Local chefs help raise funds for YMCA Youth and Family Services
“Reaching for Stars,” the principal fundraiser for Youth and Family Services, Channel Islands YMCA, will return to an in-person fine dining event beginning at 5:30 p.m. April 28, the first time since 2019.
Local top chefs will again team up to create a five-course gourmet dinner to benefit local at-risk and homeless youth at Rockwood, Santa Barbara Woman’s Club, 670 Mission Canyon Road. Tickets start at $250.
Preparing the dinner will be Wine Cask/Intermezzo’s Josh Brown, Rosewood Miramar Beach’s Paul Osborne, Oliver’s of Montecito’s Manny Juan and Knife and Barrel’s Jason Tuley.
Charlie Fredericks, chef for the Culinary Arts Program at Santa Barbara City College, has been reaching out to chefs and coordinating the culinary component.
“Chefs volunteer their time and utilize their creative culinary talents to provide a tantalizing menu. One of their motivations is that they appreciate the opportunity to connect with one another. Though many have known each other for years, they rarely have the opportunity to join forces and work together,” said Chef Fredericks.
“One of the major challenges is working around their employers’ commitments like major events such as weddings sometimes mean that chefs who had intended to participate have to bow out. This event also gives students the opportunity to work with a variety of chefs. Additionally, it gives the chefs an opportunity to consider some of the students’ potential for working in their restaurants.”
Stephane Rapp and his graduating Culinary Arts students will prepare and pass appetizers on the Rockwood patio, while classical guitarist Chris Fossek will provide soft background music. Libation donors will provide guests the opportunity to taste wine from Fess Parker and Brander wineries as well as sample various Tito’s vodka cocktails or Firestone Walker beers.
Once guests are seated for dinner, Chef Fredericks will offer the first course, and the second will be prepared by Chef Brown (with a vegetarian option). Chef Osborne will pair up with his wife, Michelle Osborne, executive chef of Seasons Catering, for the fresh fish course, compliments of Santa Barbara Fish Market.
The main beef course will be provided by Chef Tuley while Chef Juan will prepare the vegetarian option, Kung Pao Cauliflower.
Four dessert chefs will combine their talents in offering “Sensuous Citrus Sensations.” They are Jessica Foster of Jessica Foster Confections; Jean Michel Carré, chocolatier, Chocolats du CaliBressen; and The Two Baking Brits, Pascale Beale of Pascale’s Kitchen and Adu Zelli of Gipsy Hill Bakery.
“I like to participate in this dinner because Noah’s Anchorage is a very important program to help young kids and adults, and it’s important to be able to give back to the community. Plus it is a fun night working along with all the chefs, “ said Mr. Carre.
Following the main course, keynote speaker, Lis Wiehl, a New York Times bestselling author, media legal commentator and a former federal prosecutor, will share the challenges and success stories of several recent youth clients as well as her experience with YFS and YMCA.
One of the Santa Barbara resident’s books, “Lethal Beauty,” provides several examples of human trafficking, while her latest,”A Spy in Plain Sight,” is an accurate account of Robert Hanssen’s sabotage as an FBI double agent for the Russians
Ms. Wiehl also led a multiyear, multi-agency task force that resulted in the successful prosecution of 13 human traffickers from Russian, India and Europe.
Visit ciymca.org/reaching-for-stars to purchase tickets or for more information, including the silent auction, which concludes at 9 p.m. the night of “Reaching for Stars.”
Some of the auction items include Ms. Wiehl conducting a book club discussion about one of her 20 books (liswiehlbooks.com); an original oil painting by local artist, Karen McGaw; personal protection training; one night’s stay in a luxury king suite at the Montecito Inn; golfing coupons; wine tasting coupons and more.
Youth and Family Services serves more than 600 children and young people each year through Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, the St. George Youth Center, My Home and Support and Outreach Services. Children and young people in high-risk environments who participate in YFS programs experience increased safety, health and well-being, and they increase their capacity for self-sufficiency by building skills for independence and developing lasting relationships with adults who are committed to their success.
All money raised will fund the St. George Youth Center, My Home at Artisan Court, Noah’s Anchorage and Support and Outreach Services. These programs offer crisis intervention, housing, shelter, youth and family counseling, assistance with employment, basic needs and other services to the at-risk and homeless youth in Santa Barbara County.
Established in 1887, the Channel Islands YMCA is a charitable organization of seven YMCA branches serving Santa Barbara and Ventura counties including Camarillo Family YMCA, Lompoc Family YMCA, Montecito Family YMCA, Santa Barbara Family YMCA, Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA in Santa Ynez, Ventura Family YMCA and Youth and Family Services YMCA.