Swank Farms Hosts 32 East Chef Reunion Dinner


Staff report

Miss dining at 32 East? You can enjoy culinary creations from chefs of the downtown Delray eatery for one night this month.

Chefs who worked in the kitchen from 1999 until the popular dining establishment closed in 2018, will gather at Swank Farms to cook a Farm and Wine Dinner on April 13.

Based in Loxahatchee Groves, Swank is a 20-acre hydroponic farm that produces more than 350 varieties of vegetables, edible flowers, and micro-greens for local restaurants. Farm owners Jodi and Darrin Swank began hosting culinary events on the property several years ago.

Now, the host 18 signature events from dinners to brunches that feature local chefs, mixologists and breweries and raise money for local charities.

Guests are invited to participate in a farm tour led by the Swanks or wander around the fields to see the farm before taking their seats in the custom designed pole barn. Live music fills the space with sounds provided by some of South Florida’s favorite local bands.

“I got guys and girls from every era of 32 East,” Chef Nick Morfogen said. “They don’t all know each other, but they all know of each other.”

Chef Morfogen led the kitchen at 32 East for 17 years from 1999 until 2016. He is currently the Executive Chef of Pine Tree Golf Club.

While the menu isn’t set yet, chefs can be indecisive Morfogen said, music will be provided by Killbillies and cocktails by Sweetwater.

“I am just looking forward to the interaction,” Morfogen said. “This dinner at Swank Farm is about so much more than food and drink. It’s about a group of ‘misfit’ cooks that changed the way Delray Beach dines. When I was asked to assemble the team for this event, I realized how interesting the career paths of my ‘kitchen kids’ has come to be.”

Some are still in the restaurant business while other have moved on to pursue different passions. A sous chef that Morfogen inherited in 1999 will be on site as will a food runner who became a

sous chef and who is now running a restaurant.

Jodi Swank said she loves that the farm can be the back drop for the reunion. She said so many people have already purchased tickets and the event is nearly sold out.

In addition to former patrons, former front of the house staff and owner Butch Jones plan to be in attendance, Morfogen said.

All Swank events benefit a local nonprofit and this one will benefit Little Smiles.

Swank said she began hosting events at the farm after people at the West Palm Beach GreenMarket asked her about hosting lunch on the farm. It started with lunch on a perfect January day and has grown to culinary events from the annual White Party and Mother’s Day Brunch to adult-only dinners.

In the beginning everything from the tent to dishes had to be rented. Now, the Swanks own everything needed to host a meal and provide a cooking venue for the chefs.

“We just keep moving,” she said.

For tickets and additional information, visit www.swankspecialtyproduce.com.