Grill masters and BBQ lovers will be gathering on April 1 at Riverside Park in Bonita Springs for the 4th annual Sunshine Ace Hardware Big Green EGGfest.
EGGfest is a family-friendly celebration of barbecue that includes all-you-can-eat food samplings, craft beer, grilling demonstrations and live music. The event doubles as a cooking competition with two divisions: trained chefs, caterers and restauranteurs will compete in the pro division, while home cooks compete in the amateur division. Taster tickets allow attendees to try food samples from each chef and cast votes for their favorite items, awarding the People’s Choice Awards, while a Judges Panel crowns the EGGhead Grill Master Pro and GrillMaster Amateur, which will win a Mini Max Big Green Egg as well as other prizes. Two-time winner Chef Asif Syed, of 21 Spices, who beat the infamous Bobby Flay on The Food Network, returns in hopes of capturing a third title.
All chefs use a Big Green Egg to prepare meats, vegetables and side dishes. The multi-functional ceramic charcoal barbecue cooker can be used as a grill, oven or smoker.
“We tend to start our summers earlier in Southwest Florida, and the Big Green EGGfest has become the region’s unofficial kickoff to summer,” said Michael Wynn, president of Sunshine Ace Hardware. “While this event was created as a celebration of barbecue, it’s also grown into a fairly large charitable event to support organizations focused on our local charities.”
This year, proceeds will support Farm City BBQ, Kiwanis, Leadership Collier, and United Way of Collier and the Keys. Event sponsors include NCH Healthcare System, PBS Contractors, Lee Health, BKS Partners, Florida Gulf Coast University and Lantz Financial Team.
Taster tickets are $20 each and include the entrance fee, unlimited samples and three voting ballots. Additionally, VIP tickets are $50 and include access to a VIP tent and open bar in addition to food samples and voting privileges. Live music will be provided by The Moonstone Riders.
Amateur chefs can register for $25, while the registration cost for professional chefs is $150. Chefs can enter with a team of up to three other individuals as sous chefs and servers.
For taster tickets, chef registration or sponsorship opportunities, please visit