Throughout the Tampa Bay area and beyond, Tom Pritchard often is referred to as a legend. There are many reasons for that: The executive chef for the Baystar Restaurant group (Salt Rock Grill, Island Way Grill, Rumba Island Bar & Grill and Marlin Darlin Key West Grill) is a culinary wizard who is beyond generous in providing food and counsel to regional charities. He is mentor to many restaurants and other professionals. And his life story is that of a bon vivant.
It's no surprise Pritchard helped to organize the first Bayfront on Vine fundraiser in 1996. At the 17th incarnation of the main event, held in St. Petersburg's Bayfront Medical Plaza, he was the honoree and recipient of many toasts.
Throughout the building were food and drink stations starring the best of numerous foodie favorites from throughout the bay area. Beyond entrees, there were fine cheeses, handcrafted chocolates and other goodies.
Outdoors, patrons sampled pours in the beer garden, and sparkling-wine aficionados in the bubble lounge also ogled sparkling gems.
NextTech EMR & PM and Dr. Kamal and Najla Majeed were presenting sponsors.
The season launched last fall and included events such as "Garden & Grape," a six-course wine dinner at Gateway Farm; "What's Your Vintage?" with wine expert Phil Dickhaus; and vintner parties in the homes of Norm and Maureen Dobiesz and Walter and Joyce Larson.
In all, the event will bring in more than $200,000, said Bayfront development officer Teri Jelks. The money goes to medical education and research.
Season co-chairmen were Claude Macari and Clark Smith, who led a committee that included Ellen Capatosti, Hillary Chisholm, Jeannie Cox, Daryl DeBerry, Phil Dickhaus, Maureen Dobiesz, Tyson Grant, Zack Gross, Kim Gustafson, Lynda Jollay, Joyce Larson, Rick Lennerth, Ashley Nall, Jessica Nikolich, Sharon O'Gradney, Cathleen Ryan, Christine Sabo, Nathan Stonecipher, Sara Stonecipher, JoAnna Swindell, Phil Yost and Dr. Ed Zbella.