Â 25th Annual festival of Chefs
When an event combines tasty cuisine and a cause we believe in, we will definitely be there with forks in hand.Â Easter Seals of South Florida, is a wonderful organization that “provides exceptional services to ensure that all children and adults with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.” They help kids with disabilities learn how to take care of themselves and secure jobs.
Easter Seals threw its 25th edition of Festival of the Chefs to help raise money and awareness for itsÂ Easter Seals SouthÂ Floridaâ€™s Culinary Arts High School, a vocational training program for students agesÂ 16 through 22 with autism and other disabilities. The grand event took place in Coral Gables and was tremendously fun. Celebrity chefÂ Ingrid HoffmanÂ hosted and some of the best restaurants and dessert shops from Miami served up their culinary treats. We will highlight our favorites below:
Chef Kareem Anguin ofÂ Oceanaire Seafood RoomÂ had the best dish of the night with his Smoked Scallops and BBQ Short Ribs. The scallops were cooked to perfection, thick cut and juicy enough that a bib should ALMOST have been required. The short ribs were perfectly balanced with sweetness and a slight kick. Bravo, Chef Kareem!
Chef Luis Lopez ofÂ City Hall RestaurantÂ was our next favorite dish with his big supremely flavorful BBQ Brisket Sliders. The brisket was sweet, drenched in sauce and the bun perfectly complimented this delightful sandwich.
Ched Norman Van Aken ofÂ Tuyo RestaurantÂ served up a savory dish of alliteration with his Brazilian Creamy Cracked Conch Chowder with saffron, coconut, orange and star anise. We really enjoyed this rich and creamy take on chowder.
Chef Jorge Montes ofÂ Roho KitchenÂ had a solid Short Rib Empanada with Truffled Aioli. This delicious baked concoction was quite a treat.
We had stuffed our faces soooooo much that we did not believe we had room for dessert… that is until we went upstairs and the mere whiff of the intoxicating dessert scents wafting through the air reset our appetites so we could squeeze some tasty sugar into our already bloated bellies.
Our two favorites were:
TheÂ Donut DivasÂ enchanted us with deep fried red velvet oreos. We were stuffed to the freaking gills, but still managed to down three plates of this debaucherous confection.
TheÂ Nothing Bundt CakesÂ table was out of control with about 10 different versions of its decadent cakes that had the soft crisp texture of real cake but when one bites into the piece it is ridiculously juicy, wet and flavorful. Truly magnificent cakes!
The event was a smash with gallons of wine and champagne flowing, a silent auction with great prizes and good, down to earth and astute people that were a pleasure to meet and converse with. We can not wait until the 26th edition.