The 17th Annual Taste of the Nation was last Sunday at the Toledo Club with a sold-out crowd of nearly 1,000.
A giant tent in the parking lot held the food and wines. National guest chefs Amanda Rockman of the Bristol and Balena in Chicago and Eve Aronoff of Frita Batidos in Ann Arbor whipped up their specialties, and 40 of the finest local restaurants participated in the $150-per-person event.
Chairmen were Labib Hajjar, Marla Schecht, Ty Szumigala, and Terri Thompson. The steering committee included Gus Mancy, Craig Joseph, Dean Kasperzak, and Moussa Salloukh.
Honorary chairmen were Diane Larson of WTVG-TV, Channel 13, Sue Hague-Rogers, and Rich Crawford.
At the black tie optional event, ladies wore short skirts, stilettos, form-fitting dresses, and lots of color: red, pink, beige, blue. Larry Boyer joked that some ladies were over- charged when they bought their dresses because they were so skimpy. Some men were especially dapper, including Ron Folger, who wore a tuxedo.
Raffle prizes were popular: Bob Gospard won a bracelet from Jeffrey Mann Jewelers; Taylor Family Automotive gave $1500 to Anne Taylor (no relation); Dan Bollin won a sheared beaver jacket from Toledo Furs for his wife Becky.
Later the crowd burned calories dancing to Boise.
Seen were Candy and Michael Tauber, Shakil Khan and Susan Stoner, John Mac- Kay and Cindy Rerucha, Ramy and Faye Eidi, Gretchen and Mark Zyndorf, Laura and Doug Glover, Kori and David Huffman, Frank and Sharon Unkle, Nick Loomis, Ann Baronas, Mac McCarthy and Carol Maher, Josh Cooper, Jeannie Hylant and Tom McHugh, Tom and Brenda Geiger, Tim Valko and Jim Moore, Mary Martin, Tom and Traci Schwann,Craig and Jan Colville, Deb and Leo Deiger, and Doug and Jan Martin.
It was a ladies night out for Susan Allan Block, Molly Reams Thompson, Eileen Sullivan, and Leslie Chapman, who provided a limousine so they could drink responsibly.
The estimated $120,000 netted benefits Aurora Project, Inc., Toledo Day Nursery, Toledo GROWS, and Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank.
The Maumee Valley Chefs' Association of the American Culinary Federation held its 32nd annual Scholarship and Awards Dinner last month at Inverness Club. Chefs from the student chapter, including Owens Community College and Penta Career Center, provided the 150 attendees with culinary samples. Delicious dinner courses were created by AVI food service, Alexis Gardens, Small Potatoes Catering, Toledo Maritime Academy, and Owens.
Keynote speaker Molly Thompson of Veggie U in Milan, Ohio, talked about the need to increase youth awareness of healthy food options, to decrease childhood disease through nutrition, and the importance of sustainable agriculture.
The Chef of the Year Award was presented to William Powell of Owens and the Chef Educator of the Year award was presented to Tom Elliot, who along with Ed Gozdowski was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other awardees included Gretchen Fayerweather, Martha Everhart, and Health Care REIT.
Scholarship winners were Amy Morford, Chef John Clark, Rachel Radwanski, Lucas Clauson, Megan Hess, and Brandi Smith.
For information go to www.maumeevalleychefs.com. The $7,000 that was raised supports the association's scholarship fund.
JO-JO and Stu Goldberg hosted a great dinner for the American Heart Association "with a little help from [their] friends."
Karen and Labib Hajjar provided an exquisite buffet, Heidelberg Distributing provided an outstanding bar, and special friends entertained. Susie Vitale and her husband, veteran drummer Joe Vitale, who has played with Crosby, Stills and Nash, and others, came to Toledo for the event with their son Joe, Jr.
Mr. Goldberg, a musician whose day job is as a lawyer, played along with the group for a few songs, and his sons Josh and Adam joined in. Weekend drummers Pat Farver (Blissfield Manufacturing President) and Mike Root (Eastman & Smith IT Manager) each sat in on percussion on a few tunes.
Party-goers included Harriet Goldberg, Doug Forman and Caren Goldberg, Allie and Gavi Forman, Mayor Mike Bell, Karen Jarosz, Shayla Bell, Pamela Bell, Wendy and Mike Cooper, Diane and Larry Friedman, and Debbie and Tony Frogameni.
The event raised more than $12,000.