Swank Table events show off chefs and the importance of local farms

Swank Farms has announced their 2018/19 Swank Table schedule bringing together more than 80 celebrated chefs from South Florida and beyond during the harvest season. The season kicks off on Sunday, Nov. 18, with Crazy Uncle Mike’s Southern Brunch.

Swank Farms’ popular Swank Table schedule kicks off Nov. 18 with Crazy Uncle Mike’s Southern Brunch at Darrin and Jodi Swank’s hydroponic and sustainable farm Loxahatchee Groves, Fl.


Here’s a look at Swank Table events by the numbers through the years:

1 : The number of events held the first year (2012)
3: The number of chefs from other states (Wisconsin, Massachussetts, Kentucky) who will participate this season.
7: The 2018/19 season marks the seventh  consecutive season for the events.
18: The number of events that will be held during the 2018/19 season.
65: The number of attendees at the 2012 event, which featured Chef Dean Max.
80: The number of chefs who will participate in this year’s events:
150-320: The number of attendees expected at each event this season.
350: The varieties of produce and flowers grown at Swank Specialty Produce.

Jodi Swank chuckled as she thought back on that sunny January 2012 day that saw the first Swank Table event.

“Everyone was in the sun,’’ she said. “We didn’t have any tents. Dean (Chef Dean Max) was the only one under a tent.’’

Swank Table events have since graduated to a pavilion that keeps guests clear of the warm Florida Fall/Winter sun. Max will return for the March 30, 2019 event that reunites many of chefs from the storied 3030 Ocean restaurant in Fort Lauderdale, including Chef Paola Da Silva, now at Burlock Coast at The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale. In 2013, Max left 3030 after 14 years to start DJM Restaurants, a culinary consulting company.

“Dean has been a mentor to so many chefs,’’ Swank said. “And they’ve each gone on to success. We’re looking forward to him coming back and cooking with them again.’’

Last season’s Swank Table “Mater Chef’’ dinner events featured two chefs each from Los Angeles and North Carolina. This year the number of out of town chefs has been increased to three each, Swank said, in order not to overwhelm any specific chef, but also because of the partnership Swank Farms has established with the Hilton West Palm Beach.

“We really couldn’t do it without that support,’’ Swank of bringing in out of town chefs. “It’s helping us dramatically by providing rooms for them. So our partnership with them the hotel is really helping make it work.’’

The first of this season’s Master Chef Series dinners will be Jan. 12 and feature three Milwaukee-based chefs.

Bringing in chefs from others parts of the country, Swank said, brings awareness to the fact that local foods are being sourced throughout the world.

“If we can educate the community about how chefs from all over the country support their community farms and purveyors, it needs to be nationally known,’’ Swank said. “These chefs are thrilled to be here and use the products from our farm to incorporate into their food. I believe some of them are even bringing products from their states. So it’s really going to be very special.’’

Photos Courtesy Swank Specialty Produce


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