Sebastian River High School Grad Wins Vero Top Chef

Alfredo Arce wins Vero Top Chef.
Alfredo Arce wins Vero Top Chef.

VERO BEACH – Vero’s Top Chef Challenge Finale 2019 to benefit The Hope for Families Center was held Monday night at the prestigious Bent Pine Golf Club. Over 150 diners and socialite’s enjoyed a 5-course meal prepared by the four chef finalists.

The Hope for Families Center has been helping homeless families for over 28 years and assists an average of 250 families a year stabilize and find permanent housing.

Executive director Dr. Diana Grossi explained, “The first thing we do is get the children into school or daycare and make sure the parents are employed. Once they have stable employment, they are required to save 70 percent of their net income to put towards permanent housing. We work with Treasure Coast Homeless Services, through their rapid rehousing program, to get them housed and we follow their progress for about six months. The program may assist them with a down payment, or first and last month’s rent, or utilities. We are basically just giving them a boost or a head start on their own self-sufficiency.”

The four chefs and their dishes for the finale were:

  • Chef Alfredo Arce of The Wave Kitchen & Bar at Costa d’este
    Pan Roasted Red Snapper, Rock Shrimp, Truffle Butter, Parsnip Puree, Parsnip Crisps.
  • Chef Eddie Hunter with Cuisine Machine
    Oven Roasted Crazy Hart Ranch Chicken, Coconut Rice and Peas, Curry Veloute, Purple Bok Choy Slaw, Nordic Acres Farm Daikon Micro Greens.
  • Chef Travis Beckett with Wild Thyme Catering
    Authentic Japanese Ramen with Sesame and Soy Marinated Pork Tenderloin.
  • Chef Chuck Arnold of Fire & Wine
    Red Wine Braised Beef Shortrib with Smoked Honey Truffle Glazed Butternut Squash Puree, Roasted Chipolinni Onion and Baby Carrot.

Each one of these dishes was executed very well with a great balance of flavor and portrayed the talent of each one of these chefs.

Sebastian Daily was granted VIP access to the kitchen, and I must say that the camaraderie inside the kitchen from each chefs team was phenomenal. We are so lucky to a part of this top-notch culinary community.

Pan Roasted Red Snapper
Pan Roasted Red Snapper
Oven Roasted Crazy Hart Ranch Chicken
Oven Roasted Crazy Hart Ranch Chicken
Authentic Japanese Ramen with Sesame and Soy Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Authentic Japanese Ramen with Sesame and Soy Marinated Pork Tenderloin
Red Wine Braised Beef Shortrib
Red Wine Braised Beef Shortrib

Vero’s Top Chef 2019 chosen by the judges was Chef Alfredo Arce of the Wave Kitchen & Bar at Costa d’este. The People’s Choice Award selected by the diners was Chef Chuck Arnold of Fire & Wine. Both dishes were superb and certainly my two favorites.

Chef Alfredo’s snapper was roasted to perfection; it wasn’t overly seasoned allowing for the full flavor of the fish on the palette. The truffle butter left a smooth texture to the shrimp, and the parsnip puree was creamy, sweet and could almost be described as a vegetable Alfredo.

Hope for Families explains, “Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa’s Alfredo Arce stumbled upon his passion for the culinary world by accident. The Mexican-born chef, who now assumes the #2 role in the kitchen for one of Vero Beach’s most acclaimed resorts and its restaurant The Wave Kitchen & Bar, launched his hospitality journey working in Costa’s housekeeping department. Arce’s professional drive and ambition along with the birth of his now seven-year-old son inspired him to identify a new path that would challenge him to learn and grow cooking.

Vero's Top Chef Challenge Finale 2019
Vero’s Top Chef Challenge Finale 2019

His passion for food was immediately evident after his transfer to the Costa d’Este’s kitchen. Arce worked under the tutelage of the resort’s executive chef, Armando Galeas, to perfect a variety of techniques and methods. In just four years, he rose from prep cook to sous chef.

Chef Arce is a graduate of Sebastian River High School and lives in Indian River County with his wife and son. When he is not serving up Costa d’Este’s menu of fresh, locally sourced seafood and produce, plus select Cuban specialties, he enjoys time researching new culinary trends and cooking at home with his family.”

Sebastian Daily congratulates each chef for their success and is very proud to recognize Chef Alfredo Arce. He is a young talented chef who was educated right here in Sebastian and has a tremendous career ahead.

To find out more about how you can help out in our community or if you need assistance, go to Hopeforfamiliescenter.org.

The Hope for Families Center is located at 715 4th Place in Vero Beach, FL 32962.

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About Brian LaPersonerie
Born and raised around New York’s diverse culture and cuisine, it’s no surprise that Brian LaPersonerie inherited a palate for great food. His background – German, Welsh, English, French, Irish and even Sicilian – has exposed him to all styles of cooking; whether at holiday gatherings or from his talented mom in their family kitchen. Brian says, “we eat with our eyes first” so capturing and presenting the deep colors of food is an art and an important part of Brian’s reviews. Being a life-long foodie, with experience in and out of the kitchen has taught Brian the more technical parts of cooking and hospitality. But in theory, he’s just a regular person, like you and I, who loves food and wants to help further your culinary adventures!