Local chefs put on their game face for the 10th Annual Imagine Gala

Tickets are now available for the 10th Annual Imagine Gala, which will be held 7 to 11 p.m. on March 21, 2015 at the Imaginarium Science Center, 2000 Cranford Avenue in Fort Myers. Local celebrity chefs are already sharpening their competitive edge for a fierce but friendly cook-off to highlight a Fresh From Florida theme and bring their signature flair to the tastes, textures, colors and excitement of a locally sourced abundance from land and sea. Chefs Harold Balink, Fabrice Deletrain, Brian Roland and Benjamin Voisin have gallantly stepped up as culinary champions for the worthy causes of fun, funds and food.

Chef Harold Balink has been serving up “Lush wines and pure food” at Cru in the Bell Tower Shops since 2009. His tenure at this locals’ favorite fine dining establishment follows a long career in the restaurant and hospitality business, beginning at the renowned Johnson and Wales University Culinary Arts Center. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in hotel and restaurant management from Boston University and the Advanced Level Sommelier certification from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Balink first made a splash in Southwest Florida more than 20 years ago as Executive Chef at South Seas Plantation and owned and partnered in many ventures, including the much-loved Harold’s on Bay in the River District.

Chefs Fabrice Deletrain and Ben Voisin will hit the stage as a dynamic duo of French chefs classically trained on their native soil. The pair of ex-pats represents the culinary powerhouse at Fathoms Restaurant & Bar, where Deletrain has served as Executive Chef since the waterfront eatery’s predecessor, The Joint, opened in 2006. L’École de Paris des Métiers de la Table is his alma mater, and he worked with Michelin three-star chef Guy Savoy for eight years. Voisin joined Deletrain at Fathoms at Cape Harbour in September from Montpelier Plantation and Beach on the Caribbean island of Nevis. Previously he managed 20 kitchen teams as Executive Sous Chef at the luxurious La Manga Club Hotel Principe Felipe in Spain. Upon graduating from Lycée Hôtelier de Talence, Voisin became the junior French champion of ice carving in 2002. Voisin is also executive chef at Fathoms’ neighbor, The French Press.

Crave Culinaire by Chef Brian Roland has become well known for its ultramodern take on catering, and its owner is the final formidable contender in this gastronomical battle royale. Formerly Executive Chef of M Waterfront Grille in Naples, Roland is no stranger to competition and often collaborates with other chefs and industry professionals to organize events to heighten creativity and self-improvement in this dynamic field. Roland has worked for Daniel Boulud at his world-famous establishments Restaurant Daniel and Café Boulud. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, and launched his career at the TPC private golf course at Jasna Polana in Princeton, N.J.

The 2014 Imagine Gala raised $75,000, and this year’s gourmet gladiators are determined to top that sum. Order tickets at i-sci.org for a night of delectable discoveries, cocktails, dancing, a live and silent auction, and many delightful surprises. Several levels of sponsorship are still available, offering exciting promotional opportunities, gala tickets, a seat on the Celebrity Cook-Off Judge’s Panel, family memberships and more. All proceeds support Southwest Florida’s only science center and aquarium, which offers engaging STEM exhibits for Southwest Florida children and families.

Please join Title Sponsor Lipman Produce and the other major sponsors for an evening to be remembered: Chico’s FAS, Inc., Enterprise, Bell Tower Shops, Henderson Franklin Starnes & Holt, P.A., EnSite, Inc. and CONRIC PR & Marketing | Publishing.

About the Imaginarium Science Center
The Imaginarium Science Center is a family-friendly science center and aquarium offering fun interactive exhibits and a 3-D theatre. The mission is to engage guests in the exploration of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) through hands-on exhibit experiences and educational programs that further the understanding of the natural and human-made world, foster an appreciation for Southwest Florida’s unique environment and natural waterways, and nurture intellectual curiosity, discovery, and innovation. For more information, visit www.i-sci.org.