PALMETTO — Having survived the 16-hour day rigor’s of taping Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen,” Bradenton native, 2004 Manatee High School graduate and Manatee Technical Institute alumni Jamie Gregorich will shift from being judged to judge for the upcoming Chowdown for Charity on Friday, Oct. 14, 5-8 p.m., at Riverhouse Banquets and Weddings, 995 Riverside Drive in Palmetto, 34221.
Gregorich, 25, sous chef at Euphemia Haye restaurant on Longboat Key, was one of 18 contestants on “Hell’s Kitchen.” She made it halfway through the season before becoming the ninth contestant to depart the show.
This year’s Chowdown will help benefit ProStart, the educational program established by the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA). Prostart is described as “a local, two-year program for high school and vocational culinary students that develops the best and brightest talent into tomorrow’s industry leaders.”
Sous chef Gregorich will join a panel consisting of last year’s Chowdown celebrity judges: State Sen. Mike Bennett, Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston and Brighthouse Networks reporter Summer Smith. The panel will judge the “Best of the Best” among 12 area restaurants.
In addition to the Chowdown contest, students from Manatee Technical Institute, Manatee and Southeast High School’s culinary programs will take part in a special school competition judged by Polo Grill owner, Tommy Klauber and Euphemia Haye, owner Ray Arpke.
According to organizers, those attending the event will also be able to vote for their favorite dish. A judge’s trophy as well as a crowd favorite trophy will both be awarded. Also, event attendees will be able to win gift certificates from the participating restaurants, and several gift baskets will be raffled. They will also be able to “mix and mingle as they taste scrumptious dishes accompanied by delicious cocktails and wines.”
Tickets for Chowdown for Charity are $25 each (with a cash bar) or $50 for VIP, which includes complimentary bar. Tickets can be purchased online or at the following participating restaurants: Riverhouse Reef and Grill, O’Bricks, Renaissance on 9th and Anna Maria Oyster Bar.
Dress is “casual.” Restaurants competing include Beachhouse Restaurant, Peach’s Gio’s, Riverside Café, SoMa Diner, Polo Grill, ezra a cafe, Anna Maria Oyster Bar, Woody’s River Roo, Bridge Street Bistro, Riverhouse Reef and Grill, and Sarasota Cupcakes.
Event sponsors include Brighthouse Networks, METV, The Bradenton Herald, Budweiser, Alsco Linen Company, West Bradenton Rotary Club, Net Weave Social Networking, Ashberry Commercial Water Treatment Experts, FRPG Florida Restaurant Purchasing Group, SRQ Media Group, Living on the Suncoast Magazine, Madison Avenue Advertising and Visit Florida.
For more information about the event or regarding sponsorship, contact Amanda Edge at (941) 545-3620.