Easter Seals' Festival of Chefs
Event Chef Chair Jose Mendin and Loreen Chant

More than 40 top local chefs, wine, spirit and dessert vendors joined forces at the Rusty Pelican Grand Ballroom in Key Biscayne for an ultimate foodie fete and fundraiser, drawing over 650 guests in attendance. The annual event raised $95,000 and paid tribute to South Florida's culinary scene with an evening of featured signature dishes, wine & spirit tastings, silent auction and entertainment, all to benefit the Easterseals South Florida Culinary Arts High School, a vocational training program for students with autism and other disabilities. At Festival of Chefs, Easterseals culinary students showcased their abilities with a signature dish and incredible hospitality.

A special thanks to all the following chef and dessert participants who truly made Festival of Chefs a success this year: Chef Chair Jose Mendin of Pubbelly Sushi; Host Chef Jim Pastor of the Rusty Pelican; Ben Potts of Beaker & Gray; Chef Carlos Torres of BLT Steak Miami Beach; Chef Santiago Gomez of Cantina La Veinte & Tacology; Chef Adrianne Calvo of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar; Chef Giovanni Fernandez of El Rey de la Paella; Carolina Quijano of Exquisito Fine Chocolates; Derek Kaplan of Fireman Derek's Bake Shop; Chef Saul Ramos of Fooq's Miami; Chef Cake of Gaijin Izakaya by Cake; Chef Fernando Desa of Goya Foods; Chef Anthony Garcia of King of Racks BBQ at The Wharf; Letty Alvarez of LA Sweetz; Chef Assia Dahrouch of Lemoni Cafe; Chef Sean Brasel of Meat Market; Chef Charlie Fajardo of Morton's The Steakhouse; Chef Ivan Orza of Neme Gastro Bar; Chef Jorge Allendes of Nikki Beach Miami Beach; John and Monica Reckert of Nothing Bundt Cakes; Chef Rocco Carulli of R House; Chef Jorge Montes of Roho Kitchen; Chef Angel Leon of Seaspice; Chef Alain Lemaire of Sensory Delights Catering; Chef Pedro Lopez of Soyka; Raceni Richards of The Salty Donut and Chef Michael Cerny of Truluck's.

Their signature dishes were complemented by a variety of wine and spirits courtesy of Acqua Panna, Albarino Valtea, Artisan Don Bernadino Wines from Spain, Atlantico Rum, Casillero del Diablo, Coquito Trigo, Department Coffee, Familia Traversa Wines, Fashion TV, Health-Ade Kombucha, Maestro Dobel Tequila, Ponte Vecckio, Rums of Puerto Rico, San Pellegrino, Santos Sangria, Scavi & Ray, Steak & Leaf by Tony Guerra, Stefano's Wine & Liquor, Sysco, The Tank Brewing Co., Veza Sur Brewing, Villiger Cigars North America and Zyr Vodka. The event will also feature local award-winning desserts & refreshments from Exquisito Fine Chocolates, Fireman Derek's Bake Shop, The Salty Donut, Nothing Bundt Cakes and more. In addition, a silent auction of original paintings, sculptures, multimedia artwork, travel, vacations, fine jewelry, and restaurant experiences promises for an altogether memorable evening.

Event sponsors included Edgar Allen Corporate Society Member, Ryder System Inc., The Rusty Pelican, Barry Solomon Family Trust, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Cook Prep Eat, Holland & Knight, Northern Trust, Royal Caribbean International, Solstice Point Partners, TD Bank, Victoria Cookware, EY, Goya Foods, Hutzler Foundation, Marlins Foundation, Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso & Spier P.A., Security Alliance, Comcast NBC Universal, Hancock, Askew & Co LLP, Mr. Greens Produce, AC Graphics, Brustman Carrino PR, Cox Media Group Miami, Creativas PR, Food Comma Hospitality Group, Rockaway PR, SocialMiami.com, The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald and Tony Guerra Miami.

Easterseals South Florida Culinary Arts Students

Elizabeth and Bryce Epstein

Chef Michael Jacobs (Strategic Hospitality Group Miami) and Natalie Jacobs

Guerrero Veruzka and Yanet Lopez of Health-Ade Kombucha

David Rossato and Kaylee Nieves of The Salty Donut

Nanette Molina, Alberto de Cardenas, and Cynthia Chipi

Mel Soucy and Robert Sortiza

Pubbelly Sushi Team

Malerie Sloshay and Lucy Hernandez

Chef Principe, Craig Rasile, Loreen Chant, and Alexandre Zanussi

Executive Chef Rocco Carulli and
Chef Yasmany of R House

Ruth and Steve Marcus, Elizabeth and Bryce Epstein

Mirelys Castillo

Maria Paladi, Maria Guerra, and Chef Assia Dahrouch
of Lemoni Cafe

Ben Potts and John Calderon of Beaker & Gray

Phil Sebok, Marcela Gomez, and Ralph Yammie

Chef Jorge Montes of Roho Kitchen, Chef Santiago Gonzalez of Tacology and Cantina La Veinte, and Adolfo Jimenez

Stephanie Booker, LG Jackson, and Dave Gilinsky

Evelyn Luna, Scott Chester, and Marianna Rodriguez-Gaunard

Chef Anthony Garcia of King of Racks BBQ at the Wharf Miami

Henry Buzgon, Bryce Epstein, and Fred Krei

Johnathan Miguez, Cynthia Chipi, and Michael Ramirez

Event photo booth fun!

Camilo Velandia

Event Sponsors Signage

Laura Mantanri and Chef Derek Kaplan of
Fireman Derek's Bake Shop

Mariana Rodriguez-Gaunard and
Manny Gaunard

Chef Fernando Desa, Goya Foods

Atlantico Rum