event recap: Five Star Sensation (benefiting University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center)

Disclosure: University Hospitals offered me an opportunity to attend to their June 27th Five Star Sensation event, as well as a portion of the culinary prep sessions the day before. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

After a career in event planning and writing this blog for five and a half years, I’ve been lucky to attend many wonderful social gatherings, most in honor of some amazing causes. But one very special, well-known fundraiser has always been on my bucket list: Five Star Sensation benefiting University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, part of the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

This is one of event planning lore: nearly a hundred chefs including several Food Network stars and culinary icons, dozens more volunteers, 2500 attendees, the immense amount of rental supply needs — oh, and the multi million dollar budgeted goal.  I knew one day I must see it for myself. So imagine my surprise when the wonderful team from University Hospitals invited me to attend the 2015 event. The invitation was an honor to accept. This past Saturday evening, Hans and I put on our summer best and headed out to Cuyahoga Community College’s Eastern Campus.

We arrived early, avoiding the rain and the line at the valet, in hopes to hobnob with the culinary masterminds that supported the cause, including this year’s Host Chef Michael Symon. (Check out my Instagram feed for a few of those moments, including a selfie with Cleveland’s own Iron Chef. #noshame)  Preparing ourselves accordingly with a glass of wine, we began strolling, meeting the following chefs and enjoying their amazing offerings:

five star food 1 collage

Jonathan Waxman‘s New York Steak and Romesco Salsa with Kale Salad

Hubert Keller‘s White Gazpacho with Almond and Vanilla Oil & Lollipop of Lamb “Merguez Style” Spicy Ketchup & Tatziki

Anthony Meidenbauer‘s Porter Braised Short Rib with Carrot Puree & “Buffalo Chicken” Pierogies

Doug Katz‘s Hot Smoked Wild King Salmon with Spring Pea Panna Cotta, Pea Tendrils & Radish Salad (not pictured, sorry Chef!)

Michael Symon‘s Beef Cheek Pierogi with Carmelized Onions & Horseradish

five star food 2 collage

Summer Genetti‘s (Lola pastry chef) Fruit Verrine (featuring a baby macaroon!) 

Marc Forgione‘s Tongue Tacos with Fermented Chilis and Wild Garlic (thanks for the photo, Chef!)

Aarón Sánchez‘s Grilled Octopus Tostada with Chorizo, Aioli and Green Onions

five star food 3 collage
Eric Williams
Pastrami Beef Tongue Taco with Jalepeno-Whole Grain Mustard Crema and Micro Radish

Jonathon Sawyer‘s Koji Cultured Coppa Cota Tramezzini with Black Brioche & Nettle Vinegar

Alan Wong‘s Shrimp Kochu Jang Shooter & Braised Short Ribs with Mushroom Peanut Salsa and Chili Lemongrass

What a wonderful two hours of decadent eats, lovely conversation with some of the world’s most famous chefs — all blended and balanced by the never ending supply of wine:

five star wine collage

 Just a few of our wine station stops — the staff at Buehler Vineyards practically had us booking a trip to Napa on our smartphones while at their table. What wonderful people!

…and THEN the dessert tent opened. I was utterly stuffed by then, so I wasn’t being over aggressive with finding gluten free dessert options. Okay, who am I kidding: there’s always room for Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream‘s vegan chocolate ice cream!  Hans worked his way around one side of the tent before he had to call it quits. He made stops at several tables, including those of   Coquette Patisserie (who had an adorable Black Truffle Gateau with a Thyme Mousseline, and an even sweeter staff). His favorite: the raspberry-passionfruit sorbet eclair from the Tri-C Culinary Arts station.

five star dessert collage

As our bellies (and my high heeled clad feet) begged us for “no more”, I remembered Farmer Lee Jones’ and his team from The Chef’s Garden offer to send us home with some produce from the incredible bounty they brought for the event.

five star chefs garden collageNot pictured: the huge bag of kale they also gave us. It was great seeing their team after this past April’s Culinary Vegetable Institute dinner!

LONG STORY SHORT: We came. We ate. We gained five pounds in a four hour period. But wow was it worth each and every ounce. You don’t have the opportunity to savor bites from these amazing chefs every day, so Hans and I threw our “healthy balance” caution to the wind for the evening and celebrated how lucky we are. Lucky to have these opportunities, to meet these chefs, to eat their food, to have these relationships with those Cleveland based culinary minds. And most importantly, lucky to have medical institutions like University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center here in Northeastern Ohio saving lives every single day. This year’s Five Star Sensation raised more than $2.3 million dollars to help those doctors doing research and those patients who need it most. Thank you Cleveland for supporting the cause, and thank you University Hospitals for letting us be part of this very special experience.

Follow University Hospitals on Facebook and on Twitter at @uhhospitals. UH Seidman Cancer Center can be found on Instagram at @uhseidman.  Something to look forward to: check back later this week as I share the story about all the planning and prep that it took to make this amazing event happen!

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event preview + GIVEAWAY: SC4K’s 2015 Luau on the Lake

Disclosure: SC4K offered me an opportunity to share information about their upcoming event. In return, I will receive a two tickets to their July 25th event and an additional two tickets to provide as a reader giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ahhhhh, summer. With the solstice now in the books for 2015, we can officially embrace the season with plenty of sun, tropical cocktails, breezy dresses and our toes in the sands. So why not attend a local event that embraces all of that, plus benefits an important cause?

