Chef’s Gala is May 4

Written By Scott Joseph On April 26, 2013

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The 21st annual Chef’s Gala will be held Saturday, May 4, in the World Showplace at Epcot. The event, one of the area’s premier food and wine gatherings, benefits Heart of Florida United Way. 

The evening will begin with a Champagne and martini reception, plus silent auction, at 6:45 p.m. Chef’s begin serving at 7:30 and continue until 10 p.m. Guests are bused from the Epcot parking lot to the gala’s venue through Epcot’s backstage thoroughfare. 

Chef’s Gala includes a mix of Disney talent and local culinarians. Among the restaurants represented this year are Cress, Cask & Larder, La Luce by Donna Scala, Primo by Melissa Kelly, Siro: Urban Italian Kitchen, Sanaa, Capital Grille and Flying Fish Cafe. Guests can also get a reminder taste of the cuisine from California Grill, which is currently closed for renovations, and be among the first to see what to expect from Eddie V’s, the Darden acquisition with a location under construction on Restaurant Row.

At a media preview lunch at Primo earlier this month, I tasted some of the dishes that will be served, including poached Spanish octopus escabeche from Napa at the Peabody Orlando, braised Wagyu short rib with toasted faro from Primo, and arugula malfatti with fava beans from Siro. All of it delicious.

I also had a chance to talk with the gala’s co-chairs: Simon Hemus, chief operating officer for Tupperware; and Dr. Antonia Novello, executive director, public health policy at Florida Hospital (and former U.S. Surgeon General).

“Last year we raised $219,000,” said Hemus, who is co-chairing for the second year in a row, “and this year our goal is to raise $250,000, which in itself is a substantial amount of money.”

The money raised from ticket sales and silent auction items go to fund United Way’s programs, including aiding homeless children. “If you think about the people who are homeless in the State of Florida,” said Novello, “six out of 100 children are homeless. We help them get better with this Chef’s Gala.”

Tickets are $275 per person or $500 for a couple. Attendance is limited to 1000 people.

You can purchase tickets and see a full list of the participating restaurants at the Heart of Florida United Way’s website.

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