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Celebrity Chef Tour Returning to Darwin's on 4th

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 7, 2014
A portion of skirt steak served at last year's Celebrity Chef Tour
A portion of skirt steak served at last year's Celebrity Chef Tour
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Critical culinary connoisseurs and even the most casual foodie spend most of their free time searching for the new taste, the new flavor, the next big local chef to add their patented voice to the already colorful palette of the Sarasota restaurant scene. But one day out of the year, some of the best local and national chefs hold a food summit to celebrate their craft and those passionate fans that pride themselves on what they eat.

The James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour, begun in 2004 to provide rich flavorful experiences to people around the country, is returning to Sarasota 6:30 p.m. Dec. 3. And for a third consecutive year, Darwin’s on 4th (lauded chef Darwin Santa Maria’s temple of Peruvian cuisine) will have the honors of hosting this luxury tour of taste buds.

“Sarasota is now a culinary destination and events like this solidify that reputation,” says Santa Maria in a news release. “Personally, I’m humbled that the James Beard Foundation would ask us to host the event for the third time, and excited to share the kitchen with two great local chefs, James Baselici, Steve Phelps, plus a favorite of mine from Colorado, Paul Anders.”

For $200 per person, Santa Maria and his cohort will offer a five-course meal with each course prepared by a different chef along with beer and wine pairings throughout. Each chef has a distinct cooking and preparation style and the collaborative effort for this tour will be the food equivalent of seasoned and hardened jazz journeymen jamming and creating a beautiful sound for fortunate guests’ tongues and stomachs.

James Baselici, executive chef at Louies Modern and owner of Catch 22, specializes in contemporary American cuisine as well as local seafood concoctions and dishes. Steve Phelps, head chef and owner of Indigenous, specializes in sustainable and seasonally sourced seafood and ingredients.

Paul Anders, executive chef and partner at Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard in Vail, CO, is a trained chef from Johnson and Wales University of Norfolk, VA. Since his time in Colorado, Anders has established a reputation for creating innovative statements and new twists to American cuisine.

And, of course, host chef Darwin Santa Maria rounds out the team with his complex Peruvian voice. Santa Maria attended the Johnson & Wales Culinary College in Providence, RI. Beginning his Sarasota food career at Michael’s On East, Santa Maria established his reputation at Darwin’s on 4th receiving such accolades as “2012 Best Peruvian Chef in America” by the Peruvian embassy in Washington, D.C. as well as making the “2013 Best Chefs America” list and an Award of Excellence from Tumi USA this year.

With all four chefs' contributions, the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour will be the culinary equivalent of today’s superhero blockbuster, a seemingly superhuman team saving Sarasota from any trace of bland taste.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit



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