Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography
The Festival Pavilion at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center was a foodie’s and wine enthusiast’s dream on April 19 when the Meals on Wheels of San Francisco brilliantly put on its 28th Annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala—raising $2.63 million in the process. The final tally matched last year’s record-breaking amount and is enough money to provide more than 520,000 meals to homebound seniors. The memorable and marathon evening—from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.—was an exceptional celebration of food, wine and community support enjoyed by more than 900 guests.
“Once again the Bay Area food and wine community has ensured that Meals On Wheels of San Francisco can continue to meet the needs of homebound seniors. This is symbolic of the amazing commitment of San Franciscans to ensure that all citizens are valued and supported,” said Ashley C. McCumber, Executive Director of Meals On Wheels of San Francisco. “The generous support of world-class restaurants and wineries, our corporate sponsors and individual donors, has guaranteed that Meals On Wheels of San Francisco can respond to the needs of a growing senior population.”
The well-dressed guests, who includes Cecilia Chang, Denise Hale, who came out to support her dear friend Nancy Oakes, Gala Chef Chair and Executive Chef/Owner of Boulevard and Prospect, Malia Cohen, Mark Leno, George Gascon and Fabiola Kramsky, dined on the culinary creations of 100 of Northern California’s top chefs including Oakes, Chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinksi (The Progress | State Bird Provisions), Josh Even (Tosca Café), Thomas McNaughton (flour + water), Adam Sobel (RN74), Staffan Terje and Laura Cronin (Perbacco Restorante + Bar | barbacco), Evan and Sarah Rich (Rich Table), Mourad Lahlou (Mourad), Yigit Pura (Tout Sweet Pâtisserie) and William Werner (Craftsman and Wolves).
More than 90 of California’s premier vintners also participated in the Gala, including BOND, Chateau Montelena Winery, Duckhorn Portfolio, Herb Lamb Vineyards, Levy McClellan, Melka Wines, Peay Vineyards, Realm Cellars, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Vineyard 29, and Williams Selyem Winery. Additionally, the reception included specialty cocktails created by celebrity mixologists, including Greg Lindgren of Rye, Morgan Schick of Trick Dog and Andrew Meltzer of 15 Romolo.
An hour-long VIP reception kicked off the evening before a 90-minute hors d’oeuvre, wine and cocktail reception got underway. Next up was the seated dinner, which included a new twist this year. As is tradition, Gala guests are seated at tables with one of 10 unique menus. These menus are created in collaboration between three chefs who each plan one of the three courses. This year, for the first time, guests of the new Constellation Patrons, who purchased tables of 10 for $30,000, choose their own first, second and third courses from across the 10 Gala menus.
Highlights of the live auction, which featured several one-of-a-kind items, included:
- An exclusive buy-a-seat dinner party with chefs Nancy Oakes , Gary Danko, Tyler Florence and Yigit Pura cooking together for the first time. Seven bidders purchased seats at $13,000 a couple, which raised an astounding $91,000 – a Gala record.
- An auction lot for a culinary tour of the Basque Country with chefs Gerald Hirigoyen and Laurent Manrique, as well as a dinner with chefs Oakes and Dominique Crenn at Peter Michael, both went for $50,000.
- A dinner for eight at the winner’s home with RICH Table’s Evan and Sarah Rich and SCRIBE Wines was sold twice at $35,000
The climax of the evening was Fund-A-Route, in which guests pledged a record-breaking $730,000 towards funding meal delivery routes in San Francisco for the next year.
Michael Tusk, Nancy Oakes, Thomas McNaughton
Nancy Oakes, Dominique Crenn
Nancy Oakes, Mark Leno, Denise Hale
Nancy Oakes, Nico Belaroque, Staffan Terje
Stuart Brioza, Nancy Oakes, Richard Reddington
Teri Goodman, Barbara Walkowski, Cindy Black, Andy Goodman
Yigit Pura, Malia Cohen, Ashley McCumber
Yigit Pura, Tyler Florence, Nancy Oakes
Cecilia Chang, Mourad Lahlou
Angela Sangiacomo, Yvonne Sangiacomo
Cecilia Chang, Michael Murphy, Mourad Lahlou
George Gascon, Fabiola Kramsky
Craig Sullivan, Robin Farmanfarmaian, Paul Anderson, Ian Sobieski
Debbie Rachleff, Eric Knight
Dee Flynn, Russ Flynn
Janet Parker, Nate Parker, Sarah Steingart, Leslie Gibin
Jose Allen, Helen Burt, Ashley McCumber
Jose Allen, Irvenia Waters
Chelsea Kitchen, Drew Kitchen
Guest, Guest, Gerald Hirigoyen, Laurent Manrique, Jim Considine
Drew Kitchen, Guest, Nino Fanlo, Laura Fanlo
Photos by Drew Altizer Photography