Meals On Wheels Raises $3.3M At Culinary Centric Gala

Chef Mourad Lahlou and auctioneer Greg Quiroga at the gala

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

One of the best parties of the year—the 32nd annual Meals on Wheels gala—took place last week at Fort Mason. The funds raised will provide 640,000 meals for Bay Area senior citizens. What makes the party so unique is the chef and vintner participation. As the gala chair, chef Nancy Oakes coordinated all the culinary components. For San Francisco food lovers, it was indeed an exceptional evening.

Copita Tequileria Y Comida bite at the reception

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Virtually every big name chef, from Mourad Lahlou to Alexander Hong, donated their time and talent to help make it a memorable and delicious success. Since McCalls caters every other major event, it was a refreshing change of pace for the social set to experience fine dining from the city’s top chefs at a charity fundraiser.

Mark Peterson, Ashley McCumber and John Viola

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer Photography

“We are honored to have Northern California’s most acclaimed chefs and vintners come together for one evening of culinary excellence to support our mission to fight against senior hunger and isolation in San Francisco,” Meals on Wheels San Francisco CEO and executive director, Ashley McCumber said. “The level of generosity in the room in general, but especially from our board and honorary board, was awe-inspiring. We are so grateful for everyone’s support of our mission.”

Chef Robin Song

Photo Credit: Jaime Borschuk for Drew Altizer Photography

The night began with a cocktail reception and silent auction. The well-dressed guests tasted wine and nibbled on snacks prepared by chefs like Parke Ulrich of Waterbar and Mersea and The Vault‘s Robin Song. For the meal, everyone moved into a massive makeshift dining room. The top tables were treated to an amuse-bouche of caviar, and everyone enjoyed an elaborate four-course dinner. Each course was prepared by a different chef/restaurant and is paired with a distinct red and white wine.

The gorgeous tablescape

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

At my table, we started with Mourad’s smoked salmon with peas and preserved lemons. This was followed by Sorrel’s housemate pasta with fava beans and wild ramps, Spruce’s braised beef short rib with garlic flan, and Epic Steak’s dark chocolate bouchon.

Lisa Zabelle

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

The live auction and fund a need, which raised $1.05 million and $1.145 million respectively, took place during the dinner. Guests bid on exclusive experiences like a once-in-a-lifetime dinner with eight James Beard nominees and a four-night trip to Italy with Nancy Oakes as the culinary guide. The lively after party included dancing and more dessert and drink options.

Scott Connors and Christine Leong Connors

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Russ Flynn

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Victor Makras and Farah Makras

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Chef Ken Frank of La Toque

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Stephen Chess and Lois Chess

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Mathilde Froustey

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Caviar

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Mourad Lahlou

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Kelly Abreu, Hooman Khalili and Leslie Gibin

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Dustin Valette and Alex Kanzler

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

Cecilia Chang and Mary Beth Shimmon

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Denise Hale and George Hamel

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Kyle Esecson and Morgan Esecson

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Todd Zabelle, Jane Mudge, Cheryl Baxter and Lisa Zabelle

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Peter Resos, Jim Considine, Lisa Considine, Jamie Beckman and Trish Beckman

Photo Credit: Arthur Kobin for Drew Altizer Photography

James Kim, Hannah Kim, Kristin Preston and Scott Preston

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

Atmosphere

Photo Credit: Katie Ravas for Drew Altizer Photography

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