Annual culinary fundraiser surpasses $100,000 mark
While seeking a Spanish theme to brand its annual culinary fundraiser in 2015, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast opted to pass on ideas such as the country’s revered Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. The winning theme managed to hit the bull’s-eye, nevertheless.
A Reason to Taste: Flamenco & Flames achieved sold-out capacity and grossed a record-setting $117,000 through corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, fund-a-need donations, and live and silent auction bids.
The money raised during the event’s fourth installment on Oct. 24 will benefit the Hospitality Administration program’s greatest needs and fund student scholarships.
“Our event is simply a lot of fun,” says Oliver Barie, the executive director of resource development. “We offer the opportunity to enjoy incredible cuisine and fine wine in the company of friends, all the while knowing it benefits the students hosting it.”
Barie says this year’s A Reason to Taste raised nearly 40 percent more than last year’s event. The growth will provide additional program support and scholarships.
“The biggest thank you of all goes to our sponsors, guests, and the northeast Indiana community,” Barie says. “This support is changing students’ lives right here, and for this we are eternally grateful.”
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A Reason to Travel
Hospitality administration students pursuing a concentration in either culinary arts or baking and pastry arts have the opportunity to enter Ivy Tech Northeast’s European Competition, an annual gourmet food-preparation contest. Last spring marked the competition’s 18th anniversary, where 23 students prepared a combination of culinary items and baked goods in four hours. Judges selected eight winners to partake in a 10-day culinary tour of northeast Spain and southwest France with a faculty chaperone in May. A small portion of the funds raised during each A Reason to Taste provides annual winners of the competition with a modest stipend to aid their travel expenses.
A Reason to Toast
From the Gazpacho Andaluz, a tomato-based soup served cold, to duck confit with demi-glace, where the meat has been cooked and preserved in its own fat, nearly 300 dinner guests explored a combination of Spanish and French cuisine.
“Inspiration for this year’s meal came from the test kitchens, restaurants, and vineyards we visited, with an emphasis on regional foods,” says Chef Jeff Albertson, assistant professor of hospitality administration. “We incorporated a lot of peppers and other produce that grows in warmer climates.”
A Reason to Shine
To reflect touches of Spanish influence, giant lace patterns were projected across the walls of the Student Life Center gymnasium. Crystal chandeliers with black filigree dropped from the ceiling and combined with Middle Eastern-inspired lanterns to play into Spain’s Moorish history. Roses and lace accents on the tables softened the color palette.
“We hit the right notes because the guests were in awe when they arrived, laughed when they danced, celebrated our students’ success stories, and gave more generously than ever before,” says Aja Michael-Keller, director of events, enrichment, and conferencing.
A Reason to Celebrate
The fund-a-need appeal following the evening’s live auction raised more than $20,000 to purchase a point-of-sale system for the Hospitality Administration program. These systems analyze sales data, improve pricing accuracy, and maintain sales history.
“With this system in place, I’ll be excited about our students being better prepared as managers. This software technology is so engrained in restaurant culture,” Chef Jeff Albertson says.
A Reason to Dance
Members of the Fort Wayne Ballet performed dances from the Don Quixote and The Nutcracker ballets, followed by an Argentine dancer leading a group tango lesson.
“I think every part of the evening was special, from the ballet performances to the tango dancing with audience participation,” says Carol Brooks, a dinner guest. “This event is a highlight of the year. No one should miss this fundraiser.”
A Reason to Reflect
Ivy Tech Northeast Chancellor Jerrilee K. Mosier, Ed.D., and Executive Director of Resource Development Oliver Barie presented WPTA-TV 21Alive news anchor Melissa Long with the College’s first Ivy Award for outstanding community service and leadership. Long retired in December following a career in local broadcast media that spanned more than 30 years. Long and 21Alive sports director Tommy Schoegler shared emcee duties during the evening.