Submitted By Beth Oliver
CHEF, the Culinary & Hospitality Education Foundation of Southwest Florida, filmed the 2021 Culinary CHEF Showdown in front of a sold-out VIP studio audience limited to 20 guests on February 1, 2021, at the Workshop demonstration kitchen in the new Luminary Hotel & Co. boutique hotel in downtown Fort Myers, Fla. VIP guests enjoyed a tasting lunch menu paired with wine, created by Silver King Ocean Brasserie’s culinary team. Silver King is the signature restaurant at Luminary Hotel & Co.
The friendly competition featured Lee County-based Chef/Restaurateur Gloria Jordan who challenged Collier County-based Corporate Executive Chef of Aielli Restaurant Group, Jason Goddard. The Chefs had just :30 minutes to create a WOW appetizer dish to present to the esteemed Judges: Chef Asif Syed, owner of 21 Spices by Chef Asif in Naples, Chef Harold Balink, owner of Harold’s in Fort Myers, and Chef Tony Ridgway, owner of Ridgway Bar & Grill, Tony’s off Third, and Bayshore Seafood Grill & Bar, all in Naples. The judges’ scorecards were immediately placed in a lockbox, to be opened during the 2021 Virtual Culinary CHEF Showdown taking place online on March 22, 2021. Supporters are invited to donate $20 per person to CHEF at www.event.gives/chef for access to view the March 22 event online beginning at 7:00 p.m. Special to-go dinners with optional wine pairings are being offered from some of CHEF’s most supportive restaurant and catering partners. Menus will soon be posted on www.chefswfl.org so supporters may order and host small in-home dinner and Showdown watch parties on their streaming devices. View a video promo of the CHEF Showdown here.
As CHEF Showdown Host, Crave Company’s Chef/Co-owner Brian Roland explained, “the chefs had to use key Mystery Basket ingredients provided by Sails Restaurant in Naples, and had access to a plentiful pantry of fresh ingredients provided by Luminary Hotel & Co. in Fort Myers.” The Culinary CHEF Showdown will be the featured entertainment during the Virtual CHEF Showdown & Auction, streaming online March 22, 2021. Virtual Showdown in-studio host Gina Birch, media personality and food and wine writer, will be joined by Auctioneer Scott Robertson who will present several travel, food, wine and experience auction lots, with no expiration dates. Find more information at www.chefswfl.org.
CHEF was established in 2004 as a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization with the mission to raise scholarship funds to benefit Collier and Lee County students in pursuing their degrees and careers in the culinary arts and hospitality industries. To date, more than $350,000 in scholarships and grants have been awarded.