Plan Your Calendar: Here’s a year of delicious foodie events for a good cause!
There is no shortage of wonderful charity events in Orlando. If you’re a foodie looking to enjoy fabulous bites and drinks knowing the proceeds are supporting a good cause, then this list is for you!
Here are my favorite charity events for foodies to attend in Orlando. All causes are worthy. Therefore, your support of one or another is purely a personal choice.
Events included in this list are not based on the merit of the organizations or causes they support. But rather, they are included because of the foodie experience they provide. Some are very affordable, others have modest price tags and a few are splurge-worthy, bucket list type events. I hope you’ll consider adding them to your calendar. Maybe even use this list as your “do good” checklist and check each off throughout the year!
Events are listed in calendar date order starting with March 2020 through February 2021. Events which happen throughout the year are listed at the end. Please note some events have not been finalized for this year. Information will be added as it becomes available. I recommend bookmarking this post and refer to it often.
“Happiness is not so much in having as sharing. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”Norman McEwen
Orlando Magic Wine Festival
“In light of the NBA season being suspended and out of an abundance of caution, the Orlando Magic have made the decision to postpone the Orlando Wine Festival & Auction, which was scheduled for Fri., March 13 and Sat., March 14. Tickets/packages already purchased for this event will be honored at the rescheduled date. For further updates visit www.wineauctionorlando.com. The e-auction at www.wineauctionorlando.com/e-auction will remain open, along with the Omaze Disney experiences at www.wineauctionorlando.com/Disney.”
- When? Date TBD. Event postponed due to COVID-19
- Where? Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Orlando’s NBA Franchise, The Orlando Magic and its Orlando Magic Youth Foundation (OMYF) support nonprofit organizations offering youth-based programs in order to help at risk children in Central Florida. They focus in the areas of education, housing/ homelessness, the arts and health programs focused on preventing childhood obesity. This event raised $900K in 2019, its first year.
- What is the event about? Indulge in fabulous food and wine during a beautiful warm spring weekend at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes resort. It’s an outdoor food and wine tasting extravaganza, complete with private vintner dinners featuring award winning chefs and top wineries, an auction of exclusive one of a kind experiences, a festival of luxury, and a thrilling VIP game-day experience with the Orlando Magic. A variety of packages are available based on how many events you wish to attend.
- Foodie Cred: Wines for this event have been curated by Orlando’s own Master Sommelier, George Miliotes of Wine Bar George. In attendance will be Food Network’s Michael Symon. Joining them will be award winning chefs from around the country as well as Orlando.
- You know it’s going to be good with this winning lineup! From around the country are Eric Lees (Spiaggia, Chicago); Gabriel Kreuther (Gabriel Kreuther, New York); Akshay Bhardwaj (Junoon, New York); and Melissa Kelly (Primo, Orlando and Rockland, Maine); Rounding up the Orlando chef game are James & Julie Petrakis (The Ravenous Pig), Kathleen Blake, Brandon McGlamery (Luma, Prato, Luke’s), Art Smith (Homecomin’), Jamie McFadden (Cuisiniers), Justin Plank (Terralina), and more.
- Tell me more! The Vintner Dinners are intimate affairs hosted at private homes and other locations throughout the community. A celebrity award winning chef is your private chef for the evening!
- The Wine Festival is an outdoor celebration held during the day on Saturday. Enjoy cooking demonstrations by local and celebrity chefs, live music, live auction displays and of course, exceptional wine.
- The Wine Auction: features unique and priceless packages. You can bid online, starting one week prior, until the Monday after. Going once, going twice, sold!
- Wine and Basketball? Cheer for your Orlando Magic as they take on the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday evening, as the culmination of the wine auction weekend.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: This is a foodie bucket list event featuring one of a kind experiences you can’t buy otherwise. Ever wanted to stay in Cinderella’s Castle at Walt Disney World? That’s one of the auction items. Is having a celebrity chef cook dinner for you on your someday list? It’s time to #MakeSomedayHappen. Who knew wine and basketball were such a perfect pair!?
- For More Information & Tickets: Packages start with Reserve for two at $2,500. wineauctionorlando.com, Instagram
Cattle Barons Ball
- When? Postponed to Saturday, September 19, 2020
- Where? Rosen Shingle Creek Resort
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? The event is slated to raise over $500,000 to fund The American Cancer Society’s local and national programs supporting cancer patients, education and life-saving research. The event has raised over $6 million dollars since it began in 1999!
