On June 11, the Urban Outfitters Headquarters at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia was alive with excitement as the Great Chefs Event got started. In its eighth year, the Great Chefs Event 2013 featured over 50 chefs and beverage vendors, determined to indulge the crowd with their culinary creations and drink specialties. Most importantly, these culinary artists lent their time and food delicacies to benefit two wonderful organizations, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Foundation for Children. The chefs traveled from across the country, and even internationally, to lend a hand to raise money for these two organizations. Mission accomplished as $1.1 million was raised that evening and will be put to many excellent uses by both Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Foundation for Children.
As we walked through the sublimely decorated Urban Outfitters Headquarters, it was easy to see why this is the prime food-oriented charity event of the year in Philadelphia. The painstaking measures which were taken to decorate the venue were impressive, to say the least. Elegant floral bouquets, lemon-inspired décor, and colorful scenery were a constant vision throughout the vast layout of the building. The chef tables were properly laid out to help guests plan their sampling adventure, starting with soup and salad theme dishes and working all the way through the desserts. About an hour into the event, the emcee of the evening, Mike Jerrick of Fox 29, gathered everyone towards the podium area for speeches and the live auction.
Jay Scott, father of Alex Scott, presented the first speech, followed by his wife, Liz, Alex’s mother. Both offered their appreciation to all of the guests for attending and sponsors for lending support to the event. They also thanked Marc Vetri, Jeff Benjamin, and Jeff Michaud of the Vetri Foundation for Children for hosting the event. Liz Scott gave a poignant speech as to the many gifts provided by her daughter Alex, who was the founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand and the inspiration for those who are fighting the battle against childhood cancer. By the end of her speech, there weren’t many dry eyes in the place but the message was clear, that Alex’s battle with cancer was not good by any means but the good which came from her fight and determination spoke volumes and has led to the beneficial results which Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation has produced and will continue to do so in the future.
After the speeches, Billy Harris took the stage to get the live auction rolling. There were six main live auctions taking place that night, including separate auctions for meals prepared by Michael Solomonov, Kevin Sbraga, and Marc Vetri, to name a few. Not only would you get fabulous meals prepared by these premier chefs but you could invite 10-30 of your closest friends to join you, depending on the auction you choose. The pinnacle live auction item of the evening was a trip to Italy with Marc Vetri and Jeff Michaud where you would dine and enjoy the sights with the chefs. The latter of the auctions was scooped up for $26,000, but not before a friendly bidding war ensued.
Before the guests continued to indulge in the vast chef creations, special guests took the stage to display the check presented by Five Below. Four children who have gone against childhood cancer came onstage to show attendees the generous donation provided by Five Below, driving home the true purpose behind the event of the evening.
After the presentations, guests mingled, sampled the wide array of cuisine offerings, and viewed the many great silent auction items displayed at the front of the venue. All of the chefs encountered were extremely friendly and engaging, and it was easy to see just how excited they were to attend the event and help Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Vetri Foundation for Children achieve their fundraising goals. Some of the chefs who presented their delicacies for the 1,200 guests at the Great Chefs Event included April Bloomfield (The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, The John Dory Oyster Bar), Joey Campanaro (Village Belle, Little Owl, Market Table), Tom Colicchio (Craft Restaurants), Katsuya Fukushima (Daikaya), Jose Garces (Garces Group), Duff Goldman (Charm City Cakes), Jenn Louis (Lincoln Restaurant, Sunshine Tavern, Culinary Artistry), Mark Rosati (Shake Shack), Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Percy Street Barbecue, Federal Donuts), and Rocco Whalen (Fahrenheit, Rocco’s at the Q, Rosie & Rocco’s).
With such a spectacular event as the Great Chefs Event, it is easy to see how the guests closed out the evening with complete satisfaction. Whether they headed home for the night or kept the evening going at the Alla Spina After Party, all those who attended had achieved the goal of raising money to support the efforts of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Foundation for Children.
Although the Great Chefs Event is over, there are still plenty of other ways to contribute to these organizations. Visit the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation website and Vetri Foundation for Children website to learn more about the organizations, find out about their respective upcoming events, and see how you can help them to continue to achieve their goals.