Big culinary names make Orlando Magic wine festival worth the drive

If you're willing to splurge, that is.

click to enlarge Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is one culinary mind to expect at the Orlando Wine Festival & Auction. - U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis
U.S. Air Force Photo/Airman 1st Class Hailey R. Davis
Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto is one culinary mind to expect at the Orlando Wine Festival & Auction.


The Orlando Magic’s inaugural Orlando Wine Festival & Auction has revealed its roster of participating chefs. There are more to be announced (and hopefully they’re women), but so far, big names lead the gastronomic group, which makes this weekend celebration at the Ritz-Carlton worth the drive.

If you’re willing to splurge on pricey ticket packages, that is.

Food enthusiasts in Tampa Bay and beyond are likely familiar with Masaharu Morimoto, the Iron Chef, and James Beard Award winner Art Smith. But what about Top Chef Season 15 winner Joe Flamm, or Michelin-starred kitchen whiz Akshay Bhardwaj?

These decorated chefs will serve signature grub throughout the fest’s run, preparing dishes for vintner dinners across Central Florida March 15 and during the main event March 16.

Joining them are chefs Tony Mantuano and Justin Plank (Terralina Crafted Italian in Disney Springs), Kevin Fonzo (formerly of K Restaurant), Scott Hunnel (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), Brandon McGlamery (Winter Park’s Luma on Park), James and Julie Petrakis (Winter Park’s Ravenous Pig), and Steve Richard (Paddlefish in Disney Springs).

“The Orlando Magic are thrilled to announce these initial 12 award-winning chefs as the first commitments to participate in our Inaugural Orlando Wine Festival and Auction,” said Magic CEO Alex Martins in a statement. “We are so excited that they will be sharing their culinary talents with all of our guests while helping a very worthy cause, at-risk youth in Central Florida. The weekend promises to be one not soon forgotten.”

The Orlando Wine Festival & Auction, which will culminate with a Magic game, benefits the Orlando Magic Youth Foundation.

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