Field to Feast 2018 still

It was another fun event Saturday at the fifth annual Field to Feast, sponsored by Edible Orlando with major support by Walt Disney World Resort. The event was held on the grounds of Long & Scott Farms in Zellwood and featured 11 chefs from various Disney restaurants.

(Watch the video above for some of the sights and sounds (if not the actual tastes) of this year's event.)

Field to Feast is a fundraiser for Kids Cafe Program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, an after-school meal service that provides food to needy children in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties. Edible's publisher, Kendra Lott, announced that the five Fields to Feast have collectively raised over $100,000 for the program.

Pharmacy cocktail

It's been a long time since we've gotten together and I think we're all suffering from Supper Club deficiency. So here's what I'm prescribing: a Scott Joseph Pop Up Dinner at Pharmacy.

We thought we'd lost Pharmacy just a few months ago, and indeed it closed for a few days. But it's back with original chef Loren Falsone (named to Food & Wine's 2000 Top Ten Chefs list) and head pharmacist, um, beverage director Dominick Tardugno. They're eager to show everyone the new old place.

So let's have a pop up event to celebrate. We'll gather on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at 6:30 p.m. for a Discovery Dinner that Falsone will assemble from the produce and products of local farms. Tardugno will have a pairing for each course, as well as a special cocktail to commemorate St. Patrick's Day.

If you remember the dining experience of The Table, the former sister restaurant to Pharmacy that featured one dinner nightly with the guests sitting at one table, it will be something like that. In fact, we'll be seated around The Table's table. And also like the experience of The Table, the menu won't be revealed until you arrive -- that's the pop up part.

Tickets are $115 all in (no insurance co-pay) and can be purchased at this link. It's a large table, but seating is limited, so don't delay.

Pharmacy is at 8060 Via Dellagio Way, Orlando.

Peters Chinese sign

The Lunar New Year celebration begins Friday when the Year of the Dog is ushered in. Dog years are my favorites, even though they seem longer than the others.

Sometimes called Chinese New Year, the event is celebrated by several Asian countries. It's never on the same day but rather is tied to the occurrence of the first new moon between January 1 and February 20. The moon will be newest on Feb. 16 this year.

So you might see some celebrations around town, especially in the area of Mills 50 where there is a high concentration of Asian businesses and restaurants. Look for lanterns, red ribbons and firecrackers. There might be dragons.

Beard Rise

The James Beard Foundation announced the semifinalists for its 2018 awards in Chicago Thursday, and for the first time in many years no Central Florida chefs were included in the Best Chef: South category.

Among the 20 semifinalists, five are from Florida, including Lindsay Autry, The Regional Kitchen & Public House, West Palm Beach; Clay Conley, Buccan, Palm Beach; Brad Kilgore, Alter, Miami; Lauren Macellaro, The Reading Room, St. Petersburg; and Niven Patel, Ghee Indian Kitchen, Miami.

Regional judges, a panel comprised mainly of restaurant critics and food journalists, will vote for their top five candidates in each category. The five finalists will be announced March 14 with the winners revealed at a black-tie gala in Chicago on May 7.

Central Florida has never had a chef advance to the finals, but not having one, or several, on the long list is rare. Considering the favorable press that local restaurants have been receiving recently, including an article in Sunday's New York Times that listed several restaurants whose chefs would be Beard worthy, this is a disappointing setback.

The full list of nominees may be seen at the James Beard Foundation webpage.