Flexing of the culinary muscles

Eight top Marco Island chefs will participate in an Iron Chef-type event during a Nov. 15 banquet at Bistro Soleil at the Old Marco Inn & Suites

Article Highlights

  • “It’s going to be like dinner theater with entertainment,” said Chamber member Mary Quinton, who devised the event some months ago over dinner with the Chamber’s Vicki Williams and her husband Tom
 Marco Iron Chef team leaders Arturo Perez, left, and Fred Braun symbolically square off for the upcoming function that will pit chefs' skills in presentation, taste and creativity.

Photo by QUENTIN ROUX, Staff

Marco Iron Chef team leaders Arturo Perez, left, and Fred Braun symbolically square off for the upcoming function that will pit chefs' skills in presentation, taste and creativity.

Battle lines have been drawn, and knives sharpened for a Marco “Iron Chef” contest to be held Nov. 15 at Bistro Soleil in the Olde Marco Inn & Suites.

Two teams of four island chefs will compete for the approval of five judges by serving them an assortment of dishes that each contain a “secret,” common ingredient.

The dishes can be sweet or savory, and can be in appetizer, entree or dessert form.

In the meantime, up to 150 guests can enjoy a full gourmet meal served by host restaurant, Bistro Soleil, and at the same time watch a video relay of the chefs preparing their dishes for the judges.

Dessert will be a “quick fire” presentation by all the participating chefs, and flambeed in front of the diners.

The main menu is as follows: Hors d’oeuvres of smoked salmon on toast, teriyaki chicken skewer, and tomato and basil bruschetta.

The salad is a mix of field greens, crisp vegetables, and garlic/black peppercorn dressing.

Entree is a duo of beef tenderloin Wellington with jumbo shrimp skewer in a cabernet wine reduction, served with duchess potato, baby French greens and sweet carrots.

MCs for the evening are Chris Curle and Don Farmer, who will also report live from the heat of the kitchen as the judges’ sample dishes are prepared.

Arturo Perez of Arturo’s Ristorante Italiano leads one team, assisted by chefs Randre Jean of Cafe de Marco, Laura Owen of CJ’s on the Bay and Scott Young of Paradise Seafood Market.

Opposing team captain is Fred Braun of Island Cafe, along with chefs Guy Verdi of Verdi’s American Bistro, Annie Feinman of Chef’s Express and Denis Meurgue of Bistro Soleil.

The event is organized by the Marco Island Chapter of the Florida Restaurant Association in conjunction with the Marco Island Area Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets are $75 per person, and the evening kicks off at 6 p.m.

Two judging slots are already taken, with three more available at a cost of $250 per judge.

They will assess the dishes based on presentation, taste and creativity.

At a meeting earlier this week to finalize details, all chefs agreed that while the function indeed has an element of competitiveness, it is intended to be pure fun and enjoyment.

“It’s going to be like dinner theater with entertainment,” said Chamber member Mary Quinton, who devised the event some months ago over dinner with the Chamber’s Vicki Williams and her husband Tom.

The Iron Chef-type evening has evolved from two previous annual presentations by local chefs, the Platinum Plates and the Chef’s Showcase.

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