Editor's note: Times columnist Philip Potempa served as the master of ceremonies Sunday at the 12th annual NWI Meals on Wheels Dine with the Chefs Gala.
HOBART | Sandra Noe, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana describes her nonprofit organization annual gala event as "dining for good cause."
"This is our chance to not only celebrate everything our volunteers and organization has been doing for more than 35 years, but also to enjoy a shared meal while raising money and awareness," Noe said, whose committee hosted nearly 400 guests at Avalon Manor in Hobart for the 12th annual Dine with the Chefs Gala.
Chefs from local restaurants and organizations donated time, talent and resources to prepare a seven-course dinner for guests, which included lamb chops, sea bass, shrimp and baked Alaska.
Noe said as much as $85,000 is raised at the event while recognizing the dedication of "volunteers, benefactors and staff united by "one single vision."
Prior to the dinner being served, guests browsed a silent auction featuring tables of treasures, while sampling unique culinary offerings.
Sharron Hillman, president of the Meals on Wheels of Northwest Indiana board, said volunteers and staff serve nearly 3,000 clients every year scattered throughout the area.
"This equates to nearly 900 diligent staff and volunteers supporting the preparation of more than 1,700 nutritious meals, driving more than 12,500 miles to deliver five days a week," Hillman said.
To add some extra excitement to one of this year's dessert course offerings, chef Kenneth Regan of Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, decided to add and extra twist to his recipe for what he calls Molecular Baked Alaska.
For the cherry foam layer, he included a sprinkling of cherry-flavored Pop Rocks candy.
"It's always fun to keep people guessing with some added surprise for tastebuds," Regan said.
This year's event also honored chef David Siano, formerly of Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, for his annual dedication to organize the army of area restaurant chefs who donate their services preparing the three-hour gala meal.