Chef Mike Leopold of Crow's Nest Marina Restaurant of Venice will be on the spot this year as the lone newcomer to the 11th annual "Taste of Boca Grande."
All 16 competing chefs besides Leopold have competed in the unique cooking challenge and fund-raiser that is The Taste. Chefs prepare gourmet food in challenging outdoor conditions for crowds of partygoers in sight of the Boca Grande Pass, which has a reputation for capricious weather around the time of The Taste.
Yet, somehow, a great time is always had by all at this pinnacle island event.
Executive Chef Jimmy Searle of the Boca Bay Pass Club once again heads the star-studded lineup of chefs at the 11th annual Taste of Boca Grande.
The Taste this year will feature 17 gourmet food stations accompanied by premium wines and alcohol from BNT Liquors and Fine Wines from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. p.m. Monday, Feb. 4, at the Boca Bay Pass Club. It will once again be held under the big tent for rain protection and better musical acoustics for the Steve Chapin Band.
Last year, The Taste raised more than $31,000 for the Harry Chapin Food Bank of Fort Myers. During the past 11 years, the Boca Grande event has raised more than $250,000 to help feed the needy. More than 30,000 families in a five-county area depend on food from the Harry Chapin Food Bank.
Tickets are $85 and can be purchased at the Boca Bay Pass Club, the Boca Grande Club, BRC Real Estate, 333 Park Ave., and from Nick Kaiser, 964-0141, and Thor Johnson, 964-0697.
What: Taste of Boca Grande
Where: Boca Bay Pass Club
When: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Feb. 4
Why: To benefit the hungry of Southwest Florida through the Harry Chapin Food Bank
On sale: At the Boca Bay Pass Club, Boca Grande Club, BRC Group and from Nick Kaiser, 964-0141, and Thor Johnson, 964-0697.
Taste of Boca Menus
Boca Bay Pass Club and Chef James Searle III: Buttermilk-fried quail and cilantro jalapeno slaw, Chef Jimmy's jerk smoked pulled chicken and barbecue mobile sandwich.
Boca Grande Club and Chef Greg Foos: Vichyssoise ,crunchy lobster and jumbo lump crab mousseline, Florida citrus, micro-celery salad, Meyer lemon panna cotta, strawberry and basil compote.
Coral creek Club and Chef Myriam Glover: Watermelon gazpacho soup,
sea scallop ceviche, pomegranate Grey Goose and chicken and seafood paella.
The Crow's Nest and Chef Mike Leopold: Shrimp and grits: wild Florida Gulf white shrimp with stone ground cheesy grits topped with bacon and scallions.
Eagle Grille & Miller's Dockside with Chef Antonio Olivero: Tuna nachos, baked won-ton skin topped with seaweed, pickled ginger ahi tuna, wasabi cream ponzu
lump crab slider and lump crab salad with brandy salsa rosa.
Farlow's on the Water and Chef John Mazza: Shrimp and Grits: Shrimp marinated in house Makers Mark barbecue sauce, grilled and placed in our homemade Asiago and Gruyere cheese grits; Chicken Del Ponce: Fresh chicken breast blackened in house seasoning and sauted with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, artichoke hearts fresh lemon juice, butter, white wine, fresh herbs and Asiago cheese served over Acini de PePe and homemade tiramisu.
The Grapevine and Chef Patty Kitchen: Gourmet cheese and condiment selection: Thomasville Tomme, Dealia's hazelnut and fig biscuit, Cypress Grove Midnight Moon, house-smoked salmon pat, Marcona Spanish almonds, Dalmatia fig spread, Bistro-blend olives.
Libby's Caf + Bar and Chef Fran Casciato: Duck "Poutinim" hash potato, cheese curd, mini-grilled Kim cheese, half-shell steamed mussel, coconut Thai curry aioli.
The Loose Caboose and Chef Jacques and Blanche Boudreau: Oven-roasted pork shoulder with cranberry apple chutney and sweet potato mash.
