The Mango Gang recognized
This year, the Bacchanal salutes the season of the Mango Gang – a group of chefs who, back in the ’80s, put South Florida and its tropical, sun-kissed foods on the culinary map.
Chefs Mark Militello, Norman Van Aken, Robin Haas, Doug Rodriguez and Allen Susser were the originals, introducing a nation of diners to mangos, Caribbean peppers like the habanero, plantains, and fancy citrus.
Locally caught seafood replaced cod and salmon as true fresh catches – snapper and cobia, rock shrimp and conch and Florida lobster showed up on menus. Key limes weren’t just in pie anymore — and that staple was no longer served colored green.
Chefs cook at vintner dinners
The chefs are still cooking after all these years. Susser is at Chef Allen’s in Miami, Haas is at Gulf Coast Kitchen at the Montauk Yacht Club Resort, Militello is consulting and worked recently with Cabo Blue in Deerfield Beach, and Rodriguez has D Rodriguez Cuba in Miami. Van Aken, working on restaurants in Key West and Miami, isn’t appearing.
The other Mango Gang chefs will be joined at Friday night’s vintner dinners by chefs who followed in their steps – Cindy Hutson of Ortanique on the Mile in Miami and Oliver Saucy of Cafe Maxx in Pompano Beach.
On Saturday, there’s a reception and silent auction, and live wine auction. A dine-around and dancing are part of the event at the Boca Raton Resort and Spa.
Sunday, the popular Grand Tasting under the tents takes place at the Mizner Park Amphitheatre. More than 140 wines will be poured for tastings, and small tasting plates served by 30 restaurants. That event runs from noon to 3 p.m. Tickets are $85 in advance or $100 on the day of.
Boca Bacchanal, in its ninth year, benefits the Boca Raton Historical Society and its preservation and education programs.
When: Friday-Sunday, March 18-20, 2011
Where: Vitner dinners in individual homes; Reception and dine-around dance, Boca Raton Resort; Grand Tasting at Mizner Amphitheater – all in Boca Raton
Tickets: $300 for Vitner Dinners; $250 for the Reception and Auction; $85 for the Grand Tasting in advance; $100 at the gate. Weekend ticket packages also are available.
For information and tickets: Call (561) 395-6788, ext. 101; go to www.bocabacchanal.com