Scott Joseph hosted another successful culinary venture with Battle of the Parks. Sonoma Draught House graciously provided their space to hold the event. The culinary battle was amongst 3 Chefs from Winter Park, College Park, & Thornton Park, their own restaurant Sommeliers, with the proceeds going to three charities. The proceeds benefited: American Cancer Society – Central Florida Chapter, Hope and Help and Animal Safe House Brevard County.
The Participating Chefs: Chef Kevin Fonzo from K, Chef Eduardo Remusat from Hue, Chef James Petraski from Ravenous Pig.
The Sommeliers up for the blind wine tasting challenge: Justin Sanford from K, Heidi Skehan from Hue, Chadwick Doss from Ravenous Pig.
The esteemed panel of Judges included: Heather McPherson from Orlando Sentinel, Josh Blazon from Jackson Wine Vineyard, Ted Edwards from Freemark Abbey Winery.
Backdrop: A beautiful Saturday afternoon (interrupted by a few drizzles and gusty winds), ideal location of Lake Eola; Sonoma Draught House did a fantastic job of transforming their patio to an outdoor kitchen; Viking provided the appliances befitting any ‘Iron Chef’ kitchen standards.
Beautiful and suavely dressed foodies mingled over Wine and Food Pairing stations before the battle began. The food was prepared by K Restaurant, The Ravenous Pig, 310 Park South, Hue, and Sonoma Draught House. Wines were sponsored by Matanzas Creek, Freemark Abbey, Byron, Carmel Road, Edmeades, Atalon, La Jota, La Crema, Murphy-Goode, Kendall Jackson, and Tenuato di Arceno.
Each of these restaurants provided delicious mini hors d’oeuvres; an apt preview of what the kitchens are offering on a daily basis in their restaurants. There was a wide assortment of wines ranging from whites to bolder reds.
The Sommelier blind tasting challenge created quite a response from the audience. Hearing them confirm their opinion of the country, grape, and year of the wine; it was mind-boggling. In the end, Heidi Skehan from Hue Restaurant won the challenge, hands down. It was quite impressive watching her share the verdict with cool confidence.
Chefs were given 40 minutes to create and plate entrees with the secret Ingredient, Fish. The culinary battle began with Chef Eduardo of Hue taking the lead in cooking, followed by Ravenous Pig, and lastly by K Restaurant. Suddenly, there was a frenzied activity behind the work stations, frying, boiling, chopping, etc. The chefs had only 40 minutes to make their creations, yet none of the teams expressed any signs of pressure.
The energy and vibe are best recreated by the photographs I managed to take amidst all the action.
It truly was a rare treat being able to watch Orlando’s finest chefs going head to head with each other in a live culinary challenge. Each of the team worked calmly, diligently, keeping their workstations as clean as their own personal kitchens. I was in awe!!
Chef James Petraski from Ravenous Pig won the challenge by 1 point. A well deserved honor indeed. Each of the teams created gorgeous presentations in such a short time. I only wish I got the opportunity to taste their delectable offerings.
It was indeed an entertaining theatrical display of culinary showmanship, Orlando residents have ever seen. Many thanks to Scott Joseph for giving ordinary mortals, like me an opportunity to experience firsthand the exciting world of Orlando’s culinary masters.
A special thanks to Sonoma Draught House for their exceptionally sweet and courteous customer service. The entire experience was made memorable with their gracious and thoughtful staff.
If you haven’t yet visited these exceptionally talented Chef’s restaurants; I highly recommend you do so; there is no better time than the present. Listed below is their individual contact information via Urbanspoon.