World-renown chef and Food Network star, Alex Guarnaschelli makes her home and runs her business in New York, but like so many of the culinary elite, she can’t resist South Florida and is coming to town.

The “Chopped” judge, host of “Supermarket Stakeout” and star of “Alex vs. America,” will headline the Boca West Children’s Foundation luncheon on Wednesday, April 17 at the Boca West Country Club.

The foundation, established in 2010, aims to help at-risk children and their families in Palm Beach County. It has raised $18 million dollars over the past 14 years and supports programs operated by 36 local charities.

All of the money raised goes directly to projects and not into general funds. Those projects have helped feed and clothe children, provide medical and dental services, keep abuse shelters open, send at-risk children to summer camp and more.

No stranger to helping others, Guarnaschelli works with multiple charities, including the Food Bank for New York City, No Kid Hungry and Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a charity that supports the families of children with cancer and research in that field.

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Headlining the Boca West Children's Foundation luncheon on Wednesday, April 17 at Boca West Country Club, celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli said she loves cooking breakfast.

Headlining the Boca West Children’s Foundation luncheon on Wednesday, April 17 at Boca West Country Club, celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli said she loves cooking breakfast.

We were able to chat with chef Alex via email. Here’s what she had to say:

Your restaurant Butter has been open for over 20 years in midtown Manhattan. Any thoughts about opening a second Butter in South Florida?

Chef Alex: We have often discussed expanding the brand, but speculate success may lie in the fact that the restaurant is only in one place. Butter, as is true with so many restaurants, depends so much on the uniquely great staff that works seamlessly as a team. Come enjoy our signature pork chops, Cavatappi pasta, gnocchi mac & cheese, and beignets in NYC!

When you’re in South Florida, do you have any favorite restaurants?

Chef Alex: I love Michael’s Genuine (especially the desserts!) for its unfussy and enviably tasty American cooking. I think Zak The Baker has a fantastic bread program, but I like the prepared foods just as much. True Loaf Bakery (those empanadas!) is another favorite place of mine. Call Me Gaby (tasty salads and pizza) across the street from the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab (another favorite) is another casual favorite of mine.

Editor’s note: For those not familiar, Michael’s Genuine and Zak The Baker are in Miami, True Loaf Bakers, Call Me Gaby and Joe’s Stone Crab are in Miami Beach.

Since the pandemic, and with so many New Yorkers moving down to South Florida, would you say this area has become a ‘foodie destination’? Or has it always been?

Chef Alex: It didn’t take New Yorkers moving to this area to make it a food destination. It always has been!

Out of all the (Chopped) episodes you’ve judged, did you ever have a contestant make something that was so good/creative that you later used it at your restaurant?

Chef Alex: To be honest, competition show cooking really doesn’t work like that. For me, it doesn’t directly translate into menu or dish ideas. The basket provides a lot of parameters for the dishes that are created and so it sort of lives inside the bubble of the show. That said, I have been blown away and inspired by the creativity of the competitors so many times.

When you’re home what is your favorite recipe to make?

Chef Alex: I love cooking with my daughter, Ava. Our new cookbook “Cook It Up”, explores the fun assembly of dishes we end up calling our repertoire. My favorite meal period is breakfast. I love egg dishes. I also love baking because I’m not a pastry chef. It’s almost as if baking provides this whole frontier of cooking that feels so fresh and new to me every time I do it. It’s also a relaxing break–like a hobby.

Is there any particular gadget that you would say is invaluable or at least worth spending the money on for the aspiring home chef?

Chef Alex: I genuinely believe a Vitamix blender can change home cooking in so many ways. From soups to smoothies to sauces to fun cocktails, it just changes the texture and aerates so many different recipes and combinations. This is an unsponsored comment, and I’ve literally had my blender on my counter for a number of years. I especially love it for a homemade vegetable purée soups.

What: Boca West Children’s Foundation Luncheon featuring celebrity chef Alex Guarnaschelli

Where: Boca West Country Club, 20583 Boca West Drive, Boca Raton

When: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 17

Cost: $195

Information: bocawestfoundation.org/luncheon

Eddie Ritz is a journalist at The Palm Beach Post, part of the USA TODAY Florida Network. You can reach him at [email protected]. Help support our journalism. Subscribe today.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Boca West Children’s Foundation luncheon to feature Alex Guarnaschelli

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