Florida Keys Takes Over Philly With Lots of Goodness – #FlKeysCookOff

A touch of the Florida Keys hits Philly this Monday night and I’ve got the scoop on the details. The first-ever Philadelphia Florida Keys and Key West Food Influencer Cook-Off will happen at Walnut Hill College – 24 of the region’s top food bloggers, writers and radio/TV folks will get behind the stove and cook-off for a chance to win a five night six day vacation.

Walnut Hill is the gracious host for the night and their students (and our city’s future restaurant stars and chefs) are prepping and creating a fantastic menu of Florida Keys inspired dishes. Four bartenders from around the region and shaking/stirring Florida Keys-inspired cocktails.
The Florida Keys is sending up Chef Bobby Stoky , Chef, cookbook author and owner of several upper keys restaurants – is coming up as a special partnership to work with the students and be a guest judge.
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The Florida Keys and Key West Cook-off is tied into a station take-over at 30th Street. Now is the time people are planning out spring/summer vacations – plus the Florida Keys is a big wedding destination. The cook-off adds an interactive element and turns the spotlight on one of my favorite thing about the Florida Keys- the cuisine! If you get a chance, stop by 30th Street and check out the ad campaign. Sunsets, snorkeling and blue seas greet you the second you walk through the doors.
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CONTESTANTS: They reviewed, posted, snapped, tweeted and blogged about their favorite restaurants and dishes. Now the tables will turn as 24 of the region’s food and travel influences/writers will get behind the stove and cook-off. One of them will win a trip to the Florida Keys and Key West. Chef Bobby Stoky will lead them in demos and will make their own version of a Key Lime Pie and a surprise Florida Keys seafood dish.   Nicole Michalik I Heart Radio  Mina Say What Power 99  Marilyn Russell WOGL  Marisa Magnatta WMMR  Alex Holley FOX-29  Jenny DeHuff PhillyVoice  Ernest Owens Philadelphia Magazine  LeAnne Lindsay Tinsel and Tine  Roberta Pipito Homemade Delish  Jersey Girl Cooks Lisa Grant  Kass Dahlquist  Philly Food Girl   Rachee Fagg Say It Rachee  Jordan Price Food Sweat Beers  Linda Arceo Giggles Gobbles Gulps  Sandy Zimmerman Philly Bite Mag   Sarah Maiellano Eater, Thrillist, USA Today, Freelancer  Colleen Kennedy  Souffle Bombay  Emily Rush Penn Appetite  Sarah Ricks Very Hungry Traveler  Iris McCarthy The Palate Princess  Denine Gorniak The Bicycle Chef  Linda Vertlieb Frugal Philly Mom  Emily Tharp Her Philly  Steve McCann Philly Gay Calendar

Follow #FlKeysCookOff to follow the contest Monday on Twitter and Instagram.

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Florida Keys & Key West Cocktail Competition

As part of the Florida Keys and Key West Cook-Off at Walnut Hill College they are giving a bartender a chance to win a vacation! They shake and stir. They listen to your problems. They know your every need. Four of Philly’s most talented and over-worked bartenders are getting a chance to get away from it all for a two night three day trip to the Florida Keys. Participants are from the just-opened Dim Sum House in University City, South Street Headhouse’s Whetstone Tavern, and Rittenhouse Row’s Fine Palate and Vesper. Cast your vote for your favorite Keys-inspired cocktail below. The public will cast their advance vote online, guests at the event will cast a vote and then our favorite son Pat Croce (who owns several bars in the Keys!) will also judge. Pat is even putting the winning cocktail on his menu for a week in honor of the winning bartender.


Key West

 Michelle Curtis – Whetstone Tavern
Papa’s Punch
In honor of Hemmingway’s fishing nickname, this is a refreshing rum punch with flavors of basil, strawberry and pineapple. Perfect for drinking after a long day in the Florida sun.

Key West
Nickolas Brozek – Dim Sum House
Dim Sum (Custom)
Breeze Way
A twist on an Island favorite with featuring gin, subtle hints of vanilla, key kime shrub and topped with egg white.Key WestKimberly Shurig – Fine Palate
Mother of the Dragon
Tequila and dragon fruit with a hint of habanero-infused simple syrup over fresh ice garnished with lime peel dragon fruit skin and cilantro.

Key West

Seamus Banning – Vesper

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The Black Pearl
Eucalyptus, bitter citrus and spice affably dance with molasses in this dark rum cocktail, though its color remains as mysterious as The Black Pearl


Our host Walnut Hill College is a culinary school who has had famous alumns like Fuel’s Rocco Cima, Geno’s Steaks Geno Vento, Will BYOB’s Chris Kearse and Ela’s Jason Cichonski.  For this event, our city’s future star chefs and restaurant owners are getting real world experience in working with Chef Bobby Stoky from the Keys. Stoky is owner/chef of popular restaurants in the Upper Keys including Señor Frijoles, Sundowners, Cactus Jack’s, Ballyhoo’s and Marker 88. He will work with students on prep, talk to them about his experience, answers questions and work with them in the kitchens during the competition. Students will also have their first chance to mix and mingle with food writers that they will one day work with at their own restaurants. If you haven’t been to Walnut Hill College, the bakery is open to the public and they have lunch service prepared by the students in the adorable courtyard. They also host private parties and events – and their spaces are themed and so unique. My favorite is the Great Chef’s Room.

Helping out on the decor of the project is Les Dames president (and Diner en Blanc Co-Host) Natanya DiBona so you know it’s going to be classy.

To Win A Pair of Tickets To Monday Night’s Key West Cook Off head over to

my Facebook Philly ChitChat and answer this question. What is the shell of a Key Lime Pie made out of?

Put the answer under the link for this article. Thanks


My mom lives in the Middle Keys (Marathon) and it’s glorious. She and dad chose the area about 20 years ago for its’ beauty,
fishing, outdoor activities and proximity to all the Keys, each have their own unique identity. So I’m thrilled to be working on this project, and can attest to the beauty of the Keys. I’ve been to Key West at least 25 times. They have a lot of great attractions all year long, and a spectacular Halloween week long celebration that you just have to see.

Florida Keys & Key West

Organizer of Florida Keys & Key West Cook-Off and Cocktail Competition

Connected by the historic Overseas Highway (considered one of the country’s most beautiful drives), the Florida Keys are a perfect summer travel spot. Each island has something unique from fishing and diving to nature preserves and rich history, the Keys offer a laid-back atmosphere that make for a perfect escape. The island chain is rich in arts & culture, yet if you crave the wild outdoors, the Florida Keys’ guided eco-tours, walking trails, environmental centers and a plethora of green travel initiatives will satisfy.  The Keys’ many dive-snorkel charters will take you to the United States’ only living coral barrier reef and offer Florida Keys scuba diving vacation memories that will last a lifetime. The destination is also ideal for the culinary enthusiast as fresh locally caught seafood abounds. The Florida Keys & Key West invite you to “Come as you are.®”