Update: The date has been changed for the next Chef’s Night dinner with Kevin Fonzo. It is now scheduled for Wednesday, May 20. The story has been updated to reflect that change.
Here’s an event I think you should consider going to. It’s Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank, and there are so many good reasons to attend.
Not the least of those reasons is that the chef for the May 20 dinner is Kevin Fonzo of College Park’s K restaurant. A multiple James Beard Award nominee, Fonzo is considered one of Central Florida’s most talented chefs, and it’s always fun to see what he comes up with for a special dinner like this one.
And it is special because it is held in an event space right there at the Second Harvest Food Bank facility at 411 Mercy Drive in Orlando. If you’re like me, you’ve heard about Second Harvest for decades, maybe even contributed to it or attended other events on its behalf, but have never been there.
I corrected that oversight when I was invited to attend the previous Chef’s Night, in March. On that evening the special guest chef was John Rivers of 4 Rivers Smokehouse. Another thing that makes this dinner extra special is that the guest chef is assisted by students in the food bank’s culinary training program, which, during a 14-week period, teaches participants the skills to help them get a job as a culinary professional. In fact, all of the proceeds from the Chef’s Night events benefit the culinary training program. Click this link to get tickets to the event.
And for that very reasonable fee of $75, you’ll get an impressive dinner with wine. Rivers’ menu included:
Lobster stuffed fried green tomato with bread and butter pickles / watermelon rind relish
Low country shrimp and grits – Florida rock shrimp, stone-ground grits and spicy tasso reduction
Smokehouse sideboard – smoked angus brisket, mangalitsa baby back rib and shoulder, skillet cornbread and southern collard greens
Coffee-rubbed rib-eye steak – cabernet reduction, gruyere mash and maple-glazed brussels
Double chocolate brioche pudding with bacon-infused creme anglaise
Salted caramel and bourbon-infused vanilla bean ice cream (pictured at top with Rivers and members of the culinary training program prepping the plates for the guests)
It was all first rate, as you would expect from Rivers. To be honest, the wines that were offered weren’t all that, but the quality of the multi-course dinner was worth more than the $75 charge. (Hey, some of you wine merchants out there, you may want to donate some good stuff for the next dinner.)
Here’s what Fonzo has planned for the May 20 dinner.
- Tostones with Curried Cape Canaveral Shrimp Salad
- Braised Pig Cheek Croquette
- Local Oysters with Classic Mignonette
- Southern “Minestrone” with Assorted Florida Seafood, Local Beans, Lemon Verbena Pasta, Jim’s Pork Belly, Braised Local Greens, Bacon Broth
- Roast Tomazin Farms Beets, Whipped Turtle Creek Farms Goat Cheese, Pistachio Brittle, Toasted Cumin, Orange
- Wagyu Tri-Tip, Charred Onion-Potato Puree, Pickled Celery, Micro Herb
- French Toast Bread Pudding, Vanilla Anglaise, Maple Cream
Please plan to attend and support this very worthy program. Chef’s Night at Second Harvest Food Bank, 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando (corner of Old Winter Garden Road). Wednesday, May 20, at 6 p.m. $75 per person.