Chef Amy Freeze is an English teacher at Frostproof High School. And… she’s also a 7-time World Food Championship Competitor Chef and a 4-time world finalist. Aside from teaching and competitive cooking, Amy is the guest chef at Bok Tower Gardens, where she hosts a series of Farm-to-Table Dinners. Some of the Frostproof HS students get involved as the volunteer servers and her sous chef is the Media Specialist from school. In fact, many of the ingredients used in the dinner come from local farms, including the Frostproof FFA Aquaponics lab and garden and of course, Bok Tower Gardens.
Now in its third year, The Bok Tower Gardens Farm-to-Table Dinner series is a popular date night or Girl’s Night Out experience. Held in the Outdoor Kitchen against the backdrop of the gardens and the Carillon, it features ingredients and themes for each season. The twinkle lights hung from above and the gorgeous sunset made me feel like I was on a vacation somewhere. It was definitely relaxing.
Doors open at 5:30 and guests can begin with the “tasting bar” of appetizers, grab a cocktail, wine or craft beer that her team brews special for each dinner. I attended the “Fire & Ice” dinner which included a tasting bar with some seriously delicious pickles that were cold, crunchy and spicy. The beer was aged inside of Bok Tower and “serenaded” for months. Playing into the Fire & Ice theme, the beer was cold but had a kick of chili pepper. The cocktail was also icy cold made with warming spices like cinnamon.
For the Fire & Ice theme, Amy wanted to pair flavors and ideas that aren’t always obvious. She explained, “It’s celebrating opposites: hot & cold, sweet & spicy. You get the idea! Menu included sweet & spicy pickles, orange cognac salad, espresso rubbed skirt steak over a polenta cake and adobo cream sauce and crème brulee fired live.” After each course was served, Chef Amy took time to talk to the crowd about the menu and answer any questions we had. There were no secrets, she encouraged everyone to try the same recipes at home. Cards were placed with full recipes printed on them so that you can make it successfully for your friends and family.
The next Farm-to-table dinner will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish-themed dinner featuring soda bread, Irish pub salad, Dubliner egg rolls, Guinness Stew, chocolate-caramel shortbreads, Jameson & Irish cream panna cotta and Irish coffee. Get there at 5:30 so you can grab a table & check out the tasting bar. Drinks are included.
March 19, 2020
6:00p.m. – 8:00p.m.
$50 members/$60 non-members
Ticket price includes general admission to the Gardens. Tickets are available for purchase online, in person at the Visitor Center or by phone at 863-734-1222.