New York Yankees Boys & Girls Club Luncheon
Judges, business execs and kids played hooky to have lunch with "the most successful team in the history of U.S. sports,'' as announced by WTVT-Ch. 13 anchor John Wilson at the New York Yankees' annual benefit luncheon for Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay. Tampa police escorted the team bus from Steinbrenner Field to the Marriott Waterside Hotel in a record nine minutes March 29.
Derek Jeter's line stretched across the ballroom during two 20-minute autograph sessions (sponsors of $10,000 and up got all 40 minutes) before lunch with coaches, instructors, managers and legends (Yogi Berra and Reggie Jackson). All but about five players were there, Wilson said. And of the late George Steinbrenner, he added, pointing to the Boss' usual table, "We can all see him sitting right there, can't we?"
Yanks managing partner Hal Steinbrenner reported $270,000 raised at lunch will help 10,000 kids in 18 clubs graduate and become responsible adults. That would certainly include guest speaker Jenny Qui, a senior at Robinson High named 2012 Youth of the Year.
MOSI's Einstein on Food & Wine
If you were smart enough to go to Einstein on Food & Wine, you found 27 restaurant vendors and 50 vintners serving up support for the Museum of Science and Industry.
VIPs calculated early arrivals at the museum March 24 for TC Choy and Centre Club appetizers served near a giant screen broadcasting NCAA playoff games.
Two basketball hoops were set up for free throws between bites.
Co-chairs and board members Joe Hodges and Jan Ash added a cash competition this year, with the 1,200 guests voting for best restaurant.
The winners: First place, Chart House, $1,000; second place, Byblos, $750; third place, ItaliAsia, $250.
You don't have to be an Einstein to appreciate net proceeds of $70,000, a record for MOSI's annual tasting party.
Champions for Children's 2012 Top Chef
Candles, flowers, tables, chairs, lamps, linens, ice sculptures, wine and all the ingredients for a five-course gourmet meal — that's what it took — plus culinary charisma — to win the title of Top Chef of the Year at the Champions for Children's (formerly the Child Abuse Council) annual competition March 26.
"The new name is more reflective of what we do — prevention and education,'' said executive director Paul D'Agostino. "You don't have to be in trouble to come to us."
Tampa Bay Times Forum chef Rich Mathis took home the bacon, so to speak, winning Top Chef and Best Decor. Fleming's Steakhouse chef Ryan Mitchell earned Top Philanthropic Chef when Jack Harris auctioned his dining packages for $6,600, which boosted the overall net to $32,000.
The other 10 chefs (Gerard Jamgotchian, L'Eden; Rene Marquis, of Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base; Dave West, Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium; Ben Guggenmos, Hillsborough County School District; Mike Von Burg, Armani's; Keith Williamson, Jackson's Bistro; Andrew Basch, Pelagia Trattoria; Richard Preston, Shor American Seafood Grill; Caesar Castro, Publix Greenwise Market; and Parker Stafford, Wyndham Westshore) also went to great extremes planning, procuring and preparing to please 160 guests who graded them on personality, food presentation, table decor, wine, menu choices and taste at A La Carte Event Pavilion.
How extreme? Wyndham executive sous chef Stafford tantalized and teased guests' palates with crushed Szechuan buttons in vanilla basil ice cream.