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Big Beards

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Central Florida James Beard Nominees Charity Dinner

6:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 29
Cress Restaurant
103 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand,

Call it a gastronomic all-star game, a midsummer classic bringing five of Central Florida’s finest chefs together under one roof for one night. The names – Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Wine Bar, Scott Hunnel of Victoria and Albert’s, James and Julie Petrakis of the Ravenous Pig and Hari Pulapaka of Cress Restaurant – are notable in their own right, but more so for having been nominated this year by the James Beard Foundation for Best Chef: South (with the exception of Fonzo, who was nominated in 2010). The James Beard Award, Oscar of the food world, may have gone to Stephen Stryjewski of New Orleans’ Cochon, but come Monday at Cress Restaurant, the local quintet will prepare an epic feast the likes of which DeLand has never seen.

The seven-course dinner with wine pairings will feature applewood-smoked bison, bluefin tuna and scallop tartare with caviar, pickled beef tongue and chicken bisteya with tikka masala ice cream … and those are just the amuse-bouches. Goat rib, oxtail tortellini, Spanish octopus and roasted snowy grouper are but a few of the dishes that await guests who pay the $275 ticket price. All proceeds benefit Share Our Strength (strength.org/orlando), which directly supports the Coalition for the Homeless and the Second Harvest Food Bank, and will join funds raised by the Aug. 6 Taste of the Nation event at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

The dinner coincides with Cress Restaurant’s third anniversary, and it promises to be a memorable one. Look for a post-meal account on our Salivation Army blog next week. For event details and tickets, go to cressrestaurant.com.

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