Festival of OC Chefs in Newport Beach Raises $800K in Support of Nonprofit KidWorks

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The culinary crew from Pelican Hill Resort / Photo by Chris Trela

Cooking for charity has become a popular way for local nonprofit organizations to raise needed funds to support their important causes.

Chefs are a generous lot; so too are donors—but who wouldn’t want to contribute funds for the opportunity to taste amazing cuisine.

Such was the case on July 16 when dozens of chefs came together at Newport Beach Country Club for the Third Annual Festival of OC Chefs, which raised an impressive $800,000 in support of KidWorks, a 30-year-old Santa Ana-based nonprofit that provides academic, personal development, and leadership programs for children and teens in under-resourced neighborhoods.

The tasty event was held on the spacious lawn areas at the Newport Beach Country Club and featured the culinary talents of professionals from more than 50 Orange County restaurants and other popular food service providers, many from Newport Beach.

Sumptuous cuisine, refreshing libations, and delicious desserts were highlights of the evening. The screening of an impactful video about KidWorks and its three-decade journey to transform the lives of so many deserving children persuaded guests to give their financial support.

Bidding on silent auction items / Photo by Chris Trela

A silent auction offered many irresistible items. Topping off the high-energy evening was a stirring performance by the Tijuana Dogs, a popular local rock/dance/party band.

The event co-chairs were Newport Beach resident Dean Gray and Laticia and Patrick Merrell, a KidWorks Board member.

The Host Chef was Graeme Blair, Executive Chef for Newport Beach Country Club. The Honorary Chef was Rick Boxeth of Santa Ana Sweets & Catered Courses. The Event Chef Chair was Chris Tzorin of Taste Collective.

Tuna ceviche tacos from Balboa Bay Resort / Photo by Chris Trela

Said Chef Blair, “We are fortunate to work here in Newport Beach. It’s wonderful to see that our members and owners are so supportive of causes like KidWorks. As staff members at the Club, we want to follow their lead and give back, too. It’s the right thing to do.”

Participating chefs from Newport Beach in addition to Blair were Prabeen Prathapan of Balboa Bay Resort, Robert Luna of Billy’s at the Beach, Kevin Jones from Cannery Seafood of the Pacific, David Martin of The Pacific Club, Kyung Carroll from Pelican Hill Resort, and Yvon Goetz and Ari Amenta from The Winery Restaurant.

The Cannery cuisine / Photo by Chris Trela

‘We are honored to have these high caliber culinary stars lend their time and talent again this year in support of our educational initiatives designed to transform the lives of our students,” said KidWorks CEO and Executive Director David Benavides. “We thank our sponsors and donors for their generosity.”

Since 1993, KidWorks has helped children, youth and families living in challenging neighborhoods in central Santa Ana thrive in body, mind and spirit. As a 501(C) (3) nonprofit, KidWorks transforms some of Orange County’s most challenging neighborhoods by investing in the lives of its youngest residents and their families. They firmly believe that a zip code should not determine a child’s future. For nearly a decade, one hundred percent of KidWorks high school students graduated on time and are pursuing higher education this fall.

To learn more about KidWorks, please visit www.kidworksoc.org.

The Winery Newport smoked trout / Photo by Chris Trela
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