Battle heating up for Vero Top Chef honors

VERO BEACH – Twelve of Vero’s most creative and innovative chefs will converge on the Club at Pointe West on Monday, January 31 to compete in a Qualifying Event to determine who will advance to the February 28 finals of Vero’s Top Chef Challenge 2011.  Both events are fundraisers to benefit the Homeless Family Center. Guests who attend the Qualifying Event will sample an assortment of tasty treats prepared by the competing chefs and will cast their votes for their favorite culinary offering.  The  Chef participants  include 2010 Vero’s Top Chef, Chef Nick Bradbury, Quail Valley River Club, who will defend his title against  Chef Gregg DeAquair , Dockside Grill;  Chef Michele Hennessey, River Grille (2009 Vero Top Chef Champion); Chef Andrew Keller, The Club at Pointe West; Chef Brian Lavergne, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort;  Chef Raymond Mumford, Costa d’Este; Chef Bradley Willits , Cobalt; Chef Brian Jones,  Windsor; Chef Patrick Hughes, Riverside Café; Chef John Scott II, MT’s ChopHouse; Chef Jane Faraco, STAX, and Chef Adrienne Drew, Catering by Adrienne Drew. Chef Joe Faria, Executive Chef at Quail Valley River Club, is the Chef Coordinator of the event.

The top five Chefs will advance to Vero’s Top Chef Challenge on Monday, February 28 at the Quail Valley River Club.  That evening, guests will be served a seated gourmet meal featuring an entree prepared by each five of the finalists and a specialty desert.

Following the meal, in a unique twist this year, the attendees and judges will vote without knowing which Chef prepared the specific entrées. They will cast their vote for Vero’s Top Chef 2011 based on presentation, originality and taste.  There are more surprises in store for the guests at the Top Chef Challenge that evening:  Who will the judges be? How will the voting be done?   You’ll have to attend to find out the answers to these questions.

At both events Cuban Master Roller William Ochoa, who works exclusively for Enava Cigars Lounge, will roll cigars for purchase with prices ranging from $4 to $10. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Homeless Family Center.

The Honorary Chair of Vero’s Top Chef Challenge 2011 will be Debbie Macomber, one of the world’s bestselling authors, and a part-time resident of Vero Beach.

The committee, chaired by Denise Finizio and Neda Heeter, includes Tina Arnold, Gina Battle, Marilyn Case, Heather Dean, Erin McCleerey, Joe Chiarella, Rebecca Lachance, Kristen Turcone, Natasha Seeram and Colleen Liebert.

The Homeless Family Center is a partner agency of the United Way and Treasure Coast Homeless Services Council, Inc.  The center is located on 4th Street and provides Emergency and Transitional Shelter for homeless families from Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, and Okeechobee counties.

Tickets are now available for both events; space is limited, and tickets must be purchased in advance.   Tickets for the Qualifying Event on January 31 are $35, and tickets to Vero’s Top Chef Challenge on February 28 are $175 per person.

For additional information, sponsorship opportunities or to purchase tickets, visit or call 772-567-5537 x326

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