The ambience was bright and lively as old and new friends gathered at Radius for Big Sister’s twelfth annual Celebrity Chef Dinner on Sunday April 10. 120 guests gathered to support Big Sister and to sample the culinary delights of 6 of Boston’s most talented chefs.
Owner, renowned chef and long-time Big Sister supporter, Michael Schlow, hosted the dinner and made guests feel like they were at a family gathering.
Chef Jamie Bissonette (Toro and Coppa) kicked off the meal with slices of the finest tuna crudo, inventively coupled with charred and pickled ramps, sunchokes, celery and fermented black beans. Dante de Magistris(Restaurant Dante and Il Calsale) put a rich spin on a classic Italian dish. He served pasta e fagioli made with freshly rolled mafalde pasta, octopus, pine nuts and grappa soaked raisins. Not to be outdone by his fellow chefs, Stella’s Evan Deluty plated Atlantic salmon cooked to perfection over a spring pea timbal made with a morel mushroom broth. Breaking with the seafood theme, Seth Raynor (The Pearl, Corazon del Mar, and the Boarding House) presented arepas, corncakes thought to originate in Venezuela, topped with red chili pork, and dressed with a guasacaca sauce, cotija cheese, sour cream, cilantro and, of course, lime. The fifth course, created by Radius’ own Matthew Audette, was a generous slow roasted veal sirloin teamed with truffled pommes purée, spring vegetables and lobster vinaigrette. PJ Waters, also of Radius, finished the meal with an exquisite coconut rice pudding with passion fruit gelato, prickly pair sauce and crispy soba noodles. This finery was served in a delicate bowl of translucent honied rice paper sprinkled with black and white sesame seeds.
In between courses, the ever-gracious emcee Lisa Hughes of WBZ-TV enlivened guests and congratulated Big Sister on mobilizing 170,000 volunteer hours in 2010 to mentor Greater Boston’s girls. Former Little Sister Jesse Kwan recounted the life-changing impact of her Big Sister Jackie Church on what was the 22nd anniversary of her immigration to Boston from Hong Kong. Whether it was helping Jesse apply (and get into) Boston Latin Academy or encouraging her to learn new languages, Jackie was a steadfast and motivating force for Jesse.
“To the woman who taught me the importance of wearing socks and gloves in the Boston winter time,… who showed me to stand up for myself, who taught me to take smart risks, who taught me everything good that is in me, that if I work hard enough in life, that I might just accomplish my feats and defeat my innermost insecurities. If it weren’t for her, I would never summon enough courage to talk to you today.”
After Jesse’s eloquent speech, guests were given the opportunity to take girls off our wait list. Moved by notes written by girls all over Boston who wanted a Big Sister who could be their friend, who could alleviate their loneliness, who could make them laugh or even help them learn English, attendees collectively pledged $52,000, enough to take 52 girls of our wait list. Altogether Celebrity Chef raised $157,000 and will enable us to serve 157 more girls in 2011.
We wish to extend our gratitude to Michael Schlow and his fellow chefs for creating a delightful culinary experience. Special thanks are in order for board members, Max Bardeen and Sharon McNally, who have served as event co-chairs for two years in a row and whose tireless efforts made the event such a success. And we would also like to extend a big thank you to our sponsors: The Connors Family, Normandy Real Estate Partners and Suffolk Construction’s Red & Blue Foundation. Finally, a heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped us put caring and supportive mentors in the lives of more of Greater Boston’s girls.
See you next year!
Click here to view a full photo gallery from The Celebrity Chef Dinner @ Radius!