For Hometown News
VERO BEACH -- A sold out crowd of approximately 350 guests enjoyed the Vero's Top Chef Qualifying event on Jan. 28 at the Vero Beach Elks Lodge.
Twelve savory chefs competed for the finalists' spots and three dessert chefs vied for the Dessert Champion title.
Four chefs were named as finalists to advance to the Challenge Finale on Feb. 25 at The Club at Pointe West. Those chefs moving to the finale are chef Chris Bireley of Osceola Bistro, who served pan roasted hanger tenderloin steak and truffle fries; chef Greg Hepler of Pelican Diner, who served cheddar mac and cheese topped with sweet fire smoked barbeque pork; chef Lou Kolbauer of Wild Thyme Catering, who served Petit shrimp and fish cake with spicy wasabi mayo; and Chef Bruce Turner of The Tides, who served Gulf Coast Shrimp & Carolina gold rice grit cake.
The title of dessert champion went to Chef Joe Faria, executive chef of Quail Valley Golf & River Club, who wowed the crowd with his chocolate volcano cake with apple bacon brittle ice cream and butterscotch sauce.
The chef participants in the qualifying event also included, chef Eric Boscovich of The Moorings Club; chef Tyler Colby of Bent Pine Golf Club; chef Antonio Estremera o The Wave Kitchen & Bar at Costa de Este Beach Resort; chef Richard Faeh of Capt Hiram's; chef Albert L. Fort of Disney's Vero Beach Resort; chef Sean Joyce of Soiree Table To Kitchen; chef Fernando Pons of La Bodeguita de Vero; chef Taylor Rye & Chef Colin Givanniello of Quail Valley Golf & River Club; chef Jessica Letts of Classy Cupcakes and Chef Lori Young of Sweet Creations. Chef Michele Hennessey of the River Grille is the chef coordinator.
The four finalists will move on to the Challenge Finale on Feb. 25 at The Club at Pointe West. The Challenge Finale is a seated formal dinner consisting of an entrée from each of the four finalists paired with a specially selected wine plus a dessert prepared by Chef Faria, the 2013 Top Chef Dessert Champion. The 145 guests will not be told which chef prepared which entrée until after the votes are counted and the winner is announced.
A silent culinary-themed auction will be featured at the challenge finale featuring donations from the participating chefs and local businesses.
For ticket information, call (772) 567-5537, Ext. 326, or visit www.HomelessFamilyCenter.com.