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October 10, 2004 - Strings Restaurant "Ties" Together Annual Secret Chef Dinner

Where: Strings Restaurant

When: October 10, 2004

Beneficiary: Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education)

EMCEE: Bill Ritter, Denver D.A. and Chair of the Board

Co-Chair(s): Dr. Dean Prina and Jill DiPasquale

Executive Director: Jim Bernuth

Speaker: Gerald Trujillo

Libations: Michael Geller donated all wine

Catering: Shamrock Foods donated all the food

Of note: "Here's to eternity - May we spend it in as good company as this night finds us!"

Sponsors: Corporate: Exempla Health Care, Birschbach Media, Denver Bronces Football Club, Metropolitan Homes, St. Anthony's Health Foundation

Attendance: 225

Special Thanks: In-kind: Michael Geller, Brandt Wi, David Lang, Ron Armijo, John Tobey for dessert, Jill and Larry DiPasquale, Jim and Pamela Basey for sorbet

Models/Fashions: Cocktail or Sunday best

Information: 303.322.2382

Donors: Silent Auction: Larry and Deborah Melnick, Randi Lee Goldworks, Argonaut Wines, Gary Paul, Elaine Gampel, Del Frisco's, Denver Broncos Football Club, Spyder, Curious Theatre, RE/MAX International, Noel Cunningham, Steve Werner, Mayor John Hickenlooper, Bill Ritter Jr., and Kroenke Sports Enterprises

Blacktie Photos by: Elizabeth Byrnes-Crony

 Who is that masked woman?  Secret Chef Dinner Co-Chairs Dr. Dean Prina and Jill DiPasquale.
Who is that masked woman? Secret Chef Dinner Co-Chairs Dr. Dean Prina and Jill DiPasquale.

Elizabeth Byrnes-Crony

Sundays are not a typical night for fundraisers, but then the Annual Secret Chef’s Dinner, a benefit for Project PAVE, is not like the usual sit-down dinners. The weekend day is usually saved for family events and quieter times…and that is exactly what the Project PAVE event is – a huge, family-like dinner, held on a Sunday in October at Noel Cunningham’s restaurant, Strings, which he closes to the public.

On Sunday, October 10th over two hundred guests gathered on the patio of Strings Restaurant to enjoy the warm weather and start the evening off with “Sundry Hors d’Oeuvres,” created by Secret Chef Bob Gitre, Executive Corporate Chef for Epicurean Catering and “CoBiz Coolers,” a martini cocktail, created by Secret Chef Jon Lorenz of Colorado Business Bank. This "intimate dinner" for a couple hundred, is an annual fundraiser for Project PAVE (Promoting Alternatives to Violence through Education). PAVE seeks to end the cycle of violence in homes and in society in general. The staff and board members of PAVE strive to get kids to question all forms of violence. They have made profound changes in the way children throughout Denver perceive and deal with violence.

“From the fantastic food and wine to the wonderful charity, this is the place to be,” said a guest, packed into the crowded patio.

Instead of the guests gathering inside and interrupting the cocktail hour, the presentation was moved to the outdoors. Bill Ritter, Denver D.A. and Chair of the Project PAVE board, thanked the guests for attending the dinner. “It is not easy to come out on a Sunday, evening, especially such a nice one,” he said, as a few passing cars sounded their horns.

“Violence is a learned behavior and kids should never have to tolerate or live in that situation,” Bill continued on a serious note. “We as a group (at Project PAVE) do not believe that you have to live that way.” He then introduced Gerald Trujillo, a 2004 Project PAVE - Janus Foundation Scholarship recipient and also a Daniels Fund scholar. Gerald graduated from West High School and now he attends the University of Denver, where he plans to study Human Science and Criminology.

“Children raising children is not the way to bring up kids,” Gerald told the guests. “My mom was 16 and my dad was 18 and they didn’t hold the basic skills for life, much less raising me.” He continued on that his grandmother helped to raise him and that she and the organization Big Brother/Big Sister made a huge impact in his life. “I have a “big brother” that mentored me and got me involved with Project PAVE and now they are both so proud of me and what I have done.” "Our success has everything to do with our board members, supporters and the generosity of Noel and Tammy Cunningham," Jim Bernuth, Executive Director of Project PAVE, told the guests. “Each year the Cunningham’s have been with us, since the beginning, and we are lucky to be the beneficiary of their passion.”

Dinner co-chairs Dr. Dean Prina and Jill DiPasquale announced that dinner was served. Development Director Justine Nathanson, escorted the “Chefs” to each of the dinner tables, where they announced their entrée and divulged a few facts about the recipe.

The first course was lamb wrapped in cabbage, served by “Chefs” Mary White and Mimi Robertson and sponsored by Swedish Medical Center and Presbyterian St. Luke’s. A spicy bisque d’ecrevisse, served by "Chefs" Gary Paul and Michael Cain, sponsored by Health Watch West and Gary Paul, was presented next.

Heyman’s Heavenly Horseradish Salmon, created and sponsored by “Chefs” Betsy Mordecai Heyman and Gareth Heyman was accompanied by Risotto a la Maison, created and sponsored by “Chefs” Amy Harmon and Christy Owen. “Chefs” and sponsors Pamela and Jim Basey explained their “Magnificent Mariachi Magic”, a sorbet margarita-like drink. The sorbet cleansed palettes and prepared the guest’s taste buds for “Chef” Mary Ann Tarpey’s d’Agneau l’Orange, sponsored by Universal Lending Foundation and Peter and Susanne Lansing and topped with “Chef” Bradley Joseph’s Mediterranean medley, sponsored by Kroenke Sports Enterprises. Last but not least, dessert "Chef" and sponsor John Tobey served up a “Passion”ate ending with a fall-themed cake.

The dinner and the silent auction items brought in approximately $60,000…that is some Sunday dinner!

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