Healthy and Fun Fare at Florida Hospital’s Gourmet Soiree


The Second Annual Gourmet Soiree at Rosen Shingle Creek was full of old and new friends, all of them excited to roll up their sleeves and get cooking to support Florida Hospital and Healthy 100. At this unique interactive event, each table of eight guests had its own cooking station and assisted a local chef in preparing a healthy meal for the entire table.  While every chef focused on the same three center-of-plate items — portobello mushrooms from FreshPoint, chicken breasts from Sysco and strip steaks  from Creekstone Farms — the pantry items donated by Whole Foods Market made for endless variations on the theme.


Guests “shopped” for ingredients for their table’s dishes

The guests at our table were no strangers to healthy eating.  Our chef was Sarah Cahill, a holistic nutrition coach and, along with garden coordinator Brad Jones and Chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaraunt and Winebar, a driving force behind the Edible Schoolyard at Orlando Junior Academy in College Park. Through an award-winning edible garden on school grounds and hands-on cooking instruction in the classroom, OJA integrates lessons from the garden and the kitchen into their teaching curriculum.


OJA Edible Schoolyard Chef Sarah Cahill

Our menu for the evening included chicken with a blueberry barbecue sauce, and Chef Sarah wasted no time putting OJA Board Member Janice Banks to work pounding chicken breasts.


Janice Banks works out frustrations with the help of a ladle

Brad Jones and I were in charge of the blueberry barbecue sauce, which was easy to make and full of fresh, Florida blueberries.   The complete recipe is at the end of this post.


Brad Jones shows off the fruits of our labor

The meal and the evening ended with a demonstration by Rosen Shingle Creek’s Executive Pastry Chef, David Ramirez. His artistic dessert (pictured at top) featured a blackberry panna cotta flanked by scrumptious nuggets of chocolate mixed with Omega-rich flax seeds — a sweet ending to a superb evening.

Chef Sarah Cahill’s Blueberry BBQ Sauce

Heat 2t olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add 1 chopped onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic, and 1T fresh grated ginger. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened, about 8 minutes.

Add 3 cups fresh blueberries, 1/4c maples syrup, 2T cider or white wine vinegar, 2T balsamic vinegar, 2T Worcestershire sauce, 2T molasses, 1t lemon juice, 1/2t ground cinnamon, 1/2t ground cumin, 1/2t chili powder, 1/2t smoked paprika or cayenne, 1/2t salt, 1/2t black pepper and stir to combine.  Simmer over medium-low heat until sauce is slightly reduced and bubbling, 5-7 minutes.

Remove skillet from heat and allow sauce to cool slightly.  Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a regular blender), puree until smooth.


(left to right) Chef Kevin Fonzo, Brad Jones, Sarah Cahill, Chef Robert Irvine of The Food Network, OJA students with Principal Nicole Agbonkhese