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2011 American Cancer Society Hope Gala

Top Chef Betty Fraser and Myself at the 2011 ACS Hope Gala

Top Chef Betty Fraser and Myself at the 2011 ACS Hope Gala.

I’m a little late in writing a recap of an event I helped coordinate, but better late than never. That said, for the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a chair for the American Cancer Society Hope Gala. For the first three years, I was the auction chair and for the past two years, I’ve served as restaurant chair.

This year, we raised over $200,000 to help fight cancer in the greater New Orleans area. A large part of the success is due to the Hope Gala committee: Lorrie Lee, Carla Morphy-Adams, Melissa Pennebaker (overall event chair) and Ali James. We had a great team that worked very hard for about six months to put the event together.

This year, for my task of gathering restaurants I thought of the idea to reach out to former Top Chef contestants to participate and come cook at the event. I was fortunate to get four to come down to New Orleans. Betty Fraser (Season 2), Ed Cotton (Season 7), Hosea Rosenberg (Season 5) and Tracey Bloom (Season 7) we all in attendance and made some great dishes.

Top Chefs at the Hope Gala

Top Chefs at the Hope Gala.

In addition to the Top Chefs, great restaurants all participated including Acme Oyster House, Bayona, Creole Creamery, Besh Steakhouse, Le Meritage, Mike’s on the Avenue, La Petite Grocery, Muriel’s, Ste. Marie, La Cote Brasserie and The Grill Room all came out to support a great cause.

Set in the Shops at Canal Place, Fox 8’s Liz Reyes served a the host for the event joined by emcee Mark Romig. During the event ACS honored this year’s Spirit Award recipients — medical professional who made a difference in the lives of those suffering from cancer.

Overall, the night provided some great food (I’m not biased, I promise) and drink, a high-quality auction, great entertainment by the Bucktown All-Stars, and a platform to showcase the progress being made to fight cancer.

Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg and ACS Hope Gala Volunteer Lorena Poche

Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg and ACS Hope Gala Volunteer Lorena Poche.

The 2012 Hope Gala is set for August 18, 2012 in The Shops at Canal Place. If you would like to make a donation or participate, feel free to contact me to get involved. We never turn volunteers away and we’re always on the lookout for people compassionate about the fight against cancer. To learn more, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.

Photography by Amy Jett (c) 2011.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Livin'

 

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Love in the Garden

Last night, I attended LOVE in the Garden in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden. It was a great event with an awesome venue. The food, drinks, entertainment and crowd combined to make a fun night. The Firefly vodka bar helped a lot as well (they may as well have given me a bottle).

LOVE Sculpture

The LOVE Sculpture

Organized by local socialite Annie Flettrich (in what she billed as her “retirement event), the event came off without a hitch. Two other friends of mine, Katie Hardin and Jennifer Jeansonne, also helped organize the event. All did a great job!

Local restaurants including Acme Oyster House, Squeal, Zoe W Hotel, Mondo (with my favorite dish of the night — a chicken pate with pickled watermelon rind), Cafe Noma and Le Meritage. While the food was great, we all know why people go to these events: the open bar. For me, the Firefly bar was genius! I think I had at least a bottle, but surprisingly, no hangover.

The Besthoff Sculpture Garden is one of the city’s true gems (as is the entire City Park/NOMA combo). The sculpture/gondola/green space works extremely well as an event venue. I would highly recommend visiting even if an event is not going on, however.

Sculpture in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA

A contemporary sculpture in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA

The Mixed Nuts provided the night’s entertainment. And they really know how to get white people movin’ and groovin’. All of the cover songs were spot on and the band has some nice vocalists and a great horns section.

I have to admit, this was my second favorite event of the year behind the American Cancer Society Hope Gala, but I’m biased because I help organize that one. I’ll definitely be back next year and in the years to come.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Livin'

 

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