The community will have the opportunity to witness the first preview of the Community House in action as local family chefs share their signature recipe, family history during the second annual Cooking with the Island Stars.
"It's a good way to show off the new features and raise money for the Culinary Education Center of Sanibel to stock the pantry and buy things for the kitchen," Marge Meek, Cooking with the Island Stars event chair, said. "We need to raise money to build a garden and nurture trees that are planted. We need to raise more money to get us going and move the center forward."
Sanibel's reality cooking show will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, featuring Michael Billheimer, congenial owner and host of the Lighthouse Cafe; Realtors Mary and Fred Bondurant; Calli Johnson, of Bailey's General Store and Sharon Schulyer.
Johnson will prepare sustainable lionfish tacos, Schuyler's dish is Jewish Apple cake, Billheimer will prepare a yucca and gorgonzola crusted fresh fish over a salad and Fred will prepare a bird nest recipe.
Before the chefs take the stage, attendees will have the opportunity to sample gourmet offerings from eight local restaurant chefs.
The master of ceremony is the Rev. John Danner, who was one of the home chefs last year who broke out into song during his cooking.
This year's judges include Community House Resident Chef Jarred Harris, Loretta Paganini and Mark Blust of Prawnbroker Restaurant Group.
The awards are a trip to Fort Lauderdale for an epicurean adventure. Although the winner of the Judge's Award is determined by the celebrity judges for the best dish, the People's Choice is determined by the amount of money the community donates for their favorite chef.
The chefs have held their own fundraising parties over the last few weeks to raise money to go towards winning the People's Choice Award, which all benefits the Culinary Education Center.
Tickets for the event are $100 for assigned seating and $200 for priority seating, which allows attendees with the opportunity to sample the dishes the family chefs are cooking while sitting in the front row. To purchase tickets, call (239) 472-2155, or visit www.sanibelcommunityhouse.net.
The $3 million renovation project, which began last year included many upgrades to the house, which will all be featured in the first large fundraising event next weekend.
Meek said in addition to the new system having the opportunity to spotlight the chefs as they are cooking and create mood lighting, the Cooking with the Island Stars will also feature live video of the chefs preparing their dishes for everyone in the audience to see. She said there will be two televisions and a big screen projection on the stage.
"There will be three TVs in other rooms showing the stars," she said during the event.
The acoustics, Meek explained to be a huge upgrade from the previous system. She said people will now be able to hear one another talk, as well as the chefs on the stage.
In addition to the event, the chefs will have the opportunity to prepare their dishes in the new state-of-the-art kitchen.
Once the event concludes, Meek said they will open up all of the rooms to allow attendees to view the renovations of the Community House.
The Culinary Education Center, a new endeavor of the Community House, is about "building community by joining education, health awareness and social activity through food."
Some of its features will include culinary instruction, including professional chef instruction and demos, local guest instructors, hands-on in the kitchen instruction and healthy eating farm to fork.
Another program, Cooking with the Kids in the Kitchen, will feature such classes as using tools and developing kitchen skills; growing, harvesting and cooking local foods; fun snacks; manners and dinning etiquette and meals in a minute.
The heritage and family cooking will feature various kinds of cooking, couples in the kitchen, cooking for one and helping area food producers grow and prosper.
"The center is about sharing things we have learned from our parents," Meek said, adding that the center has "hit a nerve that hasn't been touched."
The center will utilize the many fruit baring trees that have been planted on the property, which includes such varieties as lychee, soursop, fig, barbados cherry, blackberry and carambola.
Meek said everything on Sanibel revolves around food, so what better way to highlight that than offer the Culinary Education Center at the Community House.