Guest Chef Night Series Launches at Second Harvest Food Bank

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Stepping inside the newly expanded Second Harvest Food Bank on Mercy Drive, anyone can quickly see why the non-profit has begun stepping up its fundraising efforts. This $15 million, 100,000-square-foot distribution center and headquarters, unveiled this past March, not only offers the capacity to feed twice as many people, but its state-of-the-art kitchen prepares fresh, healthy meals for thousands of local families. In addition, its ample fridge and freezer space means that Second Harvest no longer has to turn away fresh produce or meat.

Chef XX works his magic in the kitchen.

Chef Hari works his magic in the kitchen during the Guest Chef Night kick-off on August 29.

In the months since the opening, Second Harvest has rolled out several programs that were not possible to execute in its former facility, including a culinary training program for unemployed workers. The 16-week program recently graduated its first group of students, all of whom are now employed in the hospitality industry and making above the minimum wage.

While Second Harvest gets tremendous support from local companies, including Morgan & Morgan, who donated $2 million for the new facility, the organization relies heavily on donations, big and small, from the community. To that end, the folks at the food bank have started to unveil some pretty creative fundraising events. Guest Chef Night is one of them.

Designed to showcase the culinary prowess of a different local chef each month, Guest Chef Night offers diners a fabulous, multi-course prix-fixe dinner created in Second Harvest’s own Community Kitchen.

Course number three was a chilled seasonal gazpacho.

Course number three was a Waterkist Farms tomato gazpacho with melon.

The series kicked off on Thursday, August 29 with Chefs Hari and Jenneffer Pulapaka from Cress Restaurant, who immediately won attendees over with the ceviche amuse bouche and Thai basil-infused champagne served on arrival. What followed were five more dishes, each highlighting the artful amalgamation of global flavors that have made Cress Restaurant a top culinary destination.

Plans for the next Guest Chef Night are well underway, with SeaWorld Executive Chef Hector Colon taking control of the kitchen on Thursday, September 19, 6:30-9 pm.

Tickets are $50 per person and include non-alcoholic beverages. Be sure to bring plenty of cash for local beer and specially paired wines available at the cash bar.

Guest Chef Nights are held at the Morgan & Morgan, PA Hunger Relief Center at Second Harvest Food Bank 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando.

Tickets, which sold out well in advance of the August 29th event, can be purchased here.

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