The 23rd annual Chefs for Kids dinner and auction took place the evening of March 29 at Paris Las Vegas with a theme of “Spice Up Your Life.”
Chefs for Kids collaborates with the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension to provide education to children in “high needs” schools, teaching nutrition in first and second grades. Chefs for Kids also provides Thanksgiving baskets and holiday gift cards for families in the 12 schools it serves along with a Christmas Eve breakfast and a pre-Mother’s Day luncheon for the residents of The Shade Tree.
The educational program, now in its 24th year, has reached more than 46,000 at-risk students. Proceeds from this year’s dinner will fund the nutrition program for the 2014-15 school year.
The dinner’s menu complied with the theme, offering flavors from Brazil, the Mediterranean and Asia. The silent auction consisted of restaurant dinners, holiday vacations, Strip entertainment, rounds of golf and the Napa Valley Culinary Experience for two for three nights at Villagio Inn & Spa with Champagne breakfasts, afternoon teas, dinner at Redd in Napa Valley and a five-hour cooking or baking class at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena.
Guests included former Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev., and his wife, Bonnie; university Regent and former U.S. Rep. James Bilbray, D-Nev., and his wife, Mikey; Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick; and University of Nevada, Reno’s Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations John Carothers; Bishop Joseph Pepe; Dee and Ken Ladd; Irais and Robert Kolesar; Jill and Scott Fielden; Jeanne Greenawalt; Irwin Kishner; Sally and Larry McKinney; Susan Stern; Heidi and David Straus; Parvin Jacobs; Denise and Gustav Mauler; Carolyn Leontos; Ed Skonicki; Jewel Brooks; Laura Fritz; Joe Hollis; Sandy Peltyn; Joel Bergman; Barbara and Tom McDonald; and Francine and Terry Graves.
Master of ceremonies was Dave Courvoisier, KLAS-TV, Channel 8 news anchor; Susan Lednicky was the event’s chairwoman. Dan Anderson introduced the event’s honorees, Gae and Perry Basch, longtime supporters of Chefs for Kids. They attended the first Chefs for Kids dinner (then known as Chef & Child) at the Sands Convention Hall in 1991. Gae Basch came to Las Vegas in 1961 to appear in “Casino de Paris” at the Dunes and “City Lites” at the Flamingo, both for six years. Perry Basch, a portfolio management director for Morgan Stanley, arrived in Las Vegas in 1973.
Bryan spoke about once-a-month breakfasts the chefs prepare early in the morning at the 12 schools and the benefits of healthful eating and physical activity. In the past few years, Chefs for Kids has added a 5-kilometer run and 1-mile fun walk and the Chefs for Kids Charity Golf Tournament sponsored by the Brown Blankfeld Group.
For the evening’s “Spice Up Your Life” gourmet dinner, Paris Las Vegas chef Erik Moritz and pastry chef Thomas Bell prepared an outstanding dinner enjoyed by Mari and Thom Landers; Charlotte and Bill Bible; Melissa and Dave Simmons; Sally and Gordon Rycroft; Nicole and Patrick Simon; Lorri and Dale Davidson; Linda and Steve Montoya; Kelly Iriye; Phyllis Hendrickson; and Charlene and Ken Harper.
Also attending were Susan Houston; Persia Golden; Nancy Gasho-Fromm and Bob Fromm; Ruth and Jack Lillis; Denise and George Mehocic; Carolyn Sparks; Paul Lessick; Madeleine Sigman-Grant and Milt Grant; Jacqueline and Michael Nguyen; Christopher Johns; Mark Walker; Wendy Nelson; Beverly and Mike Mykisen; Cosette and Ken Reid; Patricia and Richard Wright; Helene and Harvey Blankfeld; Shelley Brown and Joel Stelzer.
Christian Kolberg conducted a live auction for the event’s 15 extraordinary chefs dinner packages to take place at home or in a restaurant. The evening concluded with dancing to Harbor Lights.