Charity Spotlight: Local Chefs Cook Up Donations for Charity

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Chef Pascal Olhats and Chef Yvon Goetz

It’s always rewarding to see local chefs cooking for charity, which is why the inaugural Chef Masters benefiting Alzheimer’s Family Center – held at the Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach on October 28 and attended by 375 guests – was such a success.

More than 30 chefs from throughout Orange County, including many from Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, prepared tastes of their signature dishes during a 90-minute gourmet food and wine reception on the hotel’s terrace, paired with a handful of upscale California wines.

Chef Rachel Haggstrom of Balboa Bay Resort

Among the chefs: David Shofner of Fable & Spirit (Newport Beach), Diego Bernal, Coliseum Pool & Grill, Resort at Pelican Hill (Newport Coast), Greg Daniels, Harley’s Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach), Jessica Roy, Current Coastal Cuisine, Renaissance Hotel (Newport Beach), Lindsay Smith-Rosales & Kimmy Wilson, Nirvana Grille (Laguna Beach), Noe Moreno, True Food Kitchen (Newport Beach), Philip Tangonan, Cannery Seafood of the Pacific (Newport Beach), Rachel Haggstrom, Waterline, A + O Kitchen & Bar, Balboa Bay Resort (Newport Beach), Ron Fougeray, Splashes, Surf & Sand Resort (Laguna Beach), and Yvon Goetz & Jim Fritz, The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar (Newport Beach).

Following the tasting, guests entered the ballroom to enjoy a sumptuous dessert, presented by Venue Host Executive Chef Kevin Meyer at Paséa Resort. They had the opportunity to bid on live auction items, including a Montana escape in a luxury log home, and a stay locally in a villa at The Resort at Pelican Hill with a chef’s dinner at the Coliseum Pool & Grill.

Entertainment was provided by The Johnny Holiday Show with the Dean Mora Orchestra.

Chef Masters Platinum Sponsor Julia Argyros, Title Sponsor Mona Lee Nesseth

AFC CEO Joanna Richardson-Jones welcomed everyone and thanked them for their support. She also recognized Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach for its 40 years of support. Hoag’s partnership with AFC 40 years ago provided the 20,000 sq.ft. dementia-specific center in Huntington Beach, which is the only day care program in Orange County devoted exclusively to treating people with dementia.

“Hoag’s passion made it possible,” Richardson-Jones said.

AFC Board President Mary Lou Shattuck introduced Gwen Parry, M.D., who serves on the AFC board and has been instrumental in AFC’s success. He is director of Hoag’s Community Benefit Program.

Chef Masters Founder and Producer Kristin Martin introduced Honorary Executive Chef Chair Pascal Olhats (Café Jardin in Corona del Mar), and Venue Host Executive Chef Kevin Meyer as culinary leaders of the inaugural fundraiser.

She also recognized Title Sponsor Mona Lee Nesseth, who supported AFC because of the guidance she received from Richardson-Jones for her mother, who suffers from dementia. 

Major underwriters who attended were Newport Beach resident Julia Argyros, president of the Argyros Family Foundation, and philanthropist Sue Gross. The effort netted more than $100,000 for AFC programs.

Kristin Martin, the mastermind behind the annual Table for 10 culinary event that happens every spring, is to be commended for her tireless efforts in support of charities. The success of the inaugural Chef Masters certainly bodes well for making it an annual event.

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