Festival of OC Chefs at NB Country Club Raises $640K for KidWorks

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The culinary team from the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa

OC Chefs are some of the most generous and philanthropic-minded chefs in So Cal.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, more than two dozen chefs gathered at Newport Beach Country Club on Sunday, Oct. 3 for the Festival of OC Chefs to raise funds for Kidworks, whose mission since 1993 is to restore at-risk neighborhoods one life at a time for central Santa Ana students and families through a fully licensed preschool, after-school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and adult services in the areas of health, parenting classes, and support groups.

More than 400 guests mingled and sampled signature dishes from noted restaurants while sipping wines from Duckhorn, JCB, Justin and others.

After sampling the cuisine, guests found their places at tables on the lawn to enjoy desserts and be introduced to the chefs by MC DawnMarie Kotsonis.

Chef Event Chair Pascal Olhats introduced Honorary Chef, Lindsay Smith-Rosales of Nirvana Grille in Laguna Beach, who credited Olhats as her mentor.

Event Chairs Kyle and David Team, Lisa and Cory Alder, and Tracy and Kevin Murphy

Kidworks’ board member and event co-chair Cory Alder shared the Kidworks’ story. Involved with the charity for 15 years, he lauded the nonprofit’s academic support, character and leadership development programs that empowers students in Orange County’s underserved neighborhoods from pre-K through their college years. He said the key was involving the entire family to ensure the student’s success.

“We are most proud of the fact that 100 percent of our high school graduates enroll in college or university,” he stated.

The Presenting Sponsors, Kay Family Foundation, represented by Ethan Kay, and the David A. Pyle Family, represented by Annie Pyle, were honored for their ongoing KidWorks support.

The Mayor’s Table, Lido House Chef Riley Huddleston

Fun was had as guests joined the Heads or Tails Game, with one guest left standing. The very happy winner, Newport Beach resident John Cornuke, guest of Natalie and Todd Pickup, received $500 in cash, which he promptly donated back to KidWorks. Newport Beach resident Bob Parsons was the winner of the 50-bottle premium wine tree raffle, donated by Mona Lee Nesseth and valued at $4,000.

The event co-chairs included Lisa and Cory Alder, Tracy and Kevin Murphy and Kyle and David Team, with committee members Joey Booth, Darin and Jeff Garell, Nina and Ethan Kay, Heidi and Ruben Mendoza, Connie and David Oh, Camille and Tim Strader, Jr., Eleanor and Tim Tang, and Sue and Nick Willett.

Chef Victor Soto, Cannery Seafood of the Pacific

Also attending were Board Chair Adrian Montero and KidWork’s CEO/Executive Director David Benevides. KM Productions was thanked for producing the event.

Following a generous Fund-A-Need portion, which helped boost net proceeds to more than $640,00, the band, Flashback Heart Attack, took the stage to continue the fun.

Among the local chefs: Graeme Blair of Newport Beach Country Club, Robert Gomez of A Restaurant, Jacob Davis of Balboa Bay Resort, Victor Soto of Cannery Seafood of the Pacific, Elvis Morales of CdM Restaurant, Andy Arndt of Newport Beach Marriott, Kyung Carroll and Zack Kasmara of Pelican Hill Resort, and Riley Huddleston of The Mayor’s Table.

Photographers are Bob Hodson and Tony Lattimore.

Host Chef Graeme Blair (Newport Beach Country Club), Event Chef Chair Pascal Olhats, Honorary Chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales (Nirvana Grille, Laguna Beach)
Committee members and sponsors Karin & Jeff Garell (board member)
Shirley and Steve Quackenbush
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