With the pandemic forcing most spring nonprofit events into a virtual state, VNA’s 11th Annual Celebrity Chef fundraiser had an ace up its proverbial sleeve. The organization was a legendary champ at delivering cuisine thanks to its Meals on Wheels program.
In keeping with the recent emphasis on homegrown products and talents, organizers smartly kept it all in a well-known family of foodies, who have supported Celebrity Chef since its inception.
Chef Julian Barsotti, who owns Nonna, Carbone’s, Sprezza and Fachini, will not only be the event headliner, but his mom, Shelley Hudson, and Andrea Hagar, who established and own Food Company, will serve as honorary co-chairs.
According to Julian, “I’m honored to support VNA’s mission by headlining both the Cocktails in the Kitchen and Celebrity Chef events and I’m excited to share my love of Italian food virtually. VNA has been important to our family for many years and we are grateful to be part of an organization that is so vital to seniors in our community.”
As for the two nights of dining and drinking to benefit VNA’s Meals on Wheels and Hospice and Palliative Care programs, it will start off with Cocktails in the Kitchen on Tuesday, March 23, from 7 to 8 p.m. Cocktails Co-Chairs Flauren and Jason Bender and Louise and Charles Marsh will virtually have guests enjoy a basket of Venetian-inspired delicacies known as andar a ciceti-small bites made with exquisite ingredients, along with Julian providing a behind-the-scenes look at the Haggerty Kitchen that turns out 6,5000 meals each day/five days a week for Dallas seniors. That’s more than 1.6M meals a year.
The following night (aka Wednesday, March 24) Celebrity Chef Co-Chairs Julie and Eric Clark and Catherine and Will Rose have arranged to have VNA volunteers deliver a Feast of San Giuseppe that will include Italian American Antipasto-olives, artichokes marinto, roasted peppers, prosciutto, spicy salami, garlic bread and fresh mozzarella cheese; Caesar salad, and Ragu alla Sunday-Rigatoni pasta, Luciano sausages, Osso buco, meatballs a la Barsotti and spicy rabe along with Italian wine and Prosecco.
From 7 to 8 p.m. Julian will visit with guests virtually, demonstrating a recipe from the menu, addressing his “unique perspective as an Italian American and how Italian food has influenced his life,” as well as sharing how the pop-up concepts ofRitas and Queso and The Grape Ape came about.
Ironically when the pandemic forced restaurants to close, Julian and his team came up with home delivery of margaritas, queso, tamales, vino, antipasto and lasagna. Up to that time most folks thought food delivery was limited to pizza-in-an-hour. Thanks to Julian, stay-at-home turned into yum-at-home.
Why not lock down two nights of cocktailing and dining in with Julian and learn about one of Dallas’ true treasures — VNA — and the work that continues seamlessly through good time and bad for area seniors?
* Photo provided by VNA