Philadelphia

Photos: The Florida Keys and Key West Cook-Off in Philadelphia

A touch of the Florida Keys came to Philadelphia on Monday night March 6th. The first-ever Philadelphia Florida Keys and Key West Food Influencer Cook-Off took over Walnut Hill College – 24 of the region’s top radio/TV personalities, chefs and food influencers got behind the stove and cooed off for a chance to win a five night six day vacation.

keys

The sold-out event took over the entire building and had over 120 people in attendance.

Keys
Some notable names included Pat Croce, iHeart’s Nicole Michalik, Fox 29’s Alex Holley, WOGL’s Marilyn Russell, WMMR’s Marisa Magnatta, TV chef Roberta Pipito, Tony Luke and others. On top of the cooking portion, four bartenders competed in the cocktail competition from Vesper, Dim Sum House, Fine Palate and Whetstone Tavern.  HD1_7037 (Custom)

Guest were serenaded when they arrivedHD1_7042 (Custom)

The setting was perfect for local celebrity and influencer cheftestant cook off as Walnut Hill College is a culinary school which

HD1_7024 (Custom)

has full size industrial kitchens,

HD1_7411 (Custom)

as well as dining areas for serving

B

Chef Bobby Stoky from famed Marker 88 restaurant in the Florida Keys worked with the students and was a judge in the competition. Chef Bobby prepared a Red snapper, which the cheftestants were to prepare as part of the competition.
HD1_7422 (Custom)
HD1_7472 (Custom)
Local son Pat Croce who has several spots in the Florida Keys hosted the Keys Cocktail Competition. The idea behind the cocktail contest was to give a hard-working, over-worked, talented bartender a chance to get away “from it all.” The winner walked away with a trip to Key West!

B

Joe Maiellano and Sarah Maiellano, Thrillist, Emily Tharp, Her Philly and Caitlin McCullough, Restaurant School at Walnut Hill

B

Four bartenders from around the region and stirred up Keys-inspired cocktails including Kimberly Shurig – Fine Palate
Mother of the Dragon – Tequila and dragon fruit with a hint of habanero-infused simple syrup over fresh ice garnished with lime peel dragon fruit skin and cilantro. Here with Courtney Dow, owner of Fine Palate and Chef Vince Joseph

B

Ashley Serrate, NewmanPR and Carl Becker, executive VIP Walnut Hill College

B

Linda Vertlieb, Frugal Philly Mom

B

Paxton Reese and Alex Holley, both of Fox 29

B

LeAnne Lindsay, Tinsel and Tine (one of the best and consistent blogs with longevity) and Marisa Magnatta, WMMR

HD1_7204 (Custom)
Alex Holley has a favorite apron

HD1_7228 (Custom)
Barry Johnson and Cheftestant Ernest Owens, Philly Mag

HD1_7222 (Custom)

His pie was delicious, his snapper – hot and spicy

B

Seamus Banning, Vesper (winning bartender with his Black Pearl drink)

B

Maria Newman, Pat Croce, Andy Newman, Senior Vice President Newman PR and Jeff Sorg, CEO of Pat Croce & Company

HD1_7253 (Custom)

 

keys

Michelle Curtis – Whetstone Tavern
Papa’s Punch
In honor of Hemmingway’s fishing nickname, this is a refreshing rum punch with flavors of basil, strawberry and pineapple. Perfect for drinking after a long day in the Florida sun.

HD1_7286 (Custom)

Reporter Jenny DeHuff wrote a humorous piece for her paper The Philly Voice

B

Steve McCann and Chris Balbi of PhillyGayCalendar won for the best Snapper – mango chutney tossed with coconut and jalapeño with a secret ginger kick.

HD1_7324 (Custom)

 

B

Iris McCarthy, The Palate Princess

HD1_7393 (Custom)

Aversa PR Reps Jamyra Perry and Karianna Simpkins

HD1_7397 (Custom)

HD1_7434 (Custom)
Judging was tough

B

Pat Croce, who judged the drink competition with the winner Seamus Banning, Vesper. Who created a drink called The Black Pearl. The Black Pearl
Eucalyptus, bitter citrus and spice affably dance with molasses in this dark rum cocktail, though its color remains as mysterious as The Black Pearl

HD1_7488 (Custom)

Chef Bobby Smoky
Steve McCann
and Chris Balbi of PhillyGayCalendar won for the best Snapper – mango chutney tossed with coconut and jalapeño with a secret ginger kick.

HD1_7492 (Custom)
Colleen Kennedy of Souffle Bombay was the overall winner for both her Key Lime Pie and Snapper

zColleen Kennedys Key Lime Pie (Custom)Colleen’s Key Lime Pie

Links to other coverage
https://phillystylemag.com/photos-philadelphia-florida-keys-and-key-west-food-influencer-cook-off
http://www.metro.us/philadelphia/philadelphia-florida-keys-and-key-west-food-influencer-cook-off-photos/zsJqch—KlOVe3gPtQHOY/