Orlando chefs cook up support for Ronald McDonald House

McDonald’s golden arches are glowing in the Sunshine State for a very good cause. Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida has challenged famous local chefs to showcase their dishes in the second-annual Appetite for the Arches fundraiser.

The event invites chefs to create new and unique dishes using raw ingredients straight from the McDonald’s menu. The fundraiser will be on Saturday, March 7, at the Orlando World Center Marriott.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida operates two houses in the Orlando area and is in the process of building its third house near Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona, due to open in late 2015.

This will make Orlando only the sixth city in the country to have more than two houses.

Chef Julie Petrakis, owner of Cask & Larder, is on the planning committee and in charge of chef participation. This year, chefs representing 19 top restaurants, including 4Rivers Smokehouse, Cask & Larder, K Restaurant, The Ravenous Pig, Hamilton’s Kitchen, The Smiling Bison and many more will participate.

“Appetite for the Arches unites Central Florida’s best chefs and the community on a night of culinary surprises and delight for a special cause. All proceeds from the gala help Ronald McDonald House keep families together when they need it most —during the treatment of a critically ill child,” said Petrakis.

Julie, along with her husband James Petrakis, own both Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig and are the only “chef couple” to have been jointly nominated for the coveted James Beard Best Chef Award.

The couple is at the core of a vibrant culinary scene that has garnered national attention for Orlando from the New York Times, USA Today and Forbes Travel.

At the event, guests will enjoy interacting with the chefs, sampling the unique dishes and enjoying cocktails, also crafted from McDonald’s ingredients, along with wine pairings. There will also be a silent auction.

A preview of the chef’s dishes reveals surprising flavors and textures, unlike anything offered at McDonald’s.

A sneak peek:

  •  James Petrakis of The Ravenous Pig created a chicken terrine with a silky smooth texture and a remarkable depth of flavor, complemented by a rich bacon jelly.
  •  Kevin Fonzo, owner of K Restaurant wowed with a tasty meatball, nestled in a lagoon of cola barbecue sauce.
  •  John Rivers, creator of 4Rivers Smokehouse, was clearly inspired by his latest restaurant, The Coop. He made mini southern chicken and biscuits, drizzled in a bourbon honey sauce.
  •  And for dessert, Julie Petrakis elevated humble little Cuties clementines to a new level in her creamsicle parfait, topped with granola and sliced oranges.

If the preview dishes are any indication, the competition among chefs will bring out the best in Central Florida’s culinary talent as they all strive to outdo one another.

Tickets for the event are $200 per person until February 7, when the price will increase to $250. Sponsorships for the event are also available from $2,000 – $25,000.

For additional information about Appetite for the Arches, including ticket information, please visit www.appetiteforthearches.org.

Appetite for the Arches Sneak Preview: