Supporters raised an incredible $3.3 million during the 32nd Annual Star Chefs & Vintners Gala held at Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion on May 19. The income from this gala is enough to provide 640,000 nourishing meals to homebound seniors in San Francisco and represents approximately 22 percent of Meals on Wheels San Francisco's $15 million annual budget. We are very grateful for this support and thank everyone for helping make this event such a wonderful success and for supporting our mission to assure no senior in San Francisco goes hungry!
The weekend’s stormy weather did not dampen the spirits of more than 900 guests who gathered inside for a VIP reception and walk-around tasting of culinary masterpieces, incredible wines, and hand-crafted cocktails prepared and served by 150 of the region's best chefs and vintners. During the VIP Reception, the well-heeled crowd perused over silent auction items and entered their chances at winning a two-year lease on a 2019 Mercedes-Benz GLC350E plug-in hybrid.
Guests attending the dinner portion of the evening enjoyed a four-course dinner that included a plated dessert. The lively Fund-a-Route and live auction generated $2.19 million. During the evening, MOWSF Board President and Capital Campaign Co-Chair Russ Flynn, and MOWSF Board Member and Capital Campaign Co-Chair José Allen, addressed the audience and unveiled a 3D video virtual tour of the new state-of-the-art kitchen and production facility. They announced that 80-percent of the funds have been secured for the $41 million kitchen and construction will take place this summer with an estimated opening by the last quarter of 2020.
The new kitchen will allow MOWSF to expand its capacity from producing up to 8,000 meals a day currently, to the ability to produce 20,000 meals daily to meet the need. Allen challenged the audience to support the capital campaign and join in the mission of feeding homebound seniors in San Francisco for generations to come.
“Here’s the simple truth – with no new kitchen, we will have no expanded ability to meet the wave of seniors and need we now confront,” explained CEO and Executive Director of Meals on Wheels San Francisco, Ashley McCumber. "The new kitchen will secure meals for vulnerable seniors in San Francisco for the next 30 years."
Live Auction and Fund-a-Route
The 17 live auction lots included exclusive culinary experiences, exotic overseas getaways, and wine packages. The enthusiasm during the auction and the Fund-a-Route was truly inspiring, raising just over $2 million alone! Remember, this equates to thousands of meals that we’ll be able to provide to seniors.
The hottest auction item was the Once-in-a-Lifetime Buy-In Dinner with 9 James Beard nominees which brought in $160K at $5,000 per couple. The dinner will be held on Sunday, March 1, 2020 and each course will be paired with wines from Wiliams Selyem. The chefs participating are:
- David Barzelay of Lazy Bear
- Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions
- Val Cantu of Californios
- Ravi Kapur of Liholiho Yacht Club
- Thomas McNaughton of flour + water
- Nancy Oakes of Boulevard
- Charles Phan of The Slanted Door
- Staffan Terje of Perbacco
- Gayle Pirie and John Clark of Foreign Cinema
AND for a limited time – you may get in on this incredible experience! Contact the Development Office for details at 415.343.1280.
Dessert and Dancing
The evening wrapped up with an incredible dessert bar, more handcrafted cocktails, and lots of dancing!
We are grateful to have had the company of 150 of the region’s top chefs and vintners in one amazing space. The gala would not be possible without the hard work of Gala Chef Chair, Chef Nancy Oakes and the Boulevard Team, Taste Catering, Standard Party Rentals, the Chefs and Vintners, and the amazing Sommelier and Wine committees. Thank you also to all of the sponsors who made this event a reality.
And last but not least, huge thanks to our staff and an army of volunteers!
All photos courtesy: Drew Altizer Photography.
New kitchen rendering courtesy: Robert Becker Design
Video courtesy: MashNY Productions