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2016 Chef’s Gala Media Preview

This year marks Heart of Florida United Way’s 24th annual Chef’s Gala, which takes place on Saturday, May 21, will benefit local programs that provide food, shelter and other assistance to thousands of Central Floridians in need.  The event will be held at Epcot World Showcase from 6:45-10 p.m.

Recognized as the region’s premier food and wine-pairing event, the gala features exquisite cuisine from more than 20 of Central Florida’s top chefs, along with thoughtfully paired fine wines, live music and a silent auction. United Way’s largest fundraising event, Chef’s Gala supports programs in the areas of education, income, health and basic needs.  United Way is Central Florida’s most comprehensive health and human services charity and the largest provider of funds to the region’s most critical programs.

“Heart of Florida United Way is humbled each and every year by the community support we receive through Chef’s Gala to help more than 400,000 people in the tri-county region,” said Robert H. (Bob) Brown, president and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way. “Chef’s Gala is certainly one of my favorite events due to the impact we’re able to make with the help of volunteers, contributors and sponsors.”

The 2016 Chef’s Gala event co-chairs are Dr. Antonia Novello, former U.S. Surgeon General and former executive director of public health policy for Florida Hospital, and John Pisan, CFP, regional managing director and senior vice president of Wells Fargo Wealth Management Group. Top supporters include Walt Disney World, host & sponsor, and Florida Technical College, presenting sponsor.

SAMSUNG CSCPrimo hosted this years Media Preview and I was lucky enough to try some of the many dishes that will be a part of the Chef’s Gala this year.

SAMSUNG CSCBull & Bear Beef Short Rib, Syrah Wine Braised, Yukon Gold Mashed Potato
Bull & Bear, Chef Nicolas Lebas

SAMSUNG CSCA Tasting of Chocolate Ganache
The Ganachery, Chef Amanda Lauder

SAMSUNG CSCPeeky Toe Crab Salad on a Gougère, Lemon & Smoked Paprika Aioli, Shallots, Root Vegetable Chips.
Primo by Melissa Kelly, Chef Mariano Vegel

SAMSUNG CSCLoch Duart Salmon, Meyer Lemon Aioli, Green Apple Avocado Toast, Hot Pepper Jelly
Urban Tide, Chef Jared Gross

Tickets for the Chef’s Gala can be purchased online at – $275 for individual tickets, $500 for two, and $2,500 for a corporate package.

Social Media Contest!

This year, Heart of Florida United Way has announced a new social media contest.  Fans and followers have the chance to win TWO tickets to Chef’s Gala on May 21st, a $500 value.

To enter:

  • Record a 60 – second video on why you support United Way
  • Post your video on Facebook or Twitter, tagging United Way @hfuw or on and use the hashtag #ChefsGala2016
  • All videos must be submitted by Friday, April 29th
  • A panel will select the winner based on the content of the submitted videos
  • The winner will be announced on Friday, May 13th

With nearly 1,000 guests in attendance and nearly $300,000 raised in 2015, Chef’s Gala is historically United Way’s largest fundraising event, and with more than 95% of all money raised directly supporting our neighbors in need, this is a great way to give back to the community while enjoying what we all love.


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