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Olympia Catering Blog

Chef Emeril Lagasse at The Museum of Fine Arts

Like any foodie, spending time with an iconic chef makes our hearts go pitter patter and gives us a big check mark off the bucket list. That's how we felt when we had the privilege of spending time with Emeril Lagasse and a selection of his thirteen top Florida chefs.

The Taste of Emeril's Florida event was hosted at The Museum of Fine Arts for the Association of Food Journalists. Guests included accomplished contributors of major news and magazine outlets, freelance writers, and bloggers.


"The tasting provided VISIT FLORIDA and our Partners an opportunity to showcase Florida’s food scene and tee up future opportunities to work with the journalists on stories about the chefs, Florida’s wine and food festivals, and the yet-to-be-told stories of culinary and agriculture in the Sunshine State." says Kenneth Morgan-Schleuning, PR Manager for VISIT FLORIDA.

Olympia had the pleasure of organizing all of the logistics and serving for the event. In total thirteen chefs provided both a passed appetizer and a small plate entree. No one left hungry with the extensive menu:

  • Local Manchurian (appetizer) and Florida Gumbo (entrée) from Chef Hari Pulapaka with Cress Restaurant, Deland
  • Warm Housemade Ricotta (appetizer) and Tortelloni (entrée) from Chef Vincenzo Betulia with Osteria Tulia, Naples
  • Spicy Hawaiian Ahi Tuna Poke Cones (appetizer) and Take A Bao (entrée) from Chef Ryan Vargas with Tchoup Chop, Orlando



  • Sweet Hot and Salty Clams (appetizer) and Lionfish (entrée) from Chef Jim Shirley with The Bay, South Walton
  • Cobia Tiradito (appetizer) and Sweet Corn Angolotti (entrée) from Chef Clay Conley with Buccan, Palm Beach
  • Smoked Key West Pink Prawns (appetizer) and Braised Veal Cheeks (entrée) from Chef Rick Laughlin with Salt Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island



  • Bo La Lot (appetizer) and Lobster Sous Vide (entrée) from Chef BT Nguyen with Restaurant BT, Tampa
  • Madai Sashimi (appetizer) and Cho Chee Snapper (entrée) from Chef Chau Trinh with Sushi Pop, Oviedo
  • Empanada Catalan (appetizer) and Crispy Skin Yellowtail Snapper (entrée) from Chef Henry Salgado with Spanish River Grill, New Smyrna Beach
  • Spiny Lobster Breadfuit Salad (appetizer) and Root Beer Goat (entrée) from Chef Cindy Hutson with Ortanique on the Mile, Coral Gables



  • Hamachi Crudo (appetizer) and Harissa Seared Duck Breast (entrée) from Chef Marty Blitz with Mise en Place, Tampa
  • Lamb Merguez (appetizer) and Spanish Chicken (entrée) from Chef Chris Ponte with Café Ponte, Clearwater
  • Key Lime Pie and Assortment of Chocolates (dessert) from Pastry Chef David Ramirez with Rosen Shingle Creek, Orlando

Emeril also filmed his TV show, Emeril's Florida, on location and presented chefs with his new cookbook, Essential Emeril. He discussed menus with each chef and posed for pictures.


Another attendee we were pleased to meet was Chef Art Smith, a James Beard Award winner who has cooked for Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama. He has a new restaurant opening soon in Florida.


A great night was had by all and we thank those who came to spend the evening with us.

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Author: LauraWalsh
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