Heart of a Chef, Driven to Dine

Benefiting the Florida Heart Research Institute

The Florida Heart Research Institute (FHRI) is pleased to report the success of Heart of a Chef weekend, the organization’s two-day charity event which raised funds to continue their mission to stop heart disease through research, education and prevention. Consisting of two separate events: the second annual Driven to Dine, an exclusive cocktail reception and multi-course dinner taking place at various Miami restaurants, and the first ever Heart of a Chef Festival, a fun-filled extravaganza of heart-health related activities at Jungle Island, Heart of a Chef weekend has become the perfect way to give back and learn about heart health, for all types of people and budgets.

“We were thrilled with the outcome of this year’s event”, explains Florida Heart Research Institute Chief Executive Officer Kathleen DuCasse. “With this year’s addition of Heart of a Chef Festival, we expanded on the charitable success of last year’s Driven to Dine event, while offering something back to the community and furthering our mission to stop heart disease through research, education and prevention.”

Zammy Magdal, Michael Weintraub, Chef Allen Susser,
Barbara Weintraub, Carolyn Smathers, Alan and Sue Nichols,
Dr. Jose Szapocznik, Carol Russo and Henry Mangels dine
at Chef Allen’s in Aventura.

Saturday’s Driven to Dine event kicked-off with a sunset cocktail party at legendary NFL Coach Don and Mary Anne Shula’s Indian Creek home. Participants sipped cocktails, provided by Terlato Wine and Pernod Ricard, and nibbled hors ‘d oeuvres from Le Cordon Bleu and Lyon & Lyon Catering, before being whisked away by limousine to an undisclosed restaurant for a delectable, heart healthy, multi-course meal, prepared by one of Miami’s top chefs. The excitement peaked when a representative from each limo drew an envelope encasing their evening’s culinary surprise. Relinquishing their envelopes to the limo drivers before seeing the restaurant name, each group was driven to their dining destination in suspense. The following chefs/restaurants participated: Michael Gilligan/Atrio, Edgar Leal/Cacao, Capital Grille, Nina Compton/Casa Casuarina, Allen Susser/Chef Allen’s, Giancarla Bodoni/Escopazzo, John Suley/Joley, Mancini’s Ristorante, Kurtis Jantz/Neomi’s at the Trump, Cindy Hutson/Ortanique, Govind Armstrong/Table 8, Sean Brasel/Touch, Sean Bernal/Oceanaire, Jonathan Wright/The Restaurant at the Setai and Andrew Swersky/The Forge. Priced at $500 per person or $5,000 for the limo (limo seating was limited to ten), the high-priced ticket delivered a promise of amazing food and tremendous fun, for a great cause.

Sue Elias, Jan Kruthoffer, Nancy Bailey, Anne Kruthoffer,
David Bailey, chef/owner Cindy Hutson, Nicholas Verbitsky,
coach Don Shula, Bonnie Verbitsky, Dr. Richard Elias and
Mary Anne Shula gather around the table at Ortanique on
the Mile in Coral Gables for a heart healthy meal.

Already a hot ticket, Driven to Dine 2009, scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2009, has sold half of the limos to date. Heart of a Chef festival will be Sunday, April 26, 2009. Those interested in ensuring their spot for next year’s event, can call Sallie Byrd at 305-674-3020.

Through the mission to stop heart disease through research, education and prevention, the Florida Heart Research Institute has been an independent, non-profit international leader in cardiovascular research and education for over 60 years, employing a unique blend of scientific, clinical and collaborative research. FHRI also strives to benefit the South Florida community by providing free community prevention services such as cardiac screening in underserved and underinsured areas, as well as educational programs to prevent heart disease for all segments of the population, including in the workplace.