There are so many worthy fundraisers centered around food. For that, we have to recognize our generous local chef community! These men and women show up time and time again (often on their day off) to support the work of local nonprofit organizations. This week, we had the opportunity to learn about Hope Lodge, a respite for people undergoing cancer treatment at nearby medical centers. Hope Lodge offers 31 guest rooms free of charge and allows patients some routine and normalcy during a time of great upheaval.
A dozen chefs and restaurant owners united to present a night of delicious tastes under the stars for the American Cancer Society’s annual event Harvesting Hope. Familiar faces like Jeff Jarrett (Dinner in the Dark), Adam Bostwick (Graffiti, Cork & Cleaver and recent Food Network Chopped winner) and Mia Amidi (Zack Bruell Restaurants) were present as well as some other folks we were excited to meet like Kharisma and Kyra Mayo ( The Vegan Donut Company) and Duane Corley and Brittany Logan (Rocky River Wine Bar).
As we enjoyed small bites and cocktails in the beautiful setting of the Cleveland Botanical Garden, it could have been easy to forget about the more serious side of things. Joshua Johnson, the event’s keynote speaker and a victorious cancer survivor, explained the importance of Hope Lodge. “It’s a place to rest and start a base of attack—a place to deal with whatever you have to deal with.” He painted a moving and realistic picture of when he and his wife had “the realization that life has changed…not having any idea what’s coming next.”
We confess to having seconds of Fabio Salerno’s “Salerno Family Meatballs” and the beefy popcorn by Scott Popovic at Vita Urbana. Third helpings were discussed…but there were too many wonderful tastes to try and several desserts to consider like a unique macaron tiramisu combination from Luna Bakery and Cafe.
We’re always grateful to be invited to a special event that celebrates the good work of Cleveland’s culinary community and to shine a spotlight on the hard work of local nonprofits. Consider attending Harvesting Hope next year to ensure that cancer patients have a place of rest and relaxation during treatment. Or, it won’t be too hard to find another cause close to your heart that’s supported by Cleveland’s awesome chefs.
— Lisa Sands