Off the Menu: Chefs Serve Funds for Charity

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Chef Rich Mead of Farmhouse serves his cuisine at the Chef’s Table event

This past year has been tough for restaurants, yet chefs still volunteer to give back by volunteering to participate in chef-driven charity events.

Two of my favorites are the annual OC Chef’s Table that raises funds for the Illumination Foundation, and the Table for Ten event that this year has named Make a Wish as its designated charity.

This year’s Chef’s Table – dubbed the “Elite Gala of Orange County” – was held June 27 at the private San Juan Capistrano estate of Jacqueline DuPont-Carlson and Marc Carlson.

Normally guests would sit at tables of 10 with a chef creating custom cuisine tableside, but this year due to coronavirus concerns the style of the event changed slightly. This time, 375 guests enjoyed a lovely outdoor setting with eight different restaurants offering bites at food stations set around the large backyard.

Participating Newport Beach chefs included Chef Rich Mead of Farmhouse and Chef Jared Cook of Olea.

The memorable dinner entrée was donated and prepared by Top Chef Amar Santana of Vaca, Broadway and The Hall Global Eatery at South Coast Plaza.

Most importantly, the event brought in more than $1.3 million, the largest amount the event has earned. The proceeds will support the Plumeria Family Emergency House, a first for the Foundation, that is being updated to accommodate homeless children and families with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities.

In addition to a broad election of silent auction items, the event also featured a live auction that included a wine refrigerator stocked with highly desirable wines, and a Southern California stay-cation package with luxury accommodations and culinary experiences.

Chef Jessica Roy and Chef Pascal Olhats will be cooking up a storm for the Table for Ten event / Photo by Christopher Trela ©

Up next is Table for Ten on August 29. This culinary event is being held at the Bowers Museum courtyard in Santa Ana and features 30 chefs/restaurants, plus another dozen Cocktail Reception hosts.

Newport Beach restaurants and chefs planning to participate include Honorary Chef Jessica Roy of the new Cultivar restaurant at Sherman Gardens, Event Chef Chair Pascal Olhats (formerly of Café Jardin at Sherman  Gardens), and chefs from Balboa Bay Club, Cannery Seafood of the Pacific, Louie’s by the Bay, Nobu Newport Beach, Pacific Club, Pelican Hill Resort, and The Mayor Table at Lido House.

The event starts at 4:30 with a reception featuring wine and cocktails plus tasting stations, followed by a seated, multi-course meal for 10 people from one of the restaurants, paired with wine and other libations.

Sponsorships are still available, as are single tickets. Visit for more information.

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