Now in its third year, Appetite for the Arches is a unique culinary event that challenges local chefs to create a signature dish incorporating McDonald’s ingredients. Its purpose is to bring the community together to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida, an organization that provides temporary housing and support to families with a critically ill child who is receiving treatment at a local hospital.
Last year’s Appetite for the Arches gala raised nearly $180,000 for Orlando’s two Ronald McDonald Houses. With a third house set to open this spring on the campus of Nemours Children’s Hospital in Lake Nona, this year’s fundraising goal is set for $180,000 with hopes to exceed it.
This week, I had the opportunity to taste some of the dishes that will be showcased at the 2016 Appetite for the Arches gala. Here is a sneak peek just for you:
Chef Kathleen Blake, owner of The Rusty Spoon, made Red Devil Stuffed Eggs with Bacon Brittle and Oven-Dried Tomatoes using bacon, eggs and grape tomatoes from McDonald’s. I love that Blake went with a deviled egg because it’s my absolute favorite thing to snack on at a party. And that bacon candy could turn any bacon hater into a fan. (Yes, they do exist. I used to be one of them.)
Chef Kevin Fonzo, owner of K Restaurant, used chicken breast, eggs, bacon, biscuits, grape tomatoes, jalapenos, white onions, milk, pepper jack cheese and corn tortillas from McDonald’s to prepare Chicken Tortilla Soup with a Savory Biscuit Bread Pudding. I’m not sure how everyone else was eating it because I was too busy shoveling it in, but I was dunking bites of the bread pudding into the soup. I highly suggest this method. It’s like a southwestern-style grilled cheese and tomato soup experience.
Chef Rhys Gawlak, executive chef for Cask & Larder, used Canadian bacon, eggs, french fries, white onions, spinach, kale, romaine, Parmesan cheese and English muffins from McDonald’s to make Kale Gnocchi Carbonara. This one blew my mind. Not only because I learned that McDonald’s serves kale but because Gawlak made gnocchi out of fries. They were perfect pillows with just the right amount of sauce.
Chef Clayton Miller, executive chef for DoveCote, made a Smoked Beef Tongue Reuben with Crispy Potato and Big Mac Sauce using hash browns, lettuce and Big Mac sauce from McDonald’s. I know what you’re thinking about the beef tongue, but it’s not as scary as it sounds. The meat was tender, and the variety of textures and flavors in this dish were balanced beautifully.
Chef Julie Petrakis, owner of The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder and Swine & Sons Provisions with her husband Chef James Petrakis, baked Cheesecake with Espresso Crumble and Strawberry-Frangelico Sauce using strawberries, French vanilla syrup, cream cheese, whole eggs, butter, oatmeal cookies, espresso beans and granola from McDonald’s. One word: heavenly.
2016 event details:
When: March 5
Where: Orlando World Center Marriott
Time: 7-10 p.m.
Price: $150 per person until Feb. 4, $200 per person beginning Feb. 5
Tickets can be purchased at AppetiteForTheArches.org