Guests dined on everything from scallop ceviche with fennel to specialty meatballs as more than 40 restaurants, caterers, and beverage merchants showcased their best and most creative dishes at the 8th annual A Tasteful Experience fundraiser on Monday, Nov.12, held at the Pleasantdale Chateau to benefit the Child Life Program at Clara Maass Medical Center.
The evening event raised over $60,000 to benefit children receiving medical treatment at Clara Maass Medical Center.
“We were so delighted at the wonderful community support and response to A Tasteful Experience,” said Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D, President and CEO of Clara Maass Medical Center. “Our medical center treats thousands of children and supports their families through that process. These funds are critical in helping them receive the best experience possible through the Child Life Program.”
The event was sponsored by Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation and money raised for the Child Life Program will support children and their families through tests, procedures, treatment and recovery during chronic, or acute illnesses, treatment and recovery. The program provides therapeutic, educational and recreational activities for each patient.
The Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to generating philanthropic support for the facilities, programs and services of Clara Maass Medical Center, a non-sectarian, 465-bed hospital in the Barnabas Health Organization. Clara Maass Medical Center serves Essex, Hudson and Bergen Counties.
“What a wonderful evening filled with great food and made possible by the overwhelming support from our physicians and donors,” said Jane Kessler, Vice President of Clara Maass Medical Center Foundation. “This extraordinary evening was made even more special because it supports the important mission of the medical center’s Child Life Program.”
Participants in A Tasteful Experience had the opportunity to purchase a $50 raffle ticket to win a new mini-Cooper. The drawing will take place on Dec. 11.
At the event, top chefs from the area showed off their culinary talents – including Chef Ryan DePersio of Fascino, Bar Cara and Nico Kitchen + Bar. Among his offerings were a pumpkin mezzaluna ravioli in sage brown butter topped with pumpkin seeds bathed in cinnamon. Fascino is located in Montclair, Bar Cara in Bloomfield and Nico Kitchen + Bar in Newark.
Ariane Duarte of CulinAriane of Montclair, a former contestant on Top Chef, offered a marinated pork taquito made with homemade tortillas, that was garnished with pickled onions, tomatoes, queso fresco and avocado cream.
Each table seemed to outdo the next as diners nibbled on