Shoes and Clothes for Kids (SC4K) is the “only non-profit organization in Greater Cleveland providing new shoes and clothes at no charge througout the year to thousands of children in need” (quote from their Facebook page). Check out this YouTube video about the impact SC4K makes on the Greater Cleveland community:

As one of SC4K’s several fundraisers that takes place each year, they are celebrating 10 years of the SC4K 2015 Luau on the LakeThis year’s event will take place on Saturday, July 25th from 4pm-9pm at Wendy Park at Whiskey Island in Cleveland. The party  features beachy activities, giveaways and a raffle with fabulous prizes, plus plenty of food and drink to enjoy.

SC4K 2015 Luau on the Lake

My gal pals and I enjoyed the 2014 event — my girl Kimberly took me as her guest, where we hung out along the Lake Erie shore, soaked up the sun, drank a few tropical adult beverages and girl talked the night away.

Luau 2014 ladies

Photo ℅ my gal Charlene at lifeinthecle.com

 And as a yogi with an affinity for back bending, I wasn’t declining the opportunity to take part in the limbo contest. Note to self: make a better wardrobe choice and do NOT wear a maxi dress this year if you want to take the title home!

luau limbo

Photo ℅ Charlene at lifeinthecle.com Want to see more of the luau’s happenings? Check out more photos from last year’s event at the non-profit’s Facebook photo album.

Ticket information for the 2015 event is as follows…

  • General Admission Tickets: 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. event time.  $50.00 through June 26, 2015 and $60.00 through July 20, 2015. $65.00 at the door. Includes island buffet, beer, wine, soft drinks, and souvenir cup. Can purchase pre-mixed Island Cocktails.
  • Big Kahuna: 3:30 – 9:00 p.m. event time. $60.00 through June 26, 2015 and $75.00 through July 20, 2015. No BK tickets at the door. Includes everything available through the GA admission plus: three (3) specialty island cocktail drink tickets, Hawaiian lei, VIP cup and tote. BK VIP get in one half-hour early.
  • Tiki God:  3:00 – 9:00 p.m. event time.  $125.00 per person or $200 per couple through July 10, 2015. No VIP tickets at the door.  (maximum capacity 125 ppl) Includes all of the above. PLUS: Open bar (beer, wine, liquor, island cocktails) and appetizers located in a special VIP tent with seating available and port-o-lets that flush.

…OR you can enter to win two tickets to the  7/25 event via my Rafflecopter giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fine print: You have until THIS SUNDAY, June 28th at 11:59PM to enter this giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget. A winner will be announced the next morning, probably on the Poise in Parma Facebook page. As this is a local event taking place in the Greater Cleveland area, I highly encourage entries by those that can attend the event on Saturday 7/25/15 — or pass along their prize to a friend who can. 

Stay in touch with Shoes and Clothes for Kids via Facebook, Twitter at @SC4K, on Instagram and at their website. Attending the Luau? Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SC4KLuau15. Who will I see in a hula skirt and a coconut top that night?!

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GIVEAWAY: 2015 Parma Run/Walk for Pierogies

Memorial Day is past , so we look to find excitement in the next summer holiday of the Fourth of July. Parma residents used to look forward to the annual fireworks at Tri-C West, but now we look to a new tradition:

2015 Logo

The Fifth Annual Run/Walk for Pierogies will take place at Cuyahoga Community College’s Western Campus on Sunday, July 5, 2015. Features this year again include:

  • The 5k run is  chip timed and part of the Hermes Road Race Series.
  • Register 3 or more from the same address for $50 (limit 3 t-shirts/goodie bags).
  • Extra shirts may be purchased for $10. (Only available via the mail-in option.)

I also love how this year’s race is benefitting some many local charities:

  • The Cuyahoga County Community College Scholarship Fund
  • Parma Girl Scouts
  • All Faiths Pantry
  • Parma Animal Shelter
  • American Cancer Society Parma Area Relay for Life

Day of race registration and packet pick up starts at 7:00AM. The 5K starts at 8:30 and the one mile option starts at 8:35AM. Afterwards you get to eat Parma’s finest pierogies from the race’s pierogi sponsor, Perla’s Homemade Delights — plus many other food options from many other kind local donors. Can’t beat the array of post workout fuel!

Pierogi Run 2014 Start

Online in-advance race registration is $20 for adults and $10 for children (prices increase on race day). You have until Friday, July 3 at 9AM to register online for the race… or you can enter to win a race entry to the July 5th race here on the blog! Enter at the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The fine print: You have until THIS SUNDAY, June 14th at 11:59PM to enter this giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget. A winner will be announced the next morning, probably on the Poise in Parma Facebook page. As this is a local event taking place in the Greater Cleveland area, I highly encourage entries by those that can attend the event on Sunday 7/5/15 — or pass along their prize to a friend who can. 

Follow the Parma Run/Walk for Pierogies on Facebook and register for the race today online at the Hermes Road Racing site

Disclosure: Both images ℅ the race organizers. Being unable to attend this year’s race, I offered to run a giveaway for the 2015 Parma Run/Walk for Pierogies. The race organizers accepted, providing a race entry as a reader giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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