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Meet the Celebrity Chefs for Norman’s Gala for a Lot Less Than $1000

Written By Scott Joseph On August 22, 2013

As you may have heard, the 10th anniversary of Norman’s restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton will be celebrated Saturday with a black tie gala dinner featuring Norman Van Aken, Emeril Lagasse, Dean Fearing, Jeremiah Tower and Charlie Trotter. You may also have heard that the dinner, which will also feature five master sommeliers, has a price tag of $1000.

If you had your heart set on meeting the coterie of celebrity chefs but just don’t want to cough up a thou, here’s an alternative. Friday evening, August 23, from 5 to 7, the chefs will participate in a meet-and-greet event at the restaurant. They will sign cookbooks (their own, I suspect) for guests, who will nibble on passed hors d’oeuvres and sip on cocktails. Cost for the meet-and-greet is $50 (it’s free for those who have already paid for the gala). The tux won’t be necessary for the Friday event; dress as you normally would for dinner at a swanky restaurant.

As for the master sommeliers, a few may be in attendance, I’m told. So, some somms.

For ticket information contact Laura Errington at 407-393-4343.

By the way, during Saturday’s gala, two Norman’s employees will be recognized for being with the restaurant the whole 10 years. Hector Oliva, a food runner, worked in Van Aken’s original Norman’s, in Coral Gables, and came to Orlando to open the restaurant at the Ritz.

Cory Royer started out busing tables and worked his way up through the ranks to his current position of dining room captain and sommelier (a level two certification). Royer says that he has even cooked alongside Van Aken for special events. 

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