Things are cooking upstairs at the media center

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — While the media frenzy continues down on Radio Row, there’s a food frenzy going on two floors up here at the Broward County Convention Center. That’s where 35 of America’s best chefs from around the country – along with their staffs — are busy preparing an intimate dinner… for 3,000 guests.

It’s the 19th annual Taste of the NFL, which takes place Saturday night here at the convention center. The event – which has raised more than $8 million to help hunger relief — pairs chefs from each NFL city with a current or former player. Guests in attendance get to sample the food and mingle with the players. Proceeds from the event go to food banks in all 32 NFL cities.

Among the culinary artists toiling away upstairs is the NFL’s own Marc Payero, executive chef at the Huddle Café in the NFL’s New York office. Chef Marc – paired with Philadelphia Eagles fullback Leonard Weaver — is preparing Cavatelli pasta with veal ragout, along with a mint marscapone crème dessert.

Yours truly had a chance to sample the veal ragout this afternoon, and it was awesome. Just a little better than the fare being served here in the catering room.

— Craig Ellenport

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