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Python, anyone? Miami chefs cooking invasive species to raise money, awareness

Python, wild boar, and lion fish are usually a cause for worry in South Florida. With no natural predators, these invasive species disrupt the local ecology. This weekend, to raise awareness about the impact these animals have on the environment, Miami chefs will use them as key ingredients in cook-off competition.

The Miami Herald reports that Todd Erickson, executive chef of Haven Gastro-Lounge; Bradley Herron, chef de cuisine of Michael's Genuine Food & Drink, and Timon Balloo, executive chef of Sugarcane Raw Bar Grill, will compete for the title of "Best Invasivore Chef." The cooking fest will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday at Villa 221, at 221 NE 17th St., Miami. "I think this will be fun and I'm very excited to see what Timon and Bradley do," Erickson said. "Some good food is going to come out of it."

The event is both a fundraiser for Fertile Earth Foundation and a way to raise awareness about how these invasive animals impact South Florida's ecology. Erickson, who said braised python is on the menu, hopes the event will generate an appetite for the locally abundant species.

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