John Offerdahl was honored during last Thursday’s game between the Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals at Sunlife Stadium. He played all eight of his seasons in the National Football League with the Dolphins, winning rookie of the year and making five Pro Bowls.
“Playing for the Dolphins was unbelievable,” Offerdahl said. “Being from a small town in Wisconsin, getting a scholarship to a lower Division I school then getting a chance to start right away with the Miami Dolphins was a dream come true.”
Offerdahl, who owns Offerdahl’s Café Grill, is paying it forward by hosting his “John Offerdahl’s Broward Health Gridiron Grill-Off Food, Wine & Tailgate Festival” on Saturday at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater. The event, which pairs 25 Miami Dolphins legends with 25 South Florida chefs in the fourth annual culinary competition, will run from 1 to 9 p.m.
“I’m a linebacker and love a collision, and this is where football and food come together,” he said. “The fans have a great opportunity to interact and engage in conversation with their heroes of the past.”
Each team, which consists of one former player and one chef, will be tasked with creating one grilled signature dish to compete in the “Grand Grill-Off.”
Chef Greg McGowan from Pelican Landing at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66, who won last year’s judges’ award, will defend his title.
“Everybody comes together for a good cause,” said McGowan, who has been a chef for 18 years. “It’s a great event and I look forward to getting out there and grilling again.”
He will rejoin his teammate from last year, Troy Stradford; the duo will make a fennel-crusted hanger steak paired with pinot noir.
Stradford, who played running back for the Dolphins from 1987 to 1990, is a radio host for AM 940 The Sports Animal and participating in his fourth event.
“The chefs are just as competitive as we are,” Stradford said. “It’s a unique opportunity for people to come out and sample different foods, and the best part is that it’s all to raise money for kids.”
Proceeds will benefit Offerdahl’s Hand-Off Foundation, which directs funds to agencies that “feed the needs of kids in crisis” including 4KIDS of South Florida, HOPE South Florida, Here’s Help, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association and the Miami Dolphins Foundation.
“At the end of the day, what’s pretty special about this is that 100 percent of the proceeds are to support the foundation,” Offerdahl said. “Its purpose is to feed the needs of kids in crisis, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”