COOK Orlando, the annual food festival and cooking competition sponsored by Human Rights Campaign, is Saturday November 9, from noon to 4 p.m. It’s an afternoon of nibbling and sipping from the participating restaurants and beverage vendors. Then, at 3 p.m., there is a cooking competition on the main stage where the contestants are presented a basket of mystery ingredients and will have to cook something to present to a panel of mean, dismissive judges who will critique their creations and say something clever but hurtful enough to make the chefs cry. I’m going to be one of the judges!
And I’m just kidding about the mean, hurtful stuff. After all, this isn’t reality tv. But it is going to be a lot of fun, and I know the competition will be fierce. (The chefs take this stuff seriously!) By the way, my co-judges will be Orlando commissioner Patty Sheehan and Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell. So if there are any catty comments you can expect them from Maxwell — that guy really has a mouth on him!
The chef from Rusty Spoon will be defending the title this year, competing against three other chefs whose names will be drawn at random at the event from among the list of participating restaurants. Some of the restaurants signed up to be part of the fun include:
- Hard Rock
- John Michael Catering & Special Events
- Gringos Locos
- Maxine’s on Shine
- Mi Tomatina
- Romano’s Macaroni Grill
- Rusty Spoon
- Shari Sushi
- Whiskey Dicks
Tickets are $40 for general admission and $100 for VIP access, which gets you up close to the competition (but not splatter-zone close) and an open bar. To get your tickets, go to this link and hit the Buy Tickets button. When you get to Step 2 of the Event Preferences, click on my name in the drop-down box. (You can put me down as the server, too — no tip is necessary.)
The event takes place at Lake Eola in the farmers market area near the corner of Central Boulevard and N. Eola Drive. There’s a parking garage across the street and on-street parking in the area. There will also be a Veteran’s Day parade that day before COOK Orlando starts, so you can combine the two events for a full day of fun.
What: COOK Orlando, HRC fundraiser featuring food and drink samples and a chef cook-off competition.
Where: Lake Eola
When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, noon to 4 p.m.; cooking competition at 3 p.m.
How much: $40 general admission, $100 VIP. Tickets available at Human Rights Campaign website.