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Aaron Sanchez To Highlight TCC's 2022 Cleaver and Cork

 Celebrity Chef Aaron Sanchez
used with permission
Tallahassee Community College affiliation
Celebrity Chef Aaron Sanchez

A very popular culinary celebration to benefit Tallahassee Community College is on the calendar for early next year. We spoke with the head of the TCC Foundation about plans for the 2022 "Cleaver and Cork" event.

Heather Mitchell, the college's vice president for Institutional Advancement and Chair of the TCC Foundation, said the big reveal is always the identity of each year's celebrity chef. This year is no exception.

"Aaron Sanchez! One of my favorite restaurants in New Orleans is one that he and his partner Johnny Besh own. It's called 'Johnny Sanchez.' Amazing food! He's been on my list for a while and he'll be coming to headline this Cleaver and Cork."

The happening will begin even before Sanchez gets to town.

"We're going to start it on February 27th with our progressive cocktails. We're going to hit 5 local restaurants and the cool thing is, the chefs in these restaurants, we'll give them a copy of Sanchez's cookbook and they'll do their own take on 2 or 3 recipes and we'll pair them with either a cool wine, a cool beer, or mixed cocktail of some kind."

The happening star comes less than a week later.

"Chef Sanchez will arrive in town on March 3rd and that night we're doing a 'toast and talk' event. What that is, for some lucky folks (we're only offering 25 tickets for the early so they can meet him personally,) he'll do a toast and talk from the stage, sort of an interview process, cooking demonstration, and storytelling all at the same time."

And Mitchell said there will be one more dimension to the occasion.

"We're going to partner him with a local executive chef, Brian Knepper from Savour, which we're really excited about. It's the first time we've reached out to engage the local community in that particular event for Cleaver and Cork and we're excited to do that this year."

That will lead to Cleaver and Cork's main events.

"Friday, March 4th is our big signature dinner. There are limited tickets for that. And then Saturday we'll end it with the Food and Wine Festival here on our campus from 11 until 3. We're going to have 40 tasting tents, we'll have live music, master classes you can visit. Sweet Grass Dairy will be doing a wine and cheese class with us. Poco Vino will be doing a wine class. We'll have bourbon and tequila classes."

And while many Cleaver and Cork happenings are tightly ticketed, Mitchell said Saturday's Festival is wide open.

"And our hope is that for the Food and Wine Festival on March 5th, that we have 1,000 people here enjoying it because all of the funds that we raise from these events support scholarships and activities here on our campus for our students."

And as always, the Internet is your friend.

"Just Google 'Cleaver and Cork Tallahassee' and it'll come up. It has more on our events and all the information. You can buy what you want. Check it out and see."

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.