If you're looking for a way to experience some of the best of Central Florida cuisine while benefiting Heart of Florida United Way, the 2011 Chef's Gala is the perfect event for you. This is considered the premier fine dining and wine event of the year, with restaurants from all over the area joining forces for a great cause.
The event is hosted and sponsored by Walt Disney World and is held in the World Showplace at EPCOT. According to renowned Orlando food critic Scott Joseph, the space is "ginormous... voluminous," and perfect for the more than 1000 expected guests to comfortably move around and enjoy all the tasty offerings. Here's how Mr. Joseph explains what you can expect at this fantastic event:
"...once you're inside, you'll be treated to a champagne and martini reception and a silent auction. Then it's inside to the main event. There will be approximately 20 stations this year from some of Central Florida's and WDW's top culinary talent. There will be Kouzzina by Cat Cora and La Luce by Donna Scala... Also in the lineup: Roy's Hawaiian Fusion; Napa; Todd English's Bluezoo; Primo by Melissa Kelly; Artist Point; and a bunch of others."
Having eaten at a few of these places myself (Napa and Bluezoo are two of my all-time favorite restaurants), I can tell you right now that this event is worth every penny of the $225/person ticket price ($400/couple, which save your a bit of cash). You DO NOT need to have EPCOT admission for this event; your ticket price includes special "backstage" transporation into the park for the gala. The backstage access is a bit of a treat in itself, actually. if you've never seen it. Think of it as a little Disney bonus for your buck.
The Chef's Gala is cocktail attire -- that means suits for the gentlemen. Ladies tend to break out their finest for the evening, so expect lots of glitz and glamour. Get a ticket if you can. There are definitely worse ways to spend a Saturday evening than eating exceptional food while looking your grandest, all while helping a worthy cause.