Give Kids The World Village – O-Town MacDown 2015 Event Recap

Give Kids The World Village – O-Town MacDown 2015 Event Recap

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On Saturday, September 12, 2015, the second annual O-Town MacDown mac-and-cheese competition was presented by Give Kids The World Village to benefit kids with life-threatening illnesses. The competition consisted of professional chefs, restaurant chefs, and caterers showing off their best cheesy invention.

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The O-Town MacDown is a great event for family and friends to enjoy together because there’s not only all-you-can-eat Mac-n-Cheese, but there’s also live entertainment, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, kids’ fun zone, and vendor booths.

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One of the first dish I tasted was by Chef Jennifer M. Denlinger from Florida Chef, who made her mac-n-cheese with delicious herbs and topped off with duck. The only down side to this dish was the duck being too dry.

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A unique look at mac-n-cheese was promoted by Red Lobster, who presented their mac-n-cheese in a fried ball. It seemed to be coated by a cinnamon sugar, which was delicious and churro-like.

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My favorite dish of the day was by one of the Disney chefs whose team took delicate care for each ingredient and placed them cautiously. Not only did the dish look beautiful, but it tasted amazing as well.

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A cheese-less mac-n-cheese was even an option as Tin Roof presented Gimme S’more Mac. It consists of loud, butter, milk, white & dark chocolate, sage, brown sugar, vanilla, bacon, and marshmallows. The dish is creative and ideal for parents trying to get their children to start eating pasta because the children would be distracted by the sweets.

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Other competitors, like Smokey Bones, placed their main products onto pasta and cheese. For Smokey Bones, they specialize in Bar-B-Que; as a result, they incorporated pulled pork and either a sweet or hot Bar-B-Que sauce on top of mac-n-cheese. However, when competitors cook their mac-n-cheese in bulk containers, the pasta does not cook evenly and results in some areas being overly cooked, while other areas are uncooked.

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A wonderful organization also made an appearance and competed in the competition. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida occupied a booth and made some mac-n-cheese magic.

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Schools, like Le Cordon Bleu, promote their chefs as they worked hand-in-hand to raising money for Give Kids The World Village. Their mac-n-cheese was warm and great. With every bite, I noticed the care they placed into their dish instead of the quickness to supply the demand in the room like many other competitors did.

For more information regarding this annual event, please visit O-Town MacDown.

For more information on Give Kids The World Village, please visit Where Happiness Inspires Hope.

Katherine Nguyen is currently a Dental Hygiene student at Valencia College. She has a major in Molecular Biology and Microbiology and minoring in Health Service Administration from the University of Central Florida. She enjoyed playing soccer and was captain of an intramural team for 4 years at UCF. Photography is her favorite hobby since 2008; she is very diverse in the field, but her favorite sub-fields are portraits, culinary and maternity photography. In her free time, she tutors students from elementary to college level as well as volunteers at Camp Boggy Creek in Eustis, FL. Link: Katherine Nguyen Photography

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