Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The French Pastry School's For the Love of Chocolate gala raises $70,000 in scholarships

The 6th annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala welcomed over 900 guests and raised over $70,000 in scholarships to benefit the students of The French Pastry School of Kennedy-King College at the City Colleges of Chicago. 

Dancing through the main entrance the DJ’s beats, guests were immediately greeted with a drink served by charming ladies in dresses made of lipstick-red cocktail napkins. This was Cocoa Candy Land, decorated with Willy Wonka colors, populated by delightfully quirky performers, and featuring the delectable Barry Callebaut chocolate bar.

Mouthwatering desserts in Cocoa Cuisine
Setting out to explore, the guests in Cocoa Candy Land would find chef contributors including Sara Lee Corporation, Boka, Whimsical Candy, Rare Bird Preserves, Nick’s Fishmarket & Grill, Julius Meinl, Le Flour Bakery, Marriott Hotel, and Hotel Sofitel.
Redmoon Theater's Marie Antoinette serves chocolate cake to guests
Also wandering through the event were two women fashioned as Marie Antoinette serving the guests chocolate cake from their magnificently-draped, table-sized dresses. The indulgent cake was made by Chef Sherry Yard of Spago, Wolfgang Puck’s famous Beverly Hills restaurant.
Just a step away was Cocoa Cuisine, a palace-like room sparkling with culinary jewels like Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill, Blackbird’s Paul Kahan and Patrick Fahy, Vie’s Paul Virant, Everest’s Jean Joho, Jason McLeod of Ria and Balsan, Graham Elliot’s Graham Elliot Bowles, Dave Danielson of Behind the Scenes Catering, the Peninsula’s Kai Lermen, and many others. Venturing on to the Cocoa Lounge, guests were entranced by the beguiling tones of a jazz chanteuse, the wildly popular Grand Marnier concoctions and sweet treats from Sweet Vee’s Laboratory.

Upon entering the exotic confines of Cocoa Sutra, guests were able to admire a grand culinary tapestry woven together by everything from Zarlengo’s Italian Ice to Labriola Bakery to Sweet Whimsy Pastry Shop. These gastronomic sensations were enhanced by hypnotizing Indo-Arabic rock that played while some guests sampled the fare, others relaxed in the hookah lounge and still others had their fortunes told by psychics.
Chefs Jacquy Pfeiffer and Sebastian Canonne, M.O.F. with Joe Trummer of Sara Lee Corporation, a sponsor of For the Love of Chocolate Foundation
The event was filled with local celebrities like Ginger Zee of NBC, Mai Martinez of CBS, Rochelle Vayo Adknison of WGN-TV, and Mrs. Illinois, all decked out in chocolate dresses designed by such Chefs as Chris Thielman from College of Dupage, Brady Braden of B True Bakery, Cheryl Brookhouzen of The Marriott, and Norm Miller of Normy’s Confection Connection.
The foundation and gala could not exist without the many generous sponsors and donors that make these grants possible for future students of the pastry arts. The seventh annual For the Love of Chocolate Gala, already in the planning process, will take place on February 4, 2012: mark your calendars now, and keep current with details on next year’s amazing event and the work of the eponymous foundation by visiting www.fortheloveofchocolatefoundation.org.