The heat was definitely turned up in the Epicurean Hotel’s theatre on Monday night during the finale of Epic Chef Showdown, benefiting Feeding Tampa Bay and presented by leading sponsor Florida Blue. Two chefs battled it out for an epic win after seven weeks of competition. Gabriel Lopez, Sous Chef of Mise en Place, and Andrew Silas, Sous Chef of The Mill, gave an amazing performance while preparing fine cuisine under the pressure of the clock. Two rounds, 30 minutes each, and an interesting combination of mystery ingredients – Velveeta, whole snapper and Vienna sausage; duck, Coca-Cola and soba noodles.
While this Epic Chef Showdown finale was not short on culinary talent, only one chef could prevail. Chef Gabriel Lopez of Mise en Place took home the victory, winning a year of bragging rights, a beautifully crafted award – named The Blitz – and a grand prize of $5,000 along with a prize package filled with VIP experiences and signed memorabilia.
Epic Chef Showdown is in its fourth year and was created by the Epicurean Hotel and Feeding Tampa Bay with a purpose to bring together culinary talents, local foodies, and community philanthropists to celebrate the common love of food and raise awareness of the local issue of food insecurity affecting hundreds of thousands of families across the bay. “Epic Chef Showdown has elevated the conversation around the important issue of food insecurity,” said Thomas Mantz, executive director of Feeding Tampa Bay. “Our mission is to strengthen our community, and food is the vehicle we use to accomplish this. Having such strong synergies with everyone involved in Epic Chef gives great lift to our work so that we can continue to feed the potential of those we serve.”
Feeding Tampa Bay named The Blitz award after one of Tampa Bay’s most well-known chefs in the restaurant community, Marty Blitz, proprietor chef of Mise en Place. Marty has shared his culinary talents with the community for the last 32 years and is admired for his dedication to giving back to his hometown. As a long-time supporter of Feeding Tampa Bay, The Blitz serves as an appropriate title.
But the competition for this respected award wasn’t the only excitement in the theatre. The Tampa Museum of Art proudly unveiled the creation of the Maryann Ferenc Culinary Arts Scholarship. Maryann Ferenc, CEO and proprietor of Mise en Place, has also been a dynamic leader in the restaurant community and a voice for our food insecure neighbors. Committed to the cause of fighting hunger for many years, Maryann won Feeding Tampa Bay’s 2018 Hunger Hero Award and is installed in the Hunger Hero Wall of Fame at the Feeding Tampa Bay facility. The newly formed scholarship will benefit Feeding Tampa Bay and pioneer its future back-to-work program through culinary training. The program will include comprehensive kitchen training, hands-on experience throughout Feeding Tampa Bay’s ten-county territory, soft skills training and job placement assistance.
The success of Epic Chef Showdown 2018 came through the support of partners like Florida Blue, Sysco, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Tampa Bay Times, among others and raised enough to create 750,000 meals for those in need in our community.
Hunger Action Month is the Feeding America network’s nationwide hunger awareness driver, designed to mobilize the public to take action on this pressing issue. As part of the Feeding America network, Feeding Tampa Bay has created ways you can draw attention to food insecurity on a local level. See the calendar below for ways to get involved in the movement to end hunger.
Each year in the month of September, Major League Baseball celebrates Roberto Clemente Day. The Tampa Bay Rays and Feeding Tampa Bay are partnering up to celebrate it with you. Bring a non-perishable food item to the Rays vs. the Athletics game on September 15.
Need ideas on what to donate? Check our most needed items!
Find serenity while fighting hunger this September – join us for a yoga session, followed by a wine in the warehouse!
Come join us on September 20th from 4:30pm – 6:30pm at Feeding Tampa Bay for Sip & Serve, a free event aimed at raising awareness for Feeding Tampa Bay’s Hunger Action Month. We will be sorting and organizing food for local Tampa Bay student backpacks, followed by a FREE yoga flow class led by Kodawari Studios, and FREE wine!
Hockey season is back! Help us kick-off the season by giving back to our community. JPMorgan Chase and Feeding Tampa Bay are partnering with the Tampa Bay Lightning to bring back the fresh food drive! You can give the 1 in 4 kids who struggle with hunger nutritious food that allows them to focus in school and live into their full potential. Bring fresh, perishable food to Thunder Alley before the Lightning vs Predators game.
Need ideas on what to donate?
Items like potatoes, apples, oranges, carrots, onions and cabbage are all great options to donate.
Did you know: For every goal scored by the Lightning during 2018-19 preseason and regular season home games, the Mosaic Company will donate $500 and for every hat trick scored, they will donate $5,000 to Feeding Tampa Bay and regional food bank partners. Look for the Feeding Tampa Bay logo inside the arena!
We know that low-income families have to make choices between food, prescriptions, gas for the car, utilities, and other household necessities. Many families qualify for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program also known as food stamps) benefits, but still only qualify for a small amount to supplement their grocery budget.
The SNAP Challenge is a yearly event hosted by Feeding America food banks to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in America. Participants are challenged to eat on no more than $4.50 per day, per person (the average allowance for food assistance programs), log their experiences, and reflect on the challenges and difficulties.
Commit to the SNAP challenge with Feeding Tampa Bay this September (23rd – 29th) and share your experience with us on social media @FeedingTampaBay.
Learn more about SNAP.
Feeding Tampa Bay’s young professional initiative – Cultivate – is hosting a trivia night at American Social. Young professionals who have a desire to strengthen their community will come together for food, fun, networking and a little bit of food bank trivia.
6:30 – 8:30pm
To learn more about trivia night and other Cultivate opportunities, email email@example.com.
Come support our friend Eric and donate peanut butter or other nut betters this Saturday! Donate, enter a raffle, meet our young hunger hero, and stay for a volunteer shift!
Bradento, FL 34207