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SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. reveal hosts of 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest Chef Vintner Dinners

SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. has announced the hosts of the 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest’s Chef Vintner Dinners, taking place Friday, March 2 at luxury venues throughout Southwest Florida. The 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest will present seven exclusive dining experiences, featuring the culinary talents of a celebrated chef paired with wines from renowned vintners. In celebration of its 10th year, the exceptional two-day event will also introduce nationally recognized, award-winning chefs Kenny Gilbert of Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, Bravo TV’s Top Chef Mei Lin and Allen Susser of Chef Allen’s Consulting.

Known for drawing the support of many esteemed local chefs and bringing recognized vintners from fine wine regions, Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest’s Chef Vintner Dinners deliver an unforgettable dining encounter, each offering an intimate, uniquely themed affair for guests to enjoy.

Tim Youngquist and Sandy Stilwell-Youngquist have partnered with Dave and Cheryl Copham to host “Hot Cars & Wine Stars” in the Youngquist home in Saint Charles Harbour in Fort Myers. This gastronomic soiree will feature the award-winning Chef Todd Erickson of Society, alongside the exquisite wines presented by the 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest’s Honored Signature Vintner, Barbara Banke, chairman and proprietor of Jackson Family Wines, featuring The Spire Collection.

Guests will be transported to the islands of Polynesia for the “Aloha to 10 Years” dinner, hosted by Patrick and Brooke Denson and Peter and Paula Pala in the Denson’s home in Miromar Lakes. The evening will feature the culinary gifts of celebrity chef Mei Lin, a winner on Bravo TV’s Top Chef television series, paired with delectable wines from two Napa Valley vintners, Saint Helena Winery and HUNNICUTT.

Guests will enjoy “A Night in the Conch Republic,” co-hosted by Scott and Mary Fischer, Gary and Karen Tasman and Joe and Terri Bryan. The skillfully prepared meal by celebrity chef Allen Susser of Chef Allen’s Consulting will be in a home in Palmetto Point in Fort Myers, and wine will flow thanks to the evening’s vintners, Thompson 31Fifty Wines and Three Sticks Wines.

Chad and Danielle Kocses will host “Bright Lights City Nights” in their home in Quail West, featuring gourmet cuisine by celebrity chef Kenny Gilbert of Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen, artfully paired with wines poured by the evening’s featured vintners, Frank and Julie Husic of Husic Vineyards.

Delight in “Havana Nights” with dinner hosts Skip and Julie Leonard and Joe Gammons. Guests will come aboard a magnificent yacht to dine along the coast of Naples, enjoying authentic Cuban creations by local favorite Chef Gloria Jordan of La Trattoria Café Napoli, with wine presented by V Madrone Cellars.

Joe and Jenn Pavich will present “‘California Dreaming’ at the Beverly Hills Hotel” in their home in West Bay Club. The evening will feature the revered Chef Harold Balink of Harold’s, paired with wines from Gamble Family Vineyards.

Brian and Nicole Roland have partnered with Todd and Angela Gates to host “Under the Sea” at the Rolands’ Venue Naples. The evening will feature a fusion of culinary skills from dinner host and chef Brian Roland, owner of Crave Culinaire and Venue Naples, and Chef David Robbins, executive chef of Crave Culinaire, harmonized with the world-class wines of Relic Wine Cellars and Williams Selyem Winery.

In addition to the private Chef Vintner Dinners on Friday, March 2, the two-day 2018 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest includes The Grand Tasting and Live Auction on Saturday, March 3 at Quail West Golf and Country Club in Naples. To learn more, or to inquire about tickets to the 2018 event, visit the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest website at www.swflwinefest.org.

SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised $18.7 million over the past nine years, making it one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. The trustees and sponsors underwrite the event and the nonprofit, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc., donates 100 percent of the auction proceeds to local beneficiaries. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the most significant beneficiary of the event, which provides health services to children from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. In addition, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. grants funds to Florida Gulf Coast University and Florida SouthWestern State College to provide scholarships and equipment to educate the community’s next generation of pediatric health care professionals. Ten percent of auction proceeds will also benefit four new beneficiaries including PACE Center for Girls of Lee County, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Florida, SalusCare, Inc. and The Heights Foundation. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.

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