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October 07, 2010 - Food, wine and a dash of hilarity fuel Grapes Against Wrath

What: Winetasting, food sampling, cooking demo and silent auction to benefit Family Advocacy, Care, Education, Support (FACES)

Where: Roth Distributing

When: Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time: 5:30-9 p.m.

Ticket Prices: $85

Beneficiary: Family Advocacy, Care, Education, Support (FACES)

Executive Director: Debora Judish

Libations: Donated by The Vineyard Wine Shop...Lyeth: Fleur de Lyeth; Rodney Strong: Chalk Hill Chrdonnay; Segura Viuda: BrutReserva; Quady Essencia: 100% Orange Muscat; Colores Del Sol: Malbec; Infamous Goose: Sauvignon Blanc

Entertainment: Chef demo by Noel Cunningham (Strings) and Michael Ditchfield (Jing), using recipes from their new book "A Cook & A Chef"

Music: Eric Moon, piano; Lionel Young, violin; Mike Fitzmaurice, bass

Sponsors: Rick Lang; Susan Noble, Coldwell Banker Devonshire; Sub-Zero/Wolfe Showroom by Roth Distributing; The Vineyard Wine Shop; Wynkoop, LLC

Attendance: 150

Attire: Business formal

Information:; 720-570-9333

Event Coordinator: Christine Jones, development director

Board of Directors: Susan Noble, president; Teresa Kerrigan, vice-president/secretary; Jeff Ehlinger, treasurer; Stockton Baker; Ann Cooper; Jeff Keil; Rick Lang; Nathan Moore; Sarah Stoneking; Debora Judish, executive director

Steering Committee: Board members Jeff Keil, Rick Lang and Nathan Moore

Blacktie Photos by: Lisa Perry

 Michael Ditchfield (Jing), FACES executive director Debora Judish and Noel Cunningham (Strings)
Michael Ditchfield (Jing), FACES executive director Debora Judish and Noel Cunningham (Strings)

Billed as a winetasting event, Grapes Against Wrath could have stood alone as a fun vino sampler with silent auction. But FACES (Family Advocacy, Care, Education, Support) party-planners went a dozen steps further, adding appearances and delectable sampling from a veritable Who’s Who of Denver chefs. The icing on the event cake was an enlightening (and hilarious) hour-long cooking demo by Michael Ditchfield, co-owner of Jing, and Noel Cunningham, of Strings and 240 Union fame. The two philanthropists stirred the pot with seafood and soufflé recipes from their book A Cook & A Chef. But their antics also had guests asking: When can we see all that on a culinary network TV show?

Stylish, cutting-edge kitchens make Roth Distributing the ideal venue for a casually upscale food-and-wine strolling eventthe group of stellar Denver chefs sampling their goods had the opportunity to prep, cook and plate an array of enticements before 150 guests’ eyes. Panzano’s Elise Wiggins created tortellini with pork, beef and three cheeses; Daniel Asher, of Root Down, prepared duck wings with blood-oranges and buffalo sauce of crème fraiche and pickled fennel; Blake Edmunds served confit chicken sliders with lentils and bleu-cheese cole slaw; Tyler Wiard, of Elway’s Cherry Creek, offered a pork carnita taco with green chile-bacon slaw and heirloom-tomato salsa; and Michael Bortz put together an array of decadent baked goods, topped off with a gorgeous chocolate bombe.

The Vineyard Wine Shop provided an array of intriguing samples that had both wine aficionados and casual fans visiting the beverage station continually. Partygoers also had the chance to bid on a spectrum of silent-auction items while musicians Eric MoonLionel Young and Mike Fitzmaurice entertained throughout the evening. The purpose of the event wasn't forgotten: to support FACES and its mission to prevent child abuse, neglect and family violence. The organization's vision is of a non-violent community, created one family at a time. 

Since 1974, FACES has been providing prevention services to families with young children and infants living in the metro Denver area with a home visitation program and family counseling, in addition to parenting education on nuturing and attachment; positive parent-child relationships; children's social and emotional development; knowledge of child and youth development; and parent resilience. Counselors assist parents in accessing concrete services, building supportive relationships with family, friends and neighbors, and stabilizing their family to increase opportunities to achieve econmic self-suffiency.

The cost of providing an eight-month FACES home visitation counseling services to one family is nearly $3,000. While 45 percent of that cost is generated from contracts with other providers, the remaining $1,600 must come from th contributions of corporations, individuals and foundations. FACES keeps administrative costs low, directing 87 percent of each dollar to its programs. For more information, visit

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