A blustery, cold and snowy Tuesday evening greeted guests at the Southern Ohio Medical Center’s Friends Center for the 10th annual Celebrity Chef Dinner, a fundraiser for The Counseling Center, Inc. Summer Outreach Program. The weather apparently did not deter anyone, however, as there was a sellout crowd that filled the tables at the Friends Center. The guests were greeted by 2018 Master of Ceremonies Steve Hayes, who said he has been the emcee for past 10 years.
The “Lights, Camera, Food!” evening began with the always-favorite All-Star Appetizers, created by the Celebrity Chefs lined up for the the event. As guests joined two very long lines to sample the appetizers, they were met by Dawn Scott and her son, Sean Little, with Scott dressed as Marilyn Monroe and Little as Joe DiMaggio. The mother-son team offered a cute little veggie cup with dip, topped with a baseball toothpick. They both said they were excited they had participated last year, when they were dressed as a pilot and flight attendant. They said they won last year.
Next were Sam and Joyce Peters dressed in movie theater attire serving Margarita popcorn in miniature red-and-white striped boxes. Around the corner were Lisa and Tiffany Knauff, who presented a rockin’ 1950s theme, and served a miniature pizza made with pita bread, sauce and cheese.
Not to be outdone, Bryan and Lori Davis popped up with Mary Poppins costuming serving “a spoonful of sugar” each guest received in a tiny silver spoon. Lori pointed out that this year’s chefs were all returning chefs, because it was All-Stars night. “The program itself, anything we can do for the kids,” Lori said, and Bryan added, “it’s an amazing program.”
Next were Steve and Marissa Sarver, who served an avocado deviled egg while sporting pearls and feathery decorations costumed in the typical black-and-white of movie earlier times. Steve said this is his first year as a celebrity chef, but that his wife had done this before.
The Golden Globes theme was next with Lisa Mowery and Becky Climer sharing a cheese-and-grape-on-a-stick appetizer.
M*A*S*H costuming by Elizabeth Blevins and Dr. Steve Rader was a hit with guests, who dined on a scrumptious ham meatball on a stick.
Mary Arnzen and Debbie Daniels were not to be outdone, also dressed in the M*A*S*H movie theme, with both dressed as doctors and serving a mean salmon salad on a cracker to those waiting in line. Arnzen said the reason they participate in the Celebrity Chef Dinner is because it helps the kids’ summer programming.
Last, but certainly not least, the Celebrity Chefs team of Ed Hughes and Clarence Parker were the evening’s big winners, being chosen the receive the The People’s Choice Award. Utilizing the “Men in Black” theme, Hughes and Parker shared a variety chicken wings, with flavors of parmesan, lime, barbecue and Thai. Hughes said he had been a celebrity chef once before, and Parker said he was the program facilitator for Summer Outreach for 22 years.
As if guests had not sampled enough, the main course prepared by Will Robinson, head chef at Pints & Patties, and owner of Will Robinson’s Catering for a Cause, and Nick Montavon, director of Food Services and Transportation for The Counseling Center, consisted of prime rib, lemon pepper chicken, red skin potatoes with Rosemary, garlic green beans, parmesan brussel sprouts and maple glazed carrots. No one was disappointed.
And finally, the meal and wonderful appetizers wer topped off with some mouthwatering sweets consisting of cupcakes and cookies from Julie Blackburn and Alyssa Logan at ‘83 Sweets.
Guests were served by students from the Wheelersburg Key Club, who were ready and willing to fulfill all the guests’ needs for the evening. “Key club members go around and help and volunteer in the community,” noted Alyssa Dincun, a member of the club, who was serving coffee from Coffee at the Lofts.
Following the dinner, there was an auction and raffles that contained things such as Ohio State football tickets, and auction items labeled with movie themes like “Overboard,” two riverboat passes; “The Great Escape,” which featured The Lost Escape Room visit and dinner; “We Bought a Zoo,” featuring tickets to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; and so many other creative titles and prizes.
One of the notable items of the night’s auction was a chocolate star made by Karen Davis of Kakao Konfections, and the winning bid of a whopping $600 came from Neal Hatcher.
Melissa Whitt, committee chairperson for the event, said it was “amazing. I’ve been with The Counseling Center for two and a half years, and this was my third event as chair, and this has been, by far, the smoothest event that we have ever done. It’s been amazing. This was a record-breaking year, grossing $32,075, and had over 430 people in attendance.”
Beth Mundhenk, chief public relations officer, said of the evening: “What a glamorous night full of fun, with great people and fabulous food from all our All-Star chefs, buffet and dessert chefs. I’d like to thank all those that came together to make this fundraiser a record-breaking year. All the time, dedication and hard work put into this labor of love for the Summer Outreach kids is incredible. It’s a blessing to help the kids in our community have a great summer.”
Reach Kimberly Jenkins at 740-353-3101 ext. 1928