25th Annual Festival of Chefs

Benefiting Easter Seals’ Culinary Arts High School

Shelley Daniel Rutherford, Tony Guerra, Susana Fontanals, Lorena Lama

Easter Seals South Florida, with enthusiastic support from a wide array of sponsors, chefs, wine purveyors, artists, in-kind donors, board members, steering committee members, volunteers and friends, raised a record amount of nearly $90,000 at the 25th Annual Festival of Chefs. The event benefits Easter Seals South Florida’s Culinary Arts High School, a vocational training program for students ages 16 to 22 with Autism and other disabilities.

Held at the beautiful Comber Hall in Coral Gables, this year’s event kicked off with a special VIP reception hosted by celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffmann, author and TV host of “Delicioso” (Univision) and “Simply Delicioso” (Cooking Channel). Guests enjoyed multi-course gourmet samplings served by some of South Florida’s most popular chefs, live entertainment by the dynamic violin duo Sons of Mystro, and an extensive live and silent auction of original paintings, sculptures, multimedia artworks, luxury vacations and upscale merchandise. Local artist MANO was joined this year with eight fellow artists to truly make this year’s event a fine art experience.

“We are delighted that this year’s event was such a success,” said event chair Shelley Daniel Rutherford. “Not only did our guests get to enjoy some fabulous food and wine, they also had the satisfaction of knowing they’re helping support our mission of providing exceptional services so that all people with disabilities or special needs have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities.”

Norma Jean Abraham, Reeves Felker, Shelley and Larry Rutherford, Genevieve Young, Mary Louise Young, Howard Taft

Event chef chair John Richards of Miami Culinary Institute enlisted a remarkable array of the area’s top chefs to join him for this very special event, including host chef Elgin Woodman of A Joy Wallace; Chef Alberto Cabrera of Bread + Butter; Chef Luis Lopez of City Hall, The Restaurant; Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli of Eating House; Chef Patricio Sandoval of Mercadito Restaurant Miami; Chef Brian Molloy of Nikki Beach Miami Beach; Chef Assia Dahrouch of Lemoni Cafe; Chef Jorge Montes of Roho Kitchen; Chef Kareem Anguin of The Oceanaire Seafood Room; Chef Norman Van Aken of Tuyo Restaurant, and students from Easter Seals South Florida’s Culinary Arts High School. Dessert and Coffee participants included Donut Divas, I Sweets, Nothing Bundt Cakes, and Illy Coffee.

Easter Seals South Florida extends special thanks to the following Festival of Chefs event sponsors: The Batchelor Foundation; Cisneros Fontanals Family; Tate Enterprises; Greenberg Traurig; Allen Morris Company; BB&T; Hutzler Foundation; Rossman, Baumberger, Reboso, Spier & Connolly, P.A.; Carol Pawley; Eugenia McCrea; J. Larry Rutherford; John Sullivan; Patrick E. Sessions; Perry Ellis International; American Airlines; Peace Love World, and the event’s wine, champagne and spirits sponsor, Southern Wine & Spirits. Media sponsors included The Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald; Indulge Magazine; SocialMiami.com; Citrus Miami; Miami Food Lovers; rm2 Project, and CREATIVAS.

Easter Seals’ Culinary Arts High School program provides assistance to young adults, ages 16 to 22, who have a disability which may include Autism, Down’s Syndrome or other special needs. With a low student-to-teacher ratio, and academic and culinary arts teachers who are bilingual, state-certified and degreed in Exceptional Special Education (ESE), the school helps students achieve academic and vocational skills that help them become productive and self-fulfilled members of the community.

Miami Culinary Institute Representative, Steve Haas and Luis Lopez from City Hall, The Restaurant

Easter Seals South Florida has been caring for children, adults and their families in Miami-Dade County since 1942, and is a leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with developmental, physical and mental disabilities, Autism, Alzheimer’s, and other special needs. Through customized programs focusing on the unique needs of the individual and the family, Easter Seals South Florida touches more than 2,000 individuals with disabilities and their families each year in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Opportunities for your support of children and adults with disabilities may be found at www.southflorida.easterseals.com and/or by calling 305-547-4765. Please consider attending a “Small Miracles Tour” during which you will learn of the many small miracles that happen every day at Easter Seals South Florida.

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