Last fall several fine dining restaurants participated in Magical Dining Month, an event that supported the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. The mission of the Ronald McDonald House is to provide support for children and families in need. This is primarily done via its namesake house which provides a home away from home for families receiving medical treatment in local hospitals. In an effort to continue to support this worthy cause, the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida has once again teamed with a number of fine dining venues for the inaugural Appetite for the Arches, a fundraising event that will be held on Saturday, March 1 at Orlando World Center Marriott. The event comes with a very unique twist. Chefs from several Orlando area restaurants were given the challenge of not only coming up with new dishes for this event but also ensuring that their dishes utilized signature McDonald’s ingredients. The result is a fresh take on universally recognizable McDonald’s flavors. Recently the Ronald McDonald House invited us to sample some of the dishes at The Ravenous Pig, one of the many restaurants participating in the event.
Our preview of Appetite for the Arches began with a pair of cocktails, Troy & Jam and Whiskey Smash. Troy & Jam provided a sweeter experience owing to its inclusion of McDonald’s strawberries and strawberry drizzle. Whiskey Smash on the other hand had a bigger punch to it but still included its own sweet touch with McDonald’s hazelnut syrup, maple syrup, and apple slices. Both serve as appropriate introductions to the meal ahead.
The first dish, Charmoula Chicken, came from Chef Kathleen Blake of The Rusty Spoon. Paired with salt and vinegar potato crisp and pickled red onions, the dish centered around McDonald’s chicken breasts. The chicken was seated on the potato crisp making the McDonald’s hash browns instantly recognizable. The inventive Charmoula Chicken served as an excellent light appetizer.
Next came the Chipotle BBQ Beef Enchilada from Chef Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant. The hearty dish made use of a number of McDonald’s ingredients including steak, iceberg lettuce, and its namesake Chipotle BBQ sauce. Just as before the McDonald’s ingredients could not be mistaken though the dish still represented a thorough reinvention of familiar tastes.
Chef James Petrakis of Cask & Larder followed this up with Brandade Fritter seated in smoked tomato bolognese. This dish boldly combines McDonald’s fish fillets and arguably the most famous of all McDonald’s ingredients, its signature hamburgers. Based upon the reaction of fellow invitees this dish earned rave reviews.
That finally sets up the dessert of the evening, Caramel Apple Bread Pudding courtesy of Chef Julie Petrakis from our host for the night, The Ravenous Pig. The pudding made use of several McDonald’s ingredients including vanilla ice cream and oatmeal raisin cookies. Just like the dishes before it, the Caramel Apple Bread Pudding was beautifully presented making it almost too beautiful to consume. Almost.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida have certainly come up with an incredibly inventive way to support their worthy cause by reimagining familiar McDonald’s ingredients in the form of fine dining. The result is an exceptional culinary experience that bridges the gap between fast food meals and upscale dining.
Disclosure: We were provided complimentary dinner to facilitate this post. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
All photos © Ricardo Escobar for modernmami™