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Meat Matters -- Jack’s Farm to Fork hosts sustainability benefit BBQ Sunday

June 9, 2016
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Raising funds and awareness for the importance of a sustainable food system, Jack's Farm to Fork, within the Pink Shell Beach Resort, 275 Estero Blvd., is eager to host the new eatery's first benefit Sunday, from 5 to 8 p.m.: a Meat Matters Pig Roast, featuring the catered presentations of local and internationally famed chefs from around the country.

"This is our first benefit at Jack's Farm to Fork, and we are really looking forward to it,"?said Chef David Rashty, head chef of Jack's, as well as local leader of the Chefs Collaborative, a national nonprofit group whose mission is to inspire, educate and celebrate chefs and food professionals building a better food system. "This event is all about raising awareness on the importance of sustainably raised foods utilizing non-commercial proteins, beef, chicken, pork, bison, duck, using producers that raise the animals properly, not doing damage to the eco system."

During this three-hour food and wine event, guests will enjoy the fabulously created meals from seven area chefs, including Chef Robyn Almodovar, a winner of the TV?shows "Chopped," "Cutthroat Kitchen," and runner-up on "Hell's Kitchen," coming over from Ft. Lauderdale to contribute to the festivities.

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Other chefs participating in the benefit include Chef George Alexaki, Chef James Fraser, Chef Craig Panneton, Chef Pyro Rodriguez and Chef Jeff Geise.

Enjoy each chef's special plated meal, featuring bison, lamb, beef, pork, chicken, vegetables and grains, as well as a pig roast on the beach from Circle C Ranch, a sustainable supplier of the restaurant.

Local spirits, wine and beer will also be served in the all-inclusive event, with presentations by Four Roses wine, new Voss flavored waters, signature cocktails, and a cash bar will be set up for those looking for a specific spirit. Enjoy live entertainment throughout the evening, as well. "It's going to be a casual, fun event," Chef David said.

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Proceeds from the benefit will be donated to Chefs Collaborative scholarships, educating chefs all over the country.

Chef David shares the importance of utilizing a sustainable menu, one that he is sure to provide at Jack's. "It's all about menus changing lives; chefs becoming activists. What I do on the plate is one small component of the concept. I would love to get into the school systems and put better food on the children's plates, too, while helping our local eco system."

He plans to offer a very special "trash fish" dinner in the next few months, utilizing those fish that are not seen as a "marketable species" that still happen to be absolutely delicious. "The restaurant/consumer industry only uses about 10 major fish species out there. Trash fish are those that are thrown back into the water after they unexpectedly end up in shrimpers'/fishers' nets. Since they're not considered mass-marketable, they're tossed back. Ninety percent of these 'trash/throw-back fish' die so whether or not they're thrown back, they still die and they're actually really good and completely edible. One is the tilefish it's a cousin to the grouper and so, so tasty. Our special dinner will raise awareness about that."

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Another "trash fish"?species is the lionfish an ecological hindrance on our local marine life. Chef David's staff is one of the very few if not only restaurants on the island to serve this delicious fish, which has a very similar taste and texture to the lobster. Yes, lobster!

Tickets to the all-inclusive Sunday dinner are $50, $40 for Chefs Collaborative members, $30 for culinary students (have your ID), $30 for children 12 to 18, and free for children under 12. Those wishing to attend are highly encouraged to purchase their tickets earlier, as space is filling up, and organizers want to be sure they have enough to provide guests. "The more, the merrier. We'll have a lot of food and a lot of drinks," said Chef David.

To purchase tickets online, visit and search "Pig Roast on the Beach," or go to and search "Meat Matters Fort Myers." For further information on Chefs Collaborative and all the group does for the ecosystem, visit



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