Final night of Chefdance raises thousands for local charity | ParkRecord.com

Final night of Chefdance raises thousands for local charity

Tracie Fails, contributing writer

The first nine days of Chefdance had all the glitz and glamour of a typical Sundance party. Thousand-dollar tickets bought exclusive entrees by world-renowned chefs, celebrity elbow rubbing and high-profile entertainment. But for all the cachet Ken and Mimi Griswold’s fourth annual event had to offer, the tenth and final night may have the most lasting impact.

Each year, the Griswolds have dedicated the final night to a nonprofit organization, including the nationally recognized Make a Wish Foundation and Dream Foundation in past years. This year the couple chose the Park City-based charity Women Beyond Cancer (WBC), a foundation that provides retreats for women that promote emotional and spiritual healing. Co-founders Pam Cofer and Lola Bogue, both cancer survivors, said the program is important to helping women regain their lives after beating cancer.

"A lot of cancer organizations focus on the medical treatment. We wanted to create a bridge beyond that to help women with what comes next," Cofer said. "Your whole life is different after cancer. Your kids might say, ‘Mommy’s back!’ but there’s a lot of healing that goes into learning how to live again."

The retreats’ expenses however, including flight arrangements, lodging, recreation and meals make the program costly to run. Participants often contribute a small donation, but WBC relies heavily on charity and fundraising. Marketing director Tiffany Tyler estimated that aside from corporate sponsorship toward the cost of running Chefdance, the event raised over $100,000 from attendees which will directly support Women Beyond Cancer. At $1,000 a plate the organizers ensured that guests would have a good time in return for their contribution.

The night opened with drinks in the Airborne Lounge below Harry O’s, where guests enjoyed cocktails and free Airborne tablets. The former Monkey Bar had undergone a makeover to promote the cold medicine, complete with neon signs and Airborne centerpieces. Free Airborne capsules gave way to a surprising new drink that one guest proclaimed is now a favorite: Two Airborne tablets, club soda and a splash of vodka.

Inside the dining room chef Kenneth Oringer, a Bostonian with a flair for Oriental flavor, had prepared his signature tuna ceviche with lemon grass, Thai chilies and cilantro. The four-course meal continued with celeryroot mouseline, red grapefruit with whipped coconut milk and chocolate hazelnut cream, and marmalade with freeze dried pineapple. Chefdance isn’t Oringer’s only commitment to cancer this year. This March will participate in Great Chefs for a Cure this March to benefit Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

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Celebrities supporting the event included Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, Queen Latifah and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds. The most notable no-show of the evening, though, was Gnarls Barkley, the Grammy-nominated duo slated to perform at Harry-O’s after the dinner.

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