On Sunday, March 24, two of our favorite chefs, Kathleen Blake of the Rusty Spoon and Jamie McFadden of Cuisiniers Catering, are teaming up for Swamp Sistas La La Charity Brunch at Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts in Winter Park. The $75 fee benefits Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida and includes the multi-course brunch as well as music by the Swamp Sistas Ensemble. Starts at 10 a.m. Tickets here.
Speaking of Second Harvest, its orange blossom Honey For Good from its retail food line, A Spoon Full of Hope, is now featured at Cask & Larder and other concession stands at Orlando International Airport.
Saturday, March 23, is another edition of United We Brunch, sponsored by the Orlando Weekly. It’s from noon until 3 p.m. at the Orchid Garden at Church Street Station. It sort of takes the concept of a walkabout food and drink event and applies it to brunch. At least 14 participating restaurants are expected. Tickets range from $45 to $80. The latter is for VIP status, which gets you in an hour earlier plus separate seating, bar and restrooms. So United but Separate We Brunch. Benefits the Second Chance of Florida foundation. Tickets here.
You can also see a video at that link of the United We Brunch held in October. Pay no mind to the voice that keeps repeating “Audio Jungle” as the music plays. That’s a that’s an audible watermark to prevent people from using music in videos without paying a licensing fee to Audio Jungle.
The 2019 edition of Beard in Baldwin is Saturday, March 30, from 7 to 10 p.m.. This is the walkabout event with a few dozen participating restaurants that benefits the James Beard Foundation’s chef education program. General admission $110, but there’s also a VIP option here for $175 that gets you to the food stalls an hour early and inside the Osprey Tavern from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets here. There’s a video there, too, produced by the Beard Foundation, which apparently pays to license its music. Be sure to look for our favorites from Tapa Toro, Cuisiniers and The Whiskey.
If you’d like something a little quieter, Bok Tower Gardens will host its Spring into Wine Walk, also Saturday, March 30, from 2 to 5 p.m. $25 for BTG members; $35 for nonmembers. Everyone at Bok Tower Gardens is a VIP. No video is available. Is there a link for tickets? Of course there’s a link for tickets.
Speaking of the Beard Foundation, it has opened registration for chefs to participate in the annual Blended Burger Project, cosponsored by the Mushroom Council. Coastal Central Florida chefs have done well the past couple of years — Toni Elkhouri of Cedar’s Cafe in Melbourne was a finalist in 2017, and The Bearded Chef in Palm Bay was a finalist last year. Both were invited to cook their burgers at the Beard House in New York. This year the foundation is sweetening the pot with $5000 in addition to the New York trip. Details.
I was sorry to learn of the death of Reid Rapport, one of Orlando’s earlier sommeliers. Rapport died on Feb. 14 at the age of 79. Many years ago, I wrote a column called “The Right Wine,” in which I would choose a dish from a local restaurant’s menu and ask a wine expert to pair it with a selection from the restaurant’s wine list. Rapport was one of my go-to sommeliers and was always eager to participate because he loved talking about wine. His career included stints at Walt Disney World, two beverage wholesalers and a partnership in Old Vines Wine Merchants retail store. Condolences to his wife, Nancy.