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Chef Michael Campbell, Pacific Pearl Catering, Laguna Beach

Featured Article

Festival of OC Chefs Benefiting KidWorks a Sell-Out!

The Second Annual Festival of OC Chefs, benefiting KidWorks, was held Sunday, July 17 at Newport Beach Country Club.

 The popular food festival, which featured 34 chefs, drew 400 guests to mingle and sample the scrumptious fare. Renowned wineries, such as Duckhorn, Crown Point, Schramsberg, Three Sticks, and Chateau Montelena, were also a part of the mix. Guests were later seated on the lawn to sample desserts and be introduced to the chefs by emcee DawnMarie Kotsonis.

KidWorks’ incoming Board Chair and event co-chair Cory Alder shared the KidWorks’ story. Involved with the charity for 16 years, he lauded the nonprofit’s academic support, character and leadership development programs that empower students in Orange County’s underserved neighborhoods from pre-K through their college years.  Despite the pandemic challenges, he said the nonprofit is addressing mental health challenges, making plans to expand into additional satellite campuses and adding programs to include Friday nights and Saturdays. “Despite all the challenges,” Alder said, “this is the eighth year in a row, we have 100% high school graduations and 100% college graduations.”

Fun was had as guests joined the Heads or Tails Game, with one guest left standing to claim the $500 prize. Luis Lopez was the winner of the 50-bottle premium wine tree raffle, generously donated by Mona Lee Nesseth and valued at $2,500. He generously donated it back to KidWorks, and it was auctioned for $5,500 to benefit the charity.

The event co-chairs included Lisa and Cory Alder, Tracy and Kevin Murphy and Kyle and David Team, with committee members Joey Booth, Karin and Jeff Garell, Linda Maggard, Leticia & Pat Merrell, Camille and Tim Strader, Jr., Chase Watson, and Sue & Nick Willett. Also attending were outgoing Board Chair Adrian Montero and KidWork’s CEO David Benevides. KM Productions was thanked for producing the event. 

Following a generous Fund-A-Need portion, which helped boost proceeds to $820,000, the band, Flashback Heart Attack, took the heartfelt evening home.

The KidWorks’ mission is to restore at-risk neighborhoods one life at a time. Since 1993, KidWorks has grown into a vibrant community development non-profit that serves central Santa Ana students and families through a fully licensed preschool, after-school programs, tutoring, mentoring, and adult services in the areas of health, parenting classes, and support.

Participating Restaurants/Chefs

Host Chef: Graeme Blair – Newport Beach Country Club

Backstage-A-Fair – Annie Morgan

Baja Shellfish - Pascal Olhats

Balboa Bay Resort & Club – Jacob Davis

Bluegold – Eugene Jang & Jorge Valines

Butterfight Food Service - Alan Ramirez

CafeEighteen48 – Scott Renney & Dominique Shelton

Cannery Seafood of the Pacific - Victor Soto

Catered Courses & Santa Ana Sweets – Rick Boxeth

C’est La Vie - Antonio Roa & Enrique Valenzuela

Chatos Bar & Grill – Sergio Ortega

Crestavilla – Bert Agor Jr.

Connected Culinaire – Chelsea Cruz

Dana Point Yacht Club – Jonathan Stanley

Descanso Restaurant – Fonzy De Zuniga

Filomena’s Italian Kitchen – Linda Johnsen, Santiago Castaneda & Carlos Roman Salazar

Haute Productions – Keith Prante

Kinimi Kitchen - Kirbee Miller

Loews Vanderbilt Nashville – Charly Houegban

Macheen Food Events – Jonathan Perez

Newport Rib Company

Nobu Newport Beach –Andy Huynh

Oceans & Earth – Chef Adam Navidi

Oliver’s Osteria – Erik De Marchi

Pacific Pearl Catering – Michael Campbell

Pedro’s Culinary Cuisine- Pedro Uribe

Pelican Hill Resort – Kyung Carroll

Prego Restaurant – Ugo Allesina

Seabutter – Peter Moon

Station Craft – Anthony Celeste

Suenos Laguna Beach – Yen Wu

Taste Collective – Chris Tzorin

The Waterfront Beach Resort, Huntington Beach Lewis Butler

The Winery Restaurant - Yvon Goetz

Thyme Well Spent Catering – Brandon Hall

  • Chef Michael Campbell, Pacific Pearl Catering, Laguna Beach
  • Wine Tree donor Mona Lee Nesseth and George Rozsahegyi
  • Chef Jonathan Stanley, Dana Point Yacht Club
  • Amy Mack and Cynthia DeBaun
  • C'est La Vie Chefs Enrique Valenzuela and Antonio Roa
  • Cary Hysen and Bree Cox