- What is the event about? This western themed evening brings together cowboys and cowgirls to raise funds to help the Society attack cancer from every angle. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with a reception that includes a silent auction, followed by a gourmet dine-around, featuring food from many of Central Florida’s finest chefs, an open bar with tasty libations, live country and pop entertainment, unique live auction items, interactive activities and plenty of dancing.
- Foodie Cred: Not only does the event feature tasty creations by the talented culinary team of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, many of Orlando’s top restaurants participate as well. And, spirits, wine and craft beer companies from across the state of Florida join in to offer prime pairings.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: What’s not to love about getting to dress up like cowboys and enjoying great food and drinks? Plus the event has a 20+ year history to back up their commitment to this worthy cause.
- For More Information & Tickets: Individual tickets $250 PP. Various sponsorship packages available. cattlebaronsballorlando.com, Instagram
Beard in Baldwin
- When? Date TBD. Event postponed due to COVID-19
- Where? Baldwin Park and The Osprey Tavern
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? The event supports the James Beard Foundation’s Scholarship program. Its mission is to celebrate, nurture, and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. Scholarships aid applicants planning to study a variety of disciplines, including: culinary arts, baking and pastry, hospitality management, food studies, agriculture, sustainability and food security.
- What is the event about? This event celebrates the Orlando culinary scene! The evening features an intimate outdoor food and wine festival. More than 35 top tier local restaurants serve flavorful dishes, paired with fine wines, craft cocktails and local brews.
- Foodie Cred: The event is organized by Jason and Sue Chin, owners of Orlando favorites The Osprey Tavern, Seito Sushi and Reyes Mezcaleria. The Chin’s are well respected in the community and have plenty of local foodie friends who come out to support. From its first year in 2016, the Beard in Baldwin festival has been a community effort to support and celebrate the best of Orlando’s culinary scene. Past restaurants have included Hunger Street Tacos, Pizza Bruno, Bulla Gastrobar, DoveCote, Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Swine & Sons, Domu, The Glass Knife, The Whiskey, Dixie Dharma and more.
- Tell me more? For a more exclusive experience, VIP admission includes early access and a private cocktail reception inside The Osprey Tavern.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: A taste of local Orlando in a casual setting. Plus, Baldwin Park is beautiful this time of year.
- More Information & Tickets: VIP Admission $225.00. General Admission $110.00. Attendees must be 21+ BeardinBaldwin.com, Instagram
Appetite For The Arches
- When? Rescheduled for August 15, 2020
- Where? Rosen Shingle Creek Resort
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida finds, creates, and supports programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and families. Its cornerstone program, the Ronald McDonald House, provides a home away from home for families with children receiving treatment at hospitals and medical facilities in Orlando. There are three Ronald McDonald Houses in Orlando on the campuses of Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Florida Hospital for Children and Nemours Children’s Hospital.
- What is the event about? This is without a doubt one of the most unique premises for a foodie event. Central Florida’s top chefs from renowned restaurants and resorts showcase their skills by creating high end dishes using McDonald’s ingredients. This is a competition like no other! You get to taste and vote! Plus guests will enjoy open premium bars, a silent auction, Kendra Scott raffle, entertainment and more.
- Foodie Cred: Past dishes have included a Big Mac Gyoza from the chefs of DOMU and a Charley’s Prime Tenderloin McFondue from Charley’s Steakhouse, just to name a few. Plus, the McDonald’s French Fry Station with handcrafted dipping sauces is always a popular draw. Each station is paired with fine wines and craft cocktails to round out your chef tasting experience!
- Appetite for the Arches will feature chefs from participating restaurants including The Ravenous Pig, 4Rivers Smokehouse, Rosen Shingle Creek, Millenia Catering, Morimoto Asia, Tutto Italia, The Polite Pig, Ace Café,The Citrus Club, Jaleo Disney Springs and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando.
- Tell me more! For a truly unforgettable event, purchase a sponsorship for an exclusive VIP experience, including private seating, a private chef, exclusive bar and early entry to the event.
