What do you get when you invite three dozen chefs and restaurateurs to come together and share their culinary talents for a good cause?
You get Table for Ten, an annal culinary event that raises funds for deserving charities by having noted chefs prepare multi-course feasts for tables of ten diners.
This year, Table for Ten was held on Sunday, March 6 at the Festival of Arts grounds in Laguna Beach, a perfect outdoor venue as we come out of the pandemic. The temperature dipped into the 50s, but hearts were warm and generosity even warmer.
Among the Newport Beach chefs who hosted tables at the event: Prabeen Prabathan & Jacob Davis of the Balboa Bay Resort & Club, Victor Soto & Daniele Cambria of Cannery Seafood of the Pacific & Louie’s by the Bay, Elvis Morales of CDM Restaurant, Andy Arndt of the new Vea Newport Beach (formerly the Marriott Newport Beach), Sabu Husuino of Nobu Newport Beach, David Martin of Pacific Club, Kyung Carroll of Pelican Hill Resort, and Riley Huddleston of The Mayor’s Table at Lido House.
I was lucky to be seated at the table hosted by Chef Pascal Olhats, who for many years ran Café Jardin at Sherman Gardens, and before that Traditions by Pascal in Newport Beach and Brasserie Pascal in Fashion Island, where I was a regular (the shrimp cassoulet was my go-to appetizer).
I had also hired Chef Pascal to cook my birthday dinner last October—just me and nine friends in a rented villa at Pelican Hill Resort.
But back to Table for Ten.
Pascal created what he dubbed “Le Cuisine Gastronomique,” an eight-course extravaganza that included such dishes as coquille saint Jacques with white truffle pearls, braised thyme crusted Chilean seabass (one of Chef Pascal’s most famous dishes), duck a l’orange, a fromage course, and crème brulee.
Each course was perfectly paired with wine.
Oh—and before the main event, there was a reception with more restaurants, and wineries, serving signature items and pouring tastes of signature vintages. A silent auction drew multiple bids.
But back to the main event.
As we dined, a handful of live auction items drew impressive bids. Led by spirited auctioneer DawnMarie Kotsonis, the items ranged from an overnight villa stay at Pelican Hill Resort including spa treatments, golf and a chef’s dinner for 10, as well as dinners offered by participating chefs in the winners’ homes. Included were Ugo Allesina of Prego Restaurant, Chris Tzorin pf Taste Collective, Brandon Hall of Thyme Well Spent Catering, and Jonathan Stanley of Dana Point Yacht Club.
The event’s Honorary Chef, Ugo Allesina, was honored by Chef Pascal, the event’s Chef Scholarship Chair, whose culinary scholarship program was the recipient of the evening’s proceeds. Pascal lauded Allesina for his culinary skills as well as his giving his time and energy to numerous charitable causes.
Table for Ten was orchestrated by Kristin Martin and KM Productions. More than 300 gourmet food and wine lovers attended the sold-out event.
The designated charity this year was the Pascal Culinary Scholarship Program, which creates grants for culinary arts students in Orange County. The program works with Saddleback Culinary Arts College, Orange Coast College Culinary School and chefs currently working who would like to go back and further their culinary arts dreams. Pascal Olhats, who launched the program, said, “The scholarships provide monies to offset or cover the students’ tuition, fees, books and equipment. The college foundations select the recipients based on need and merit.”
Along with Fund-A-Need monies raised, more than $300,000 in net proceeds was realized, which will provide grants to deserving culinary arts students through the Pascal Culinary Scholarship Program.
For more information, visit https://tableforten.org