Patrick's Thai Bistro and Chef Patrick Vollmer: California roll with crab, avocado and cucumber, tuna roll with tuna and cucumber and Thai red barbecued pork with jasmine rice.
P.J's Seagrille and Chef J.T. Turner: Maine lobster corn chowder with fresh sage crostini.
The pink Elephant and Chefs Rob Plesh and kono Wendel: Lobster BLT, maple-braised smoked bacon, truffle Parmesan mayo, slow-roasted tomatoes, grilled focaccia,,, Thai shrimp, Asian pear salad with bok choy, Napa cabbage, cilantro and spicy peanut dressing, chocolate bread pudding with bourbon vanilla sauce.
South beach bar & Grille and Chef Greg Beno: Whitefish chargrilled with island citrus rub and finished with a blood orange salsa. House-smoked pork belly sliders: smoked pork bellies with shredded Gouda topped with Tabasco onion straws on mini Chiabatta rolls.
Prime Time Steak and Spirits with Chef Justin Bowns: Fish tacos with mahi prime sliders with beer-braised onions and raspberry crme brulee.
The Temptation Restaurant and chef Kevin Stockdale: Chilled soba noodle salad in cucumber cups, BLT bites (cherry tomatoes with bacon, Boursin, chives and parsley); New York strip crostinis (thin-sliced New York strip on grilled crostini with onion confit); ssmoked salmon with red onion, caper, and Parmesan aioli on toasted pumpernickel rounds); Dolmas (Gorgonzola, olives, tomatoes and fresh herbs); ; peanut butter cheesecake pops.
3rd Street Caf and Chef Tom O'Shields: Mini-crab cake, cappuccino of mushroom soup with truffle dill and chives, crab and asparagus with avocado cream, assorted bruscetta and sticky toffee shooters.
The WatersideGrill with Chef Debbi Castle: Florida blue crab and smoked corn cake, served on a bed of micro-lettuce with a Florida spiny lobster cream.
Participating restaurants and chefs include:
Host and Executive Chef Jimmy Searle of the Boca Bay Pass Club
Executive Chef Greg Foos of The Boca Grande Club
Executive Chef Myriam Glover of the Coral Creek Club
Chef Mike Leopold of Crow's Nest Marina Restaurant of Venice
Chef Antonio Olivero of Eagle Grille and Miller's Dockside
Exceutive Chef John Mazzo of Farlow's on the Water
Executive Chef Peter Timmins of The Gasparilla Inn and Club
Chef Patty Kitchen of The Grapevine
Chef Fran Casciato of Libby's cafe + bar of Sarasota
Owners Jacques and Blanche Boudreau of the Loose Caboose Restaurant
Chef Patrick Vollmer of Patrick's Thai Bistro
Chef Justin Bowns of Prime Time Steak and Spirits
Chef Jimmy Turner of PJ's Seagrille
Chef Greg Beno of South Beach Bar and Grille
Executive Chef Kevin Stockdale of Temptation Restaurant
Chef Debbi Castle of The Waterside Grill at Gasparilla Marina
Chef Tom O'Shields of the 3rd Street Caf.
Sponsors include: Boca Bay Pass Club, BNT Liquors and Fine Wines, Boca Beacon, The BRC Group LLC, Coral Creek Club, Fugates, Gasparilla Gazette, Gasparilla Pools, Gasparilla Properties Inc., Grande Aire Services Inc., Gulf to Bay Sotheby's International Realty, Italiano Insurance Services Inc., Key Agency Insurance, McHugh Porter Builders Inc., Michael Saunders & Co., Parsley-Baldwin Realty, Safety Harbor Builders, Statewide Pest Control Services Inc., Thoroughbred Golf Carts, US Tent, Wells Fargo Private Bank, Coral Creek Airport and Boca Grande Jet Center, Phillips Landscape Contractors Inc.