MAK­ING WAVES

Cel­e­brat­ing South­west Florid­i­ans

RSWLiving - - Departments - —Craig Gar­rett

Der­rick Peltz is giv­ing back as his tele­vi­sion suc­cess rip­ples out­ward. The Es­tero High grad is ap­ply­ing his no­to­ri­ety as a MasterChef con­tes­tant to help fund the new Golisano Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal of South­west Florida. Peltz, 29, pre­pared a pri­vate din­ner in Oc­to­ber to ben­e­fit Golisano. The meal cost a win­ning auc­tion bid­der $15,000 that was ap­plied to the Golisano fund­ing ef­fort. The project will run $250 mil­lion when con­struc­tion ends in 2017. “I’m a prod­uct of Lee Me­mo­rial [Health Sys­tem] and Fort My­ers,” says Peltz, a self-taught cook and run­ner-up in the culi­nary re­al­ity se­ries. “When I was asked to help [raise Golisano pro­ceeds], I didn’t think twice about it.”

Peltz started his ca­reer as a rock drum­mer, head­ing to Los An­ge­les with his Fort My­ers band­mates. Cook­ing was just en­ter­tain­ment, he says, un­til friends rec­om­mended he au­di­tion for MasterChef. He pre­pared a seared-scal­lop recipe. Fin­ish­ing as run­ner-up sparked in­stant recog­ni­tion, giv­ing Peltz lee­way in choos­ing what causes to sup­port. Vis­it­ing Golisano’s treat­ment cen­ter changed his life, he says. “It blew my mind. They’re amaz­ing.”

DER­RICK PELTZ

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