I’m pretty big on keeping up with food events going on around town, I can’t always make it, but I certainly want to know about it. It’s pretty amazing what you find when you scratch beyond the surface! When I stumbled onto the Lighthouse Central Florida Dining in the Dark event I was thrilled. I had helped execute a Dining in the Dark event a few years ago and was fascinated with it, and envious.
The greatest thing about it and this is what I love, is that all of the proceeds went to charity. Since 1976, Lighthouse Central Florida has provided education, independent life skills and job training and placement to more than 100,000 people with sight impairment and their families. Lighthouse Central Florida is the only private, non-profit agency offering a comprehensive range of services for babies, children, adults and seniors in Orange, Osceola and Seminole counties.
What a great event to be able to participate in! All of the friends of Lighthouse were so helpful and warm. Sir Wes could not speak enough about how great Margaret was, who helped him arrange my finicky meal.
We arrived to a small reception on an oak shaded porch. A few hors d’oeuvres and a glass of wine eased us into the excitement of the evening. We mingled with the group of 40 before the Orlando SWAT Team arrived in their full gear. The host of the evening welcomed us and introduced the swat team and the wonderful chef of the evening, Guy Ferri, from Ocean Prime. After a quick instructional talk, it was almost time and you could definitely tell the excitement was building!
The host called us by table numbers and we were led by our Swat Man into the very dark, like cannot see anything dark, dining room. They guided us around the edge of the table, leaving us to fumble to find our chairs. I believe Sir Wes and his neighbor tried to share the same seat! Once we were all sitting comfortably at the table, the swat man told us there were bottles of wine and a pitcher of water on the table, and to help ourselves. I think it was at that moment that the ice was broken at the table, as we all had to work together to find what we couldn’t see!
We had wonderful time, talking together as a group, laughing and getting to know one another. I have never been to an event that we were all so quick to open up and go beyond typical small talk. As the courses were served the room got even louder, you could hear everyone guessing what we were eating! The first course was Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche with Avocado, Red Onion, Tomato and Spicy Lime Vinaigrette, it was delicious. I think the strangest guess I heard for that course was Gator. The entrée was a Sage Roasted Farm Chicken with Fingerling Potato and Wild Mushroom Hash. This was awesome- the airline chicken was moist and came with a handle! I do believe there were a few guesses of beef or beef stew…maybe it was the pan jus? Last was a lovely Crème Brule with Marinated Berries and Whipped Cream, a perfect ending and no wrong guesses!!
The Dining in the Dark experience was eye opening, to be able to experience what a vision impaired person does, even for just 90 minutes is priceless. We came to understand, how without one sense, all of the other senses stepped up. This experience will allow you to be aware of what we take for granted every day, and when we are able to see that, our lives become even more enriched.
The Lighthouse, Chef Guy, Ocean Prime, the Orlando SWAT and all of the other generous sponsors put on a top notch event, enjoyed by all of the guests as well as the volunteers. It was a fabulous event, a wonderful cause and a pleasure to meet the supporters of the Lighthouse Central Florida!