line

jbfdinner kitchen line2It was all hands on deck as Brandon McGlamery and James Petrakis’s course was plated in the kitchen via an assembly line. He served smoked Ocala rabbit tortelli with Pine Island shrimp sugo, romanesco conserva and hazelnut granola. Chesson selected a 2007 Marques de Murrieta Reserva.

jbfdinner rabbitKathleen Blake and Kevin Fonzo collaborated on a dish they called Jamison Farm lamb three ways — stuffed tender, sweetbreads and bacon marmalade. Bodegas Fernando Remirez de Ganuza “Fincas de Ganuza” Reserva (2006) was the wine.

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