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Festival encourages good eating to fight heart disease

Local Chefs will duke it out to promote healthful eating and lifestyle at the third annual Heart of a Chef at the Miami Science Museum.

By RODOLFO ROMAN
Special to The Miami Herald
South Florida’s top chefs will be battling it out in the kitchen at the Miami Science Museum in an effort to raise awareness about the nation’s number one killer: heart disease.

The Florida Heart Research Institute has teamed up with the museum, 3280 S. Miami Ave., to host the third annual Heart of a Chef, a “foodalicious” festival, from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Guests can watch local chefs compete, and enjoy wine, food tasting, a farmers’ market offering some of the finest produce and food products, and a Sushi making class. For the kids, the event will include a cupcake and chef hat decoration class.

Prices are $30 for adults and $13 for children at the door. All proceeds will benefit the organization, which assists in research, education and prevention programs. The fee includes museum activities.

“The goal is to stay true to our mission: To educate the community that there is a lifestyle change to live a heart healthy life,” said Staci Ehrenkrantz, special projects with Florida Heart Research Institute Education and Prevention.

The affair will bring Food Network’s and Galavision/Univision celebrity cook Ingrid Hoffman, who will be judging the professional local chef challenge between Kurtis Jantz from Trump International and Randy Brown from the Mini Bar located in the Design District. More than 800 guests are expected.

Not only will professionals be competing, but future cooks too. Coral Gables Senior High and John A. Ferguson Senor High students will be participating in a cooking challenge, the culmination of a county-wide contest. The winner gets a day at Le Cordon Bleu, a famed cooking school. Middle school students will also compete in a vegetable carving contest. Cash certificates will be awarded to the winner.

Attorney Jimmy Morales and his daughter Nora Morales, 16, will be chairing the event. Morales said the affair will be beneficial.

“We know it will be a fun as well as an educational experience for all the families that attend,” Morales said.

Ehrenkrantz said it’s going to be rewarding.

“It’s a successful event because it shows the community that they have a profound organization that is driven to stop heart disease,” she said.

Founded 60 years ago, the Florida Heart Research Institute is an international leader with a mission to stop heart disease through cardiovascular research, education and prevention programs. Heart disease is the leading cause of the death in the country, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Aside from the healthful eating and demonstrations, participants in Heart of a Chef can learn from the museum’s Heart Smart, a 500-square foot interactive bilingual traveling exhibition featuring information on research process engaging visitors in heart health.

A healthy scavenger hunt for children will also take place, since organizers are focusing on childhood obesity. Ehrenkrantz said the event is more than enjoying good food. “It’s important because it’s not only about eating and having fun but it is about learning how to eat healthier and having fun,” she said.

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