Hector Colon is Featured at Second Harvest Guest Chef Event

Executive Chef Hector Colon SeaWorld OrlandoHector Colon is the Executive Chef/Director of Culinary Operations for SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove and Aquatica. His skills make him a sought-after chef, and he’s using his amazing food talents to raise funds for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, Thursday, September 19, 2013 at the Morgan & Morgan, PA Hunger Relief Center at the Second Harvest Food Bank center, 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, FL 32805. Chef Colon makes some incredible dishes, including Duck Confit over Wild Mushroom Grits (read about it and get the recipe here).

The Guest Chef Event, held monthly with local chef-celebrities, is a unique event for a select group of diners. Each event is limited to 100 diners. What’s especially unique is the live video feed from the kitchen to the dining room so guest can see all of the action. Also of special note, culinary students work alongside the guest chefs preparing each course as part of their Second Harvest culinary training core curriculum.

On the menu for the $50-a-plate fete?
Lobster tamale
Sweet Corn Buttered Lobster and Caribbean Spices on a Traditional Corn Husk
Chipotle Avocado Cream

Baby Greens
Watercress, Feta, Toasted Sun Flour Seed Pomegranate and Mango
Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette

Costillas en Vino Tinto
Boneless Short Rib in Red Wine
Celery Root Puree Chimichurri Sauce Fried Yucca and Brocoline

Vanilla Bean Milk Chocolate Flan
Roasted Sweet Coconut Candy and Bourbon Maple Syrup

Proceeds for the event go back into the Second Harvest Food Bank hunger relief program, because one in 5 Floridians don’t know where there next meal is coming from.

As a child growing up in Central Florida, I experienced hunger more times than I like to remember. My brother and I used to joke about having a “jam sandwich.” To make it, you take two pieces of bread, and “jam” them together.

Our family did not have the resource of Second Harvest back then. (The Central Florida branch was founded in 1986.) Thanks to the Guest Chef event, and other fund-raising efforts, more than 550 nonprofits will receive assistance in our area through the Central Florida Second Harvest Food Bank to help kids who are like I was, who need help from the community to have more than than a “jam sandwich” as a meal.

Blogging for Good, Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida

Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida

Spina Bifida affects more people than you would imagine, yet many are unaware of how prevalent it is, what contributes to it, and in what ways the Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida (SBACFL) is helping those with it live a more productive life.

Every day about 8 babies are born with Spina Bifida or a similar brain and spine birth defect also known as Neural tube defects (NTDs). In the United States, they are the most prevalent permanently disabling birth defect. Effects can range from mild (where the person may be unaware they have it) to severely debilitating. People with manifested (easily seen) Spina Bifida are in what is collectively known as spina bifida manifesta. Incidences of these more serious cases occur in one out of every 1,000 births.

SeaWorld Mommy taking photos during birth

Taking photos while giving birth.

As an older first-time mom, I worried about many things when I was pregnant, spina bifida being one. I read that the CDC recommends taking 400 µg of folic acid every day to reduce the chances of an NTD. I followed this (and many other health guidelines) and, thankfully, despite losing one twin during my pregnancy, delivered a healthy* baby boy**. All parents, however, are not given that same news and are, instead, faced with the challenge of coping with a child suffering from spina bifida. The good news is, associations like the one here in Central Florida have resources to help.

In addition to providing literature and a “welcome home” packet for parents to take home from the hospital, SBACFL provides continuing education with Illuminations: Resources for Parenting a Child with Spina Bifida Program (Illuminations). They also encourage patients with spina bifida through programs designed to foster independence.

The Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida works with both the state and national associations to provide camps and educational opportunities. Their goal is to help people with spina bifida, and their families, live their lives to the fullest.

There are a number of ways to get involved in helping SBACFL. One is by word of mouth: educating others about what spina bifida is through conversation, or blogging, tweeting, etc. You could also take advantage of one of their volunteer opportunities (email them for more information). There’s also a fundraiser coming up called “Walk n Roll!” How will you help the Spina Bifida Association of Central Florida (or the chapter in YOUR area)?

Rollins Philanthropy Blogging for Good

*Taking folic acid during pregnancy and eating healthy are but two ways to reduce (not completely avoid) NTDs and other birth defects. Maintaining a healthy weight is another.

**He did have some health problems that required additional time in the NICU, and some extended medical care after, but is healthy as can be now at age 5.