There are so many reasons in life for food to bring people together: Celebrations of birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, friendship, family, and holidays to name a few. Probably the most generous reason is when businesses, causes and people gather to raise money for organizations to help those in need.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in two such experiences that just showcase how we all come together to aid those in our community. The Jackson Chance Foundation and the LuxeHome Chill event took place within this past month. While each had a different purpose, they both brought together people who wanted to support the efforts of each fundraiser.
The Jackson Chance Foundation threw its third annual Ping Pong Ball and VIP Chef’s Reception and Tournament this past October. For the first time, The Trotter Project partnered with the organization to put on the pre-event VIP festivities. The evening’s celebration included ping-pong tournaments between Chicago’s top culinary talent along with dishes from each of the four celebrity Chefs. Chefs Art Smith (Table 52, Art and Soul, LYFE Kitchen), Phillip Foss (El Ideas), Bill Kim (Urban Belly bellyQ, Belly Shack) and Richie Farina (Top Chef contestant, formerly of Moto) entertained the group with their ping-pong battle.
It is noteworthy (and so exciting!) to mention that Chef Richie Farina stopped by my home to bring me a ping-pong paddle cookie that he made in anticipation of his upcoming chef battle and in celebration of the evening’s festivities.
Throughout the evening, silent and live auction items were available for bidding. Held in Chicago’s Hard Rock Hotel, two restaurants, Mr. Brown’s Lounge and Chuck’s: A Kerry Simon Kitchen, created dishes perfect for the ambience of the evening. The evening raised over $215,000 through ticket sales, auction items and donations! In addition, the Foundation announced they have raised more than $1 million since inception in 2012. Such fabulous news! Very proud to support this wonderful organization. If you are interested in learning more about their efforts, please visit here for more information.
The Jackson Chance Foundation was started to honor Carrie and Terry Meghie’s son, Jackson Chance, who spent all but 48 hours of his ten month life in the NICU. Recognizing the largest out of pocket expenses they encountered during this difficult time was for parking and transportation costs, they established the Foundation in his memory. The mission is to support the families with babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to spend time with their critically ill baby without worrying about these costs. The NICU Transportation Program partners with hospitals to alleviate the transportation expenses of all families while their child is in the NICU. This includes parking and CTA/Metra vouchers to every family each day. Right now, the program benefits the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago with the goal to expand to additional hospitals in the near future.
The second fundraising event I attended had a little different look and feel but was equally as much fun. The LuxeHome Chill event partnered with Wine Spectator Magazine to raise funds for three charities: The Lynn Sage Foundation, the Respiratory Health Association and Saturday Place. This was their 9th annual Chill event bringing together international wine experts and Chicago’s culinary leaders like Chef Rick Gresh (Virgin Hotel Chicago), Chef Martial Noguier (Bistronomic), Chef Zachery Walrath (the Florentine) and Chef Rene Luna (Cape Cod, The Drake Hotel).
And to top it off, the event was held at the Merchandise Mart which allowed guests the opportunity to wander through breathtaking showrooms while drinking wine. To me, this is a dangerous combination! From the flooring to lighting to appliances to kitchen design, this was my kind of party! (I am in the kitchen design and housewares world after all!)
There were over 50 Chicago chefs and more than 150 wines to sample. Chefs described the wines that would go with their dishes and the wine experts guided you to the types of foods that would enhance their products. There were far too many wonderful creations to name so I am sharing the photos to encourage you to attend next year’s Chill Event to try them for yourself!
We were entertained by music all around us including mariachi bands, jazz bands, pianists, and tuba players. Just a lovely touch. To add some amusement to the evening, there were ladies dressed as wandering (wine) vines on stilts moving as if they were doing ballet and bicycles decorated with wine bottles and creative lights.
And this was all to support these three wonderful organizations.
Dessert from ada Street was a decadent chocolate ganache crostini, olive oil and sea salt and from Bistronomic, their famous chocolate hazelnut bars with Grand Marnier sauce.
Such a fabulous evening with the added bonus of having my very special guest with me to share in the excitement. It was overall, a night filled with delicious cuisines and wines, art, design, music and good company. If you enjoy food and wine tasting, love being surrounded by the beauty of showrooms filled with high end design and want an enjoyable evening out, mark your calendar for LuxeHome Chill’s 2016 event. I personally can’t wait for next year’s 10th annual celebration!