- For More Information & Tickets: Individual Ticket: $175 pp. Individual Ticket with (1) Hour Early Entry: $225. Pair of Tickets: $325. Pair of Tickets with (1) Hour Early Entry: $425. Sponsorship opportunities are available. appetiteforarches.org, Instagram
Science of Wine
- When? Saturday April 25, 2020
- Where? Orlando Science Center
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Proceeds from the evening provide critical funds for educational programs and opportunities for youth and families to experience fun, discovery and meaningful family time at the Orlando Science Center. Last year, more than 622,000 learners experienced the Science Center. 136,000 benefited through free and reduced programs aimed to give the community access regardless of ability to pay.
- What is the event about? Spend an evening at the Orlando Science Center. Wining and dining includes learning about the Science of Wine. Ready your mind and palate. Uncork your inner sommelier (and scientist!) at the 10th annual Science of Wine, presented by Southern Glazer’s Wines and Spirits.
- Foodie Cred: The Science of Wine is not just another wine tasting. It’s an oenological odyssey with presentations on multiple aspects of wine growing and wine tasting. In addition you’ll enjoy samples of more than 150 fine wines from the world’s most important wine regions. And some of the best food from your favorite region, Central Florida!
- Why you don’t want to miss it: It’s the grown up version of your school’s science field trip. Nowhere else can you sip wine while hanging out with a giant T-Rex! Plus, you can check out the seminars and geek out about food and wine.
- For More Information & Tickets: $100 Members, $115 Early Bird through April 5th, $125 General Admission. osc.org, Instagram
Chef’s Gala United Way
- When? Saturday May 16, 2020
- Where? Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Walt Disney World Resort
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Heart of Florida United Way fights for the education, health and financial stability of every person in Central Florida. Founded in 1939, it is Central Florida’s largest supporter of local health and human service agencies.
- What is the event about? The evening includes a silent auction, champagne & martini reception, live entertainment and unlimited sampling of delectable dishes & wonderful wines.
- Foodie Cred: The annual event draws more than 1,000 affluent foodies and wine enthusiasts. It’s hosted by Walt Disney World and features more than 20 top chefs.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: Mickey Mouse, plus great food and wine, always leads to a great evening.
- For More Information & Tickets: $375/pp, $700/couple, $1,000 culinary showcase and gala. hfuw.org, Instagram
Reading Between The Wines
- When? Thursday May 28, 2020
- Where? Full Sail University
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? The Adult Literacy League’s mission is to educate adults to become self-sufficient members of society and advocate on behalf of adult and family literacy.
- What is the event about? The evening features walk around tasting stations from the area’s best restaurants and a Q&A with the guest author. Steve Berry, author of the Cotton Malone series, will discuss his latest thriller with News6 Anchor Lisa Bell.
- Foodie Cred: local restaurants participating include Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Raglan Road Irish Pub, Hungry Pants, Swine & Sons and Olde Hearth Bread Company.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: Plenty of great wine as the name of the event implies. If you’re an avid reader and wine lover, this event is for you! Reading between the Wines combines all of our favorite things – fine wine, great food, and great books.
Taste! Central Florida
- When? Saturday August 22, 2020
- Where? Orlando World Center Marriott
- What Organization and Cause Benefit? Event supports the childhood feeding programs and services of Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida and Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. 100% of proceeds remain in the community.
- What is the event about? This annual celebration of the community’s culinary excellence is a volunteer-driven event with local chefs, brewers and distilleries donating their time, talent and creations to make this event one of the largest fundraisers of the year. Enjoy an evening of tasting portions of signature dishes accompanied by fine wines, craft beers, and specialty cocktails. Now in its 31st year, the charity event continues its legacy of showcasing our community’s culinary excellence and helping Central Florida’s children struggling with hunger to gain access to the meals they need.
