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An Evening with the Master Chefs

May 2, 2007

An Evening with the Master Chefs
Pat Connor, committee member Susan Braden, Florida Panthers doctor Dr. Terry Connor, Howard and Stacey Feldman, and Jay Braden were among the hundreds of guests who sampled some of the best cuisines the region has to offer.
Five-year-old Emily receiving PT therapy during her stay at the UNC-Chapel Hill care center. Nine-year-old Maya jumping on a trampoline in her backyard on a crisp fall day. Simmons (now 17), at the age of four, donning her swan lake costume and ready to perform.

These and many other images of children living with cystic fibrosis from the Charlotte region were the on-screen highlight of the Carolinas Chapter – Charlotte Office’s An Evening with the Master Chefs. “Our hope for the future is that people will die with CF and not of CF,” said Amy Barry, whose son Jamie has cystic fibrosis.

Held March 31 at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, the dinner aimed to raise money for CF research so that the Barry’s hope—and the hope of all families affected by CF—could become a reality.

Some of the top chefs from throughout the Southeast region were on hand to cook up great excitement—and an extravagant seven-course meal—for the cause. A special wine pairing complemented each savory dish.

This year’s dinner also featured celebrity chef Sam Talbot from Bravo TV’s “Top Chef.” Talbot, born and raised in Charlotte, brought the auction bidding to a frenzy when he offered a dinner for six prepared in the winner’s home. To satisfy the excited crowd, he agreed to host two dinners and raised $17,500 during the live auction.

The most poignant part of the evening, however, came during the Bid for a Cure speech. Emcee Tonia Bendickson of WBTV News asked guests to stand up if they had a personal connection to CF. As more and more people in the room began standing up, the crowd looked around to see that this disease—deemed too “small” for major drug companies to conduct research for—affected so many. Motivated to give, guests raised an astounding $126,000 during the Bid for a Cure alone.

With the vision and leadership of the event’s chair Peyton Howell Koren of the Lash Group, the event raised more than $285,000. A special thank you goes to executive chefs Aidan Waite of The English Connection; Tim Groody of Town, Sonoma and Taverna 100; Mark Hibbs of Ratcliffe on the Green; Jim Alexander of Zebra; Mack Epps of Quail Hollow; Jim Noble of Noble’s; and Sam Talbot from “Top Chef” for preparing amazing meals. In addition, the Foundation is grateful to key volunteers Amy and Peter Barry; Susan Braden; Paul Koren, Keith Brown, Bill Lehew, Jeannette Bugg and Alicia Choate and to corporate sponsors Alston + Bird, Time Warner Cable, Lash Group, Wachovia Securities, Beck Imports of the Carolinas, Helms Mulliss Wicker, EnPro Industries and American Airlines®.

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.