The Rotary Club of Huntsville has brought local chefs together to create a culinary experience to raise funds for Hospice Huntsville that people can participate in while at home.
The Celebrity Chef Culinary Experience is a virtual event that will take place on March 20. Participants will prepare a gourmet meal through video instruction from three local celebrity chefs—Rory Golden, Randy Spencer, and Jeff Suddaby.
“Charities and non-profits across Canada have faced a number of challenges trying to raise funds during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Trish Kruusmagi, a member of the planning committee for the event. “With so many restrictions in place, we have had to be inventive, and learn very quickly to adapt to a highly digitized world. Zoom planning meetings and online tickets sales are the new normal. Virtual events via Zoom give us the capability to connect with guests and members, while staying safe at home.”
Participants will receive a five-course meal including charcuterie, soup, salad, choice of entrée, and dessert. Four of the courses will come ready to serve. The chefs will then instruct participants to put the finishing touches on the main course, with detailed instruction via YouTube, allowing those following along to potentially gain some new culinary skills.
Entrée options included steelhead salmon, Ontario roasted chicken supreme, or black bean, walnut and barley croquettes. The soup, salad, and dessert are vegetarian. A bottle of wine that pairs with each entrée is also included, along with a swag bag of goodies with items donated by local businesses.
Following dinner, guests can use the supplied Zoom link for an hour-long virtual evening of entertainment by local and nationally recognized artists with ties to the area. Performances include Hawksley Workman, Amy Sky, Kevin Hearn, Beverley Mahood, along with local talent, in celebration of song, comedy, magic, and theatre. The entertainment package is available as a stand-alone event if preferred.
“This event has many moving parts and would not be possible without the efforts and dedication of the planning committee,” said Kruusmagi.
The members of the planning committee are co-chairs Brandy Van Gelder and Jamie Thompson, members Paul Evans, Rose Evans, Trish Kruusmagi, Michelle Shabatura, Jennifer Simpson, Ross Kirwin, Will Gibson, Rob Saunders, Mary Rashleigh, Lynne Thompson, Dave Van Gelder, and Peter Redwood.
“The hard-working committee of this new fundraising event have met since January, brainstorming, collaborating and zooming for hours to bring Huntsville a unique, virtual event experience,” said co-chair Brandy Van Gelder. “We all agreed that we wanted to do something fun and unique that benefited our community. Ross Kirwin had an idea and the planning committee was inspired to create the Celebrity Chef Culinary Experience fundraiser for Hospice Huntsville.”
Tickets are available for online for purchase at chefgala.ca. Dinner and entertainment is $200 per couple or $110 per single; the entertainment-only option is $30 per person. Follow Rotary Club of Huntsville on Facebook for event updates.
Ingredients can be picked up curbside at Deerhurst Resort or delivered for those living within 10 kms of the post office downtown Huntsville.
“We’d like to give a special shout out to our local chefs, Jeff Suddaby, Randy Spencer, and Rory Golden,” said Kruusmagi. “Special thanks to Deerhurst Resort for allowing us to use their space to film, to store food, and to assemble the goody bags and food boxes. Special thanks to NyDock, our lead sponsor, and to all the local businesses who have stepped up and are supporting this new virtual fundraising event. The Rotary Club of Huntsville is very grateful for the generosity and support in our community.”
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