Let’s Try It: Gayle and Leigh become chefs for a night

Gayle Guyardo and Leigh Spann try out new adventures across Tampa Bay.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — News Channel 8 Today has expanded with two more hours of local news, weather and traffic on WTTA Great 38. Monday through Friday, you can catch the team from 7am to 9am. One added segment will be when Gayle Guyardo and Leigh Spann try out new adventures across Tampa Bay.

They recently had the opportunity to be a chef for a night to raise money for culinary student scholarships at the Epicurean Hotel in Tampa.

Gayle and Leigh put on official chef jackets and even tied bandanas around their heads, so they at least looked the part.

“You guys are competing in a mystery basket Voodoo competition,” said Chef Erik Youngs, the founder of the Voodoo Chef Foundation. “You’re going to be cooking for all the guests in the theater tonight. You have no clue what you’re cooking,” he added.

The Voodoo Chef Foundation supports scholarships for students looking to enter a career in the culinary arts.

“Year to date we’ve given away $20,000,” said Youngs.

The foundation has also served 400 meals this year to people in need with money raised from events like this “Celebrity Chef Cook-Off.”

In this particular cook-off, there were three teams tasked with making sliders for the 40 people in the audience. Each team had members of the community and one professional chef. The teams were presented a basket of meat to make their sliders.

Gayle and Leigh’s team opened up their basket to reveal ground chicken. The other two teams were given ground beef and mahi mahi filets.

Then, the teams had 10 minutes to decide on a recipe for their sliders: bread, seasoning and toppings.

With note cards and pencils in hand, Gayle and Leigh’s team chose Cuban bread with spicy mayo and an onion and brown sugar relish.

Gayle and Leigh’s duties included making the chicken slider patties and cutting up the Cuban bread to the size of sliders. These duties went off without much of a hitch, but then they had to put the spicy mayo only on the top of the bread.

“The bottoms got mixed up with the tops, and the tops got mixed up with the bottoms. Next thing you know, it’s a big mayo mess,” explained Gayle.

As the 75-minute time clock clicked down to 1 minute, the teams quickly added the toppings and placed one of each slider on a plate.

“We were definitely the weak link,” Leigh said.

“I have a whole new admiration for chefs,” Gayle exclaimed.

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