By Rachel Galvin
With skill and humor, Chef Elvis Bravo, from Seasons 52, created some culinary specialties on July 31 in front of an audience live at Galleria Mall. It was a special event called Cooking With The Galleria LIVE and the culinary theme was Summertime BBQ. Attendees were able to try each item created by the chef when he was done. It was a fun, fresh idea that guests seemed to really enjoy.
People may have seen Chef Bravo showing his skills on video demos online (at www.facebook.com/GalleriaFtLauderdale) since the pandemic started, but now he was finally able to do it in person. Working on a stage above the crowd, he went step by step through how to make his tasty and light creations that were convenient to make and perfect for summertime eats. The items he cooked up were Melon Basil Burrata Salad with Crispy Prosciutto, Blackened Mahi Tacos and Lemon Blueberry Icebox Cake (see recipes below).
Chef Bravo said that doing demos online has been a great way to reach out to guests during the pandemic. “We were doing take-out only and wanted to reach out to guests. It was fun to connect with guests not in the dining room,” said Bravo, adding he had not done anything like this event before and saying there are three or four more appearances in the works at the mall.
Bravo gained his love of cooking when he was young. “I always knew cooking was my passion,” he said, saying his mom always cooked. The dedicated young chef attended Le Cordon Bleu before working in hotels, and finally Seasons 52 in Coral Gables and now in Ft. Lauderdale.
He likes to stay on brand (with Seasons 52), which means serving up seasonal ingredients, only the freshest. He said he likes using fruits and veggies when they are in season because they are at their peak flavor. “I like to feature simple ingredients and I like to have fun. A lot of people are scared of cooking. I hope to take the intimidation away,” said Bravo.
This event was not just about attendees learning how to make simple culinary creations, but also about giving back. A portion of the proceeds from the event benefited the Heart Gallery of Broward County, a nonprofit organization committed to finding loving families for the hardest to place foster children.
The event also was created to help promote another event that benefits the Heart Gallery of Broward County, called “Eat Your Heart Out,” which will be held Oct. 7 from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the mall. The event will include gourmet food and drink, live entertainment, a silent auction and more. Arlene Borenstein, of the Sun Sentinel’s “Let’s Go South Florida” feature series, will host. Participating restaurants include Boatyard, The Capital Grille, Cooper’s Hawk Restaurants & Winery, Culinary Republic, Eddie V’s, Lips Fort Lauderdale, MOKSHA Indian Brasserie, Press & Grind Café, Riverside Market and Café, Seasons 52, Sicilian Oven and Tarpon River Brewing. (Additional restaurants TBA). The honoree will be the Moss Foundation, to be named Child Advocates of the Year. They are a nonprofit that assists other charitable organizations, including Arc Broward, Broward Public Library Foundation, HANDY, Jack & Jill Children’s Center and others. Tickets for the event are $150 per person and include complimentary valet parking. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.heartgalleryofbroward.org or call 954-918-3008.
But, before that, there will be another Cooking With The Galleria LIVE event, also benefiting the Heart Gallery of Broward County. It will be held in the mall held Aug. 28 at 2 p.m. and featuring the Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants Chef and Senior Area Culinary Operations Manager Stephen Puhr. He will prepare Classic Tomato Bruschetta, Gnocchi Carbonara and Cooper’s Hawk Berry Crisp. Attendees will be able to sample this delicious trio while receiving tips on the perfect wine pairings. Tickets are $20 per person and space is limited. Guests may register at https://bit.ly/MeetChefStephenPuhr.
Cut and season Mahi strips with blackening spice and cilantro pesto (2 parts fresh cilantro, 1 part olive oil, blended until smooth).
1/2 cabbage, finely shredded
1 cup spinach, rough chop
2 limes, squeezed
1 oz Jalapeño Tabasco
2 oz olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 mango, fine diced
1/4 cup – Fresh pineapple, fine diced
1/2 jalapeño – fine chopped, no seeds
1 roasted/grilled red pepper – fine diced
1/4 cup – Jicama, peeled, fine diced
2 tbsp – Honey
2 tbsp – cilantro, minced
1 tsp – cumin
2 tbsp – fresh lime juice
1 1/2 – tbsp salt and pepper
Build your tacos and enjoy! You can throw the tortillas on the grill for a quick char.
MELON BASIL BURRATA SALAD WITH CRISPY PROSCIUTTO
3 oz crispy prosciutto, torn (crisp in oven)
3 cups of mixed melons: Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
8 oz burrata, halved
1-2 cups fresh basil, torn
He also created an inviting vinaigrette, Feel free to add your own specialty.
LEMON BLUEBERRY ICEBOX CAKE
4 cups fresh blueberries
One large tub or 2 small tubs of Cool Whip
8 oz. Whipped Cream Cheese
3 packs Honey Graham Crackers
3 small boxes Instant Lemon pudding
2 lemons, juiced
Mix the Cool Whip, lemon pudding, whipped cream cheese and lemon juice until whipped evenly. Layer it in a Pyrex dish and top with blueberries. Add a layer of graham crackers. Layer the mixture over the crackers one more time and top with fresh blueberries. Let it sit for 30 minutes to an hour refrigerated and enjoy!