- Foodie Cred: The who’s who of local chefs participates and they all come prepared to shine. Past participants include Chroma Modern Bar & Kitchen, Cuba Libre, Dragonfly, Eddie V’s, Gaylord Palms, Hemisphere Restaurant, JW Marriott Grande Lakes, Marlow’s Tavern, Muse Gelato, Paddlefish, Four Seasons Resort, Raglan Road, Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes, Rosen Shingle Creek, Seasons 52, STK, Terralina, Universal Orlando, and many more. You can see my photo recap of the event here.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: Every ticket sold provides 600 meals to Central Florida families facing food insecurity. In addition to the many food and beverage stations, you’ll find several opportunities to take home prizes. Try your luck at the Instant Wine Cellar where you can win over 150 bottles of wine. The Giving Tree raffle gives you the opportunity of getting gift certificates for area restaurants. The Liquor Locker raffle awards you a fully stocked bar. The Ring Toss for Wine will let you win bottles of wine with a simple throw!
Visit Orlando Magical Dining
- When? Mid August to end of September, 2020
- Where? Area restaurants
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Through Visit Orlando, $1 from each meal served benefits one or more deserving local charities. The next recipients will be announced before the start of the program.
- What is event about? For five weeks starting in August, enjoy three-course, prix-fixe dinners at more than 100 of Orlando’s best restaurants. For only $35 per person, meals are discounted and retail value is usually around $50-$60.
- Foodie Cred: Over 100 of Orlando’s best restaurants participate. This is your chance to try a new restaurant or return to a local favorite. Restaurant list and menus are available on the website around June/July.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: The chance to dine at a discount and for a good cause is too good to pass up!
- For More Information & Tickets: No tickets are required. Menus are $35 per person, not including tax and gratuity. Reservations recommended, especially for weekends. VisitOrlando.com, Instagram
Cows N’ Cabs
- When? Date TBD, usually October/November
- Where? Winter Park’s West Meadow
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Cows ‘n Cabs benefits charities supporting children in need in Central Florida including After-School All-Stars and Elevate Orlando. The event has raised over $800K since it began in 2012.
- What is the event about? Grab your boots and dust off your cowboy hat! Cows ‘n Cabs is an outdoor food & wine stroll, featuring gourmet fare, wine, craft beer and crafted cocktails from 25+ local restaurants. The event also features live music, dancing and a silent auction.
- Foodie Cred: This event features the Who’s Who of Winter Park and Orlando’s culinary scene. Numerous James Beard Award-nominated chefs, along with 25-plus popular local restaurants, join co-hosts John Rivers, Founder/CEO of 4R Restaurant Group and Dave Larue, Vice President of ABC Fine Wine & Spirits in making Cows ‘n Cabs one of Central Florida’s most anticipated culinary events.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: Enjoy the casual setting, cool Fall breezes, and more food and drinks than you can possibly sample in one night. This charity event keeps getting bigger and better each year Check out this recap and this recap to see what to expect.
- When? Event on Hold for now. Check out their “Hats Off For Success” Luncheon in June.
- Where? UCF Rosen College of Hospitality
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Proceeds from the event will support essential programming for Dress for Success Greater Orlando, which empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.
- What is the event about? This family friendly event brings together Central Florida’s best bakeries to battle it out for bragging rights. A panel of expert foodie and fashion judges and the crowd will award top honors in categories such as best flavor, most unique presentation, best overall and crowd favorite. There will also be a silent auction.
- Foodie Cred: Cupcakes! Really amazing cupcakes! When I was a guest judge, I had a tough time voting for a winner, they were all so good.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: See above! Cupcakes galore!
Field To Feast
- When? Date TBD February
- Where? Long & Scott Farms in Mt. Dora
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Organized by Edible Orlando Magazine, 100% of proceeds benefit the Kids Cafe Program of Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida, an after-school meal service program that provides food to needy children in Orange, Seminole, and Osceola counties.
- What is the event about? This open-air event combines country charm with culinary excellence. Walt Disney World’s top chefs will offer locally sourced fare, which Master Sommelier George Miliotes will pair with wine, beer and cocktails. Live music, farm tours, a raffle and more round up the fun. Event runs from 2:30-5:30 p.m.
- Foodie Cred: the lineup of chefs changes each year since Walt Disney World Resorts has so many restaurants and culinary operations to draw from. The 2020 lineup included chefs from Cinderella’s Royal Table, Disney Park Events Operations and Premium Events, Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, Flavor Lab, Golden Oak at Walt Disney World Resort, The Hollywood Brown Derby, Tiffins, Toledo-Tapas Steak & Seafood, Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera, Amorette’s Patisserie, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Bakery, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Catering, and The Ganachery.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: The event sells out every year. It’s a rare chance to experience the culinary magic of Walt Disney World chefs outside of their usual environment. Plus, how often do you get to party in a farm?
