Chef's Gala is One of Area's Best Foodie Fundraisers

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One of the area’s top foodie fundraisers is Saturday, May 15. Heart of Florida United Way’s Chef’s Gala is always a fun event, loaded with lots of good food prepared by some of the area’s best cooks. And, of course, lots of premium wines to go with it.

This year marks the 18th annual Chef’s Gala, and as in recent years, it will be held at Epcot’s World Showplace. Even better: you don’t have to pay extra to get into Epcot, and at 9 o’clock you can slip outside the Showplace and watch Illuminations.

Don’t miss the silent auction this year. Among the items you’ll find a special dinner package. It’s a dinner for six prepared by Mary Recchia in her South Bay home, with her husband, Bob Brown, who is also the president of HFUW, standing in as head waiter. Each course will be accompanied by a wine, with wine pairings personally selected and poured by master sommelier John Blazon. And I’ll be at the dinner to serve as host (and serve the plates, too, if Bob falls behind). I hope you’ll bid on the dinner. Mary is an extraordinary cook, and what a rare opportunity to have a master sommelier as your personal wine guide. And I’m promising to bring some of my homemade limoncello.

The event is from 6:45 to 10 p.m.; tickets are $200 per person and can be purchased at Heart of Florida United Way’s Web site or by calling 407-429-2129. When you arrive, follow the directions for the special parking area at Epcot. Buses will take guests to the event via the backstage roads, which is kind of a treat in itself.

Here’s a list of some of the participants at this year’s Chef’s Gala:

Artist Point, Disney's Wilderness Lodge

The Capital Grille

Cítricos, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Coral Reef Restaurant, Epcot®

Eleven, Reunion Resort

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
Funky Monkey Wine Company

Harmony Golf Preserve

Kouzzina by Cat Cora®, Disney's BoardWalk
La Luce by Donna Scala, Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Mama Melrose's Ristorante Italiano, Disney's Hollywood Studios™

Primo by Melissa Kelly, Grande Lakes Orlando

Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant

Sanaa, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Todd English's bluezoo

Tony's Town Square Restaurant, MAGIC KINGDOM® Park

The Turf Club Bar and Grill, Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Tusker House Restaurant, DISNEY'S ANIMAL KINGDOM® Theme Park

Urban Flats® Flatbread and Wine Co.

The Wave…of American Flavors, Disney's Contemporary Resort

Other sponsors include Harriett & Hy Lake, Bright House Networks, CNLBank, FIS, General Dynamics, OUC–The Reliable One, Publix Super Markets, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Lawton Printers, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Bank of America, Fifth Third Bank, JCPenney, L3 Communications and the University of Central Florida. Media sponsors include WFTV 9 Family Connection, FirstMonday, Orange Appeal, Smooth 103.1 WLOQ, Telemundo Orlando and Winter Park Magazine.