It should be a fun afternoon this Sunday, March 27, on South Eola Drive. That’s the date and the place for COOK 2011, a showcase of food and drink from area restaurants, plus a cooking competition among four of the participating chefs. Which four? No one will know until the day of the event when the names will be drawn at random.
The contest will consist of three Quick Fire challenges, with the last remaining chef receiving the COOK 2011 Challenge Champion Award. Judging the event will be visiting celebrity chef Yigit Pura, winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Just Desserts and destined to be a favorite solution in future New York Times crossword puzzles; Joe Solomonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which will benefit from the event’s proceeds; and Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer, who knows a thing or two about food. (Now, you just hush — I meant that according to his wife, Karen, the mayor is quite a good cook.) Oh, and looky here — it says in this press release that I’ll be one of the judges, too. Bob Frier, Fox-35 news anchor, will serve as the host.
While the competition is going on, you can wander about and sample food, wine and cocktails from some of the participating restaurants. Some of the restaurants that will be there include: Funky Monkey, HUE, Shine Neighborhood Kitchen, Gringos Locos, Shari Sushi and Tako Cheena, the soon-to-open eatery from Pom Pom.
In addition to the fun and festivities on Sunday, event planners have a VIP dinner scheduled for Saturday night at The Mezz, the new entertainment space in the Sanctuary condominiums at 100. S. Eola Ave. The dinner is 7 to 11 p.m. The COOK 2011 challenge on Sunday is 1 to 5 p.m. The competition and food and drink tasting on Sunday will be on the Eola Drive between Pine and Church Streets. (By the way, here’s news about two new restaurants that may be going into the former Graze and Sanctuary Diner spots.)
Tickets for the Sunday food and wine tasting and Quick Fire Challenge are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. VIP seating is $75 per person. Tickets for Saturday’s VIP dinner only are $150. Tickets for both the Quick Fire Challenge VIP seating and the VIP dinner are $200 per person. All proceeds will benefit the Human Rights Campaign’s programs to advance equality for LGBT people around the country.
Click this link to go to the COOK Orlando website where you can purchase advance tickets.