Chef’s Night at Second Harvest
- When? Throughout the year
- Where? Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? The event supports the Second Harvest of Central Florida’s Darden Foundation Community Kitchen’s Culinary Training Program. It provides qualified, at-risk and economically disadvantaged adults with the culinary and life skills training needed to pursue a sustainable career in the food industry.
- What is the event about? Chef’s Night is an evening at the food bank featuring some of Central Florida’s best chefs and cuisine cooking in conjunction with the culinary training program students. The dinner consists of a reception and 3 courses, paired with wine.
- Foodie Cred: Orlando’s best chefs participate. Past chefs include Trina Gregory Propst of Sette Italian and Se7en Bites, Walt Disney World Chefs, and The Tasty Trio of Tonda Corrente, Jill Ramsier and Lisa Wilk.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: Not only are dinners inventive, you can also directly see and experience who the program benefits. I’ve witnessed chefs offering jobs on the spot to the students. It’s a very touching experience, to say the least.
- For More Information & Tickets: Follow the website and social media for announcements. FeedHopeNow.org, Instagram
- When? Throughout the year and available for private bookings.
- Where? Edible Education Experience, Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden in College Park
- What Organization and Cause Benefits? Proceeds from La Tavola events by Chef Kevin Fonzo benefit The Kevin Fonzo Foundation. Founded in 2014, the non-profit organization’s vision is to include gardening and a “hands on” kitchen class as part of each school day. Fonzo’s mission is to give kids as much knowledge as possible, using the school garden and kitchen classroom as a catalyst to encourage kids to understand and cook healthy meals. He believes their choices about food today will affect their health and environment for many years to come.
- What is the event about? The five course “La Tavola” family style Italian supper brings 18-20 guests together. Start off with sparkling wine as you tour the impressive culinary teaching facility. Then sit down around a large table for supper. The menu consists of Italian specialties reminiscent of Chef Kevin Fonzo’s Italian upbringing and his travels around the world. Antipasti, Salads, Pasta, Main Dish and Dessert are included with everything made from scratch by Chef Fonzo and his talented team. Wine is BYOB and meant to be shared around the table as you would at home in Italy.
- Foodie Cred: Award winning and James Beard nominated chef Kevin Fonzo has created a one of a kind experience. He’s been invited to cook several times at the James Beard House in New York. Been featured in “Bon Appetit Magazine”, “Nation’s Restaurant News”, “Orlando Leisure”, and added into “Orlando’s Dining Hall of Fame” from “Orlando Magazine.” However, it’s his work with the students of the Orlando Junior Academy which caught the eye of Chef Emeril Lagasse. In 2013, Lagasse visited K Restaurant as part of his “Emeril’s Florida” TV show focusing on Florida restaurants and chefs. Hearing about what Chef Kevin was doing at “The Edible Schoolyard at O.J.A” he visited the school the very next day. Impressed with the program Kevin started, The Emeril Lagasse Foundation partnered with him in building a new kitchen house/classroom. The new building, the site of this dinner, has been a tremendous success.
- Why you don’t want to miss it: An intimate experience in a fantastic venue with some of the best Italian food you’ll ever have. You’ll feel like you’ve traveled to Italy by way of California as you look out at the robust outdoor garden while digging in to a superb made from scratch Italian dinner.
- For More Information & Tickets: $95/pp not including gratuity and wine. La Tavola events are announced on Facebook and quickly sell out.
Time to #MakeSomedayHappen
I hope this list inspires you to make plans with loved ones, get your tickets, support the cause of your choice and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time!
Please don’t forget to share when you attend these events by tagging me @GoEpicurista and using the hashtag! I want to relive all the fun!
If you have favorite charity events for foodies in Orlando that are not listed above, please let me know. I would love to add to my list.
Disclosure: I was an invited media guest for promotional purposes only for some of these events. Others I paid for and donated my time and funds. I am under no obligation to share this post. As always, all opinions are my own. I only share with you products and experiences I love to inspire you to get together with family and friends, celebrate life and go #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time! You can read more about my guidelines in my disclosure policy. Cheers!