Looking to reaffirm his faith and spirit of giving, John (the “Gridiron Griller”) formed the “John Offerdahl’s Broward Health® Gridiron Grill-Off Food & Wine Festival” in 2010, pairing Miami Dolphins legends with top South Florida chefs to compete in a culinary competition for charity. During the event, the chef and athlete teams create signature grilled entrees for nearly 3,000 attendees with all proceeds benefiting the Offerdahl’s Hand-Off Foundation, which supports local charities including 4KIDS of South Florida, HOPE South Florida, Here’s Help, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association, The Miami Dolphins Foundation and Taste of the NFL.
This year’s event will feature an expanded Guy Harvey’s Sustainable Seafood Village, the Samuel Adams Craft Beer Garden and the Toyota Cornhole Stadium near the Festival Stage.
Food, Football and Faith
“The Gridiron Grill-Off holds a very special place in my heart, as it combines my greatest passions, football, and food, with the opportunity to positively impact the children in our community,” said Offerdahl.
After attending a Lifework Leadership class hosted by the National Christian Foundation six years ago, Offerdahl began to ask himself two questions: What is my significance, and how can I leverage what I do for eternal gain? That’s when he was ignited to use his talents to serve the community.
Offerdahl has always had a passion for football, food and faith. He played for Western Michigan University and then spent his entire professional career with the Miami Dolphins. John was named Rookie of the Year in 1986 and was picked five times in a row for the NFL Pro-Bowl team.
During the height of his football career, John and his wife Lynn opened a small bagel store in Weston, which grew in size and popularity, eventually becoming Einstein Bagels in 1995. In 2000, they once again entered the restaurant business with Offerdahl’s Café Grill, a chain of fast-casual eateries known for fresh-baked and just-grilled great food.
“We are thrilled to elevate this culinary event each year, bringing new and exciting elements, for all to enjoy. Combining an impressive roster of celebrity athletes with top South Florida chefs and our mission to Feed the Needs of Kids in Crisis is a winning recipe that perpetuates this event year after year,” he said.
Since its inception, the event has raised more than $100,000 for its charity partners, which “feed the needs of kids in crisis.”
Charities who benefit
Thirty percent of the proceeds are donated to 4KIDS of South Florida, a ministry committed to finding loving homes for kids in crisis who have been removed from their families due to abuse or neglect.
Hope South Florida, a non-profit organization serving homeless families in Broward County by providing housing, mentoring relationships, and community one-stop service centers, receives 30 percent to help instill hope in the homeless.
The Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association Education Foundation uses the funds they receive from the event to award collegiate scholarships for students pursuing careers in the culinary arts and hospitality industries, among other educational initiatives.
Another beneficiary of the Gridiron Grill-Off is the Taste of the NFL, which uses its funds as part of the Kick Hunger Challenge to raise money in support of food banks throughout the United States. And about 10 percent of the proceeds support Feeding South Florida, a leading domestic hunger relief organization.
In addition, Offerdahl’s Hand-Off Foundation supports Here’s help, a provider of residential and outpatient substance abuse treatment for adolescents and young adults, and the Miami Dolphins Foundation, devoted to supporting youth athletic programs and volunteers activities.
“John Offerdahl’s Broward Health® Gridiron Grill-Off Food & Wine Festival” is set for Saturday, Nov. 14 at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater, 1806 NE 6 Street. The $85 Grand Grill-Off ticket will give attendees, 21 and older, the opportunity to sample delicious signature dishes created by Miami Dolphins legends and top local chefs from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The $125 VIP ticket package will include a signed copy of Richman’s book, as well as early access into the Grand Grill-Off starting at noon. To find out more and to purchase VIP and regularly-priced admission tickets, visit www.gridirongrilloff.com.