9th Annual Celebrity Chef Event featuring
Award Winning Chef and Author Virginia Willis raises more than $500,000
for Visiting Nurses Association (VNA)
The 9th annual Celebrity Chef event, held on March 6, 2019, raised awareness and funds for VNA Meals on Wheels and Hospice Care. More than $500,000 in gifts and sponsorships will ensure thousands of seniors receive nourishment body and soul and hospice patients and their families receive compassionate care.
The event, which features both lunch and dinner seatings, was hosted at VNA’s Haggerty Kitchen, a 12,000 square foot, state of the art kitchen that produces 4,500 meals each day. More than 400 of Dallas’ top philanthropists and VNA advocates had the opportunity to see both the staff and the kitchen in production which allowed a unique perspective of VNA’s mission at work.
Guests were treated to an extensive menu by celebrity chef and award-winning author Virginia Willis’s. Her Southern influenced recipes from her latest cookbook Secrets of the Southern Table: A Food Lover’s Tour of the Global South, including Black Pepper Cream Cheese Biscuits with Mustarda and Pork Tenderloin, Gumbo Z’herbes, Grilled Chicken with Alabama White Sauce and Mexican Chocolate Pudding with Bourbon Cream, were well received by the crowd. The stand out dish of the meal was, however, the Butternut Squash Lasagna.
Chef Willis demonstrated her Asian Cajun Shrimp recipe and the sample plate, presented and served as a Shrimp Po Boy sandwich, was sold at auction for $1,000.
A natural storyteller, Chef Willis shared how the global influence of history, culture and food has made significant impact on Southern food and how we can all celebrate the rich heritage of Southern cooking.
Chef Willis regaled the crowd with colorful stories of the life and times of her career as a chef. Her charm and wit, combined with the stories, laughter and delicious food made for made for an unforgettable experience.
VNA President and CEO, Katherine Krause welcomed guests and shared a poignant story of Meals on Wheels client George Kelley and two Meals on Wheels volunteers who saved his life after finding him on the floor of his apartment after a serious fall. Katherine thanked those in attendance for their generous donations of time and gifts to the organization and stated that “With 10,000 adults turning 65 every day, and one in six seniors struggling with hunger, the impact of each donation ensures no senior goes hungry in our community”.
Honorary Chairman Lyda Hill and Event Chairs Eugenia King and Denice Swift, led an event committee (full committee list below) that included many members who have participated in Celebrity Chef planning for several years, helping to make this year’s event flawless.
Longtime VNA supporter and former news anchor and broadcast journalist Scott Murray again lent his talents as emcee and auctioneer of both events. Live auction packages, including a ticket to The Barbecue Summer Camp, co-hosted by Food Ways Texas and the Department of Animal Science at Texas A & M University, a Weekend Farm Stay at White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, GA and a Behind the Scenes Girls Trip: Atlanta Food Tour hosted by Chef Virginia Willis were offered. The auction and raffle prizes raised additional funds for the event.
Presenting - Valley Services, Inc. - an Elior company
Gold - Della and Bob Best, Julie and Eric Clark, Betsy and Richard Eiseman, Karen and Richard Pollock, Lizzie and Dan Routman, Astrid Merriman, Carolyn and Karl Rathjen
Silver - Lydia and Bill Addy, Linda and Jay Barlow, Mary Frances and Tim Bellman, Sara Fraser Crismon, Bess and Ted Enloe, Jennifer and John Eagle, Robert Hallam, Jr., Eugenia and Frank-Paul King, Katherine Krause and Warren Zahler, Catherine and Will Rose, Catherine and Mike Sweet, Denice and Dale Swift, Texas Instruments Incorporated, Cici and Giffen Weinmann
Bronze - Mary Aday, Grace Arianoutsos, Bank of America, U.S. Trust, Suzanne and Enrico Bartolucci, Angie and Marshall Brackbill, Nichole and Chris Culak, Ann Brown and Lacie Crow Becky and Mike Casey, Central Market, Neva and Don Cochran, Claire Dewar and Meaders Moore Ozarow, Fanchon and Howard Hallam, Ben E. Keith Foundation, Jan and Al McClendon, Kate McClendon, Lynn and John Sears, Vin and Caren Prothro Foundation, The Rosewood Corporation, Bob and Janet Ryan Stegall.
Band Sponsor -Astrid Merriman
Tent Sponsor - Grand Bank
Book Sponsor - Interabang Books
Honorary Chairman: Lyda Hill
Event Co-Chairs: Eugenia King and Denice Swift
Event Committee: Mary Frances Bellman, Ann Brown, Becky Casey, Nita Clark, Sara Fraser Crismon, Lacie Crow, Susan Apple Graasse, Betsy Eiseman, Valerie Jarvie, Katie Johnson, Astrid Merriman, Jay Oppenheimer, Meaders Moore Ozarow, Pressley Peters, Karen Pollock, Kersten Rettig, Catherine Sweet, CiCi Weinmann, Lori Whitlow and Kelly Yandell