Fork Fight 2014
Numbers count at Fork Fight, starting with about 90 chefs, cooks and servers working on five intricate courses, each paired perfectly with wine, for 430 foodies supporting Feeding America Tampa Bay. CEO Thomas Mantz and chairwoman Suzanne Luecke rolled video tallying 700,000 "food insecure" residents in 10 counties, including 250,000 kids. Board chairman Richard Blau, a food law attorney, offered an annual "stockholders" report: 40 million pounds of food donated last year from growers, manufacturers, supermarkets and community food drives. That became 36 million meals a year, thanks to 70,000 hours of volunteer time. His favorite number: stretching $1 into 15 meals.
Guests arrived at the Marriott Waterside to an array of appetizers May 29 such as rabbit pork belly rillette and venison tasso on a sweet potato biscuit from Mise en Place chef Marty Blitz. Pair O'Dice Brewing made two beers for the occasion. Next came chefs Tyson Grant of Parkshore Grill and Ana Granucci of 400 Beach Drive with herb-cured ivory king salmon and seared Niman Ranch striploin on petite greens. That was followed by smoked duck breast from chefs Chad Johnson of SideBern's and Elevage and Michael Buttacavoli of Cena.
The cider-braised venison main course came from Marriott chefs Ai Nakamura and Jason Sullivan, pomegranate glazed on top of a roasted sweet potato and butternut squash spaetzle. Chevre cheesecake in a hazelnut crust wowed for dessert by chefs Curtis Beebe of Pearl in the Grove and Mark Heimann of Vinoy Renaissance.
Between bites, board member WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor Keith Cate and restaurateur Maryann Ferenc auctioned dining packages donated by each chef, including Granucci's cocktail party for 40, netting a tasty $135,000.
League of Women Voters awards luncheon
Friends, family and admirers of Hillsborough County Judge Don Castor celebrated his great mind and spirit when League of Women Voters of Hillsborough County president Shirley Arcuri presented a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award. His three children Frank, Kathy and Karen attended the annual luncheon May 16 at the Tampa Club. Two granddaughters also came, including Kerry Castor, who lives his legacy as president of the junior class at her West Palm Beach high school. Senior Circuit Court Judge Don Evans added his own special remembrances. Fun fact noted in the program book: Judge Castor had been married to two league presidents, Betty and Mickey, and was father of a third, Kathy.
Evangeline (Vann) Richardson Best received the Thalia Potter Civic Leadership Award for community activism. Deborah Austin, director of outreach for ReachUp, introduced Best by speaking of her powerful commitment to education, especially among the children of East Tampa.
Heart of a Champion
For the second year, financier Bob Gries hosted his "Heart of a Champion" dinner to present $1,000 scholarships to 68 high school senior athletes, one male and one female student from 27 Hillsborough County public schools and seven private schools. Each was chosen for living with core values, otherwise known as "heart." Gries also honored Plant High cross country coach Roy Harrison at the May 14 dinner at TPepin's Hospitality Centre.
But it was guest speaker Melissa Stockwell who truly inspired. The first female soldier to lose a limb in the Iraq War when a roadside bomb took her left leg, Stockwell became the first Iraq veteran chosen for the Paralympics, where she competed in swimming. Her "heart" as a triathlete earned her USAT Paratriathlete of the Year in 2010 and 2011.
Look forward to news of these social and charity events and much more when Amy Scherzer's Diary returns in the fall.
Sept. 9: 33rd annual Steak Dinner benefits Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay
Sept. 12: Monty Python and the Holy Grape wine-tasting benefits Tampa Theatre
Sept. 13: Art of Helping Children Gala benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters
Sept. 18: MacDonald Training Center 60th Anniversary Gala
Sept. 18: Brinner of Hope benefits Pediatric Cancer Foundation
Sept. 19: CITY: Fashion+Art+Culture benefits Tampa Museum of Art
Sept. 26: 18th Annual Night of the Iguana benefits Make-a-Wish Foundation
Sept. 27: Mad for a Cure, Motown Edition gala benefits JDRF
Oct. 4: Dancing With the Stars benefits Hands Across the Bay
Oct. 10: Cigar City gala benefits Tampa Bay History Center
Oct. 11: Tuxes and Tails benefits Humane Society of Tampa Bay
Oct. 11: MOSI National Hispanic Scientist of the Year Gala
Oct. 18: Broadway Ball benefits Straz Center for the Performing Arts
Nov. 1: Pavilion benefits Tampa Museum of Art