The Girl Scouts of West Central Florida have figured out how to make sure their guests are never too full to eat dessert. They serve it first at its an annual competition among local chefs who produce exotic treats — what else? — Girl Scout cookies. Dessert First honorary co-chairs Jonathan and Victoria Moore and celebrity judges Candy Debartolo, owner of Sacred Pepper restaurant, Tampa City Councilman Guido Maniscalco and MasterChef Season 8 contestant Jeff Philbin joined 300 samplers taste-testing eight entries during the welcome reception atop the Tampa Airport Marriott on Saturday (Dec. 1). Top honor, the Golden Whisk, went to Locale Market chef Jeffrey Hileman for Do-si-dos Peanut Rodeo. Bake'n Babe chef Julie Curry's lemon cheesecake shooters won the Silver Whisk as the people's choice, beating out delicious creations from Datz, Bern's Steak House, Maggiano's, Seasons 52, Trinity Cafe and Marriot.
WFTS- Ch. 28 community affairs director Lissette Campos introduced CEO Jessica Muroff,who shared recent all-girl leadership development research. That data energized auction bidders and supporters dancing to DeLeon Entertainment in celebration of raising $100,000 for camp scholarships.
Victorian Christmas Stroll Preview Party
Each room on the Victorian Christmas Stroll is more charming than the next, each lovingly decorated by the staff of H.B. Plant Museum for visitors through Dec. 23. Nutcrackers, vintage cameras and Faberge egg replicas adorn the southeast wing of the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel. Julie Guess lent the Victorian dolls displayed laundering Sadie Pariseau's antique baby bonnets in one of the first indoor bathrooms in a U.S. hotel.
Executive director Cynthia Zinober added the finishing touches just an hour or two before greeting 350 guests at the museum society's holiday cocktail preview party chaired by Elizabeth Harris. Paul Wilborn jingled at the piano as the festive crowd mingled in the music salon Nov. 29.
Feast of the Haggis
Cued mile failte greeted St. Andrew's Society of Tampa Bay president Joe Wessel at the 42nd annual Feast of the Haggis. Anyone who speaks Gaelic knows the phrase means "a hundred thousand welcomes." St. Andrew's Pipes & Drums of Tampa Bay heralded the ceremonial parade of the savory pudding, to which Haggis Master Ian Craig recited the poetic Burns address Saturday (Dec. 1). The nearly 200 guests observed many other Scottish traditions during dinner at the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club, most wearing their family tartan and all sipping Scotch, a.k.a. "water of life." Lots of scotch, plus a bottle of Botanist Gin, stilled of nine aromatics and 22 wild botanicals, presented to floral designer Ian Prosser as a thank you.
The haggis, of course, was served "warm, reekin' rich wi' champit tatties and bashed neeps." Translation: Sheep's heart, liver and lungs cooked with oatmeal, onion and spices, served with turnips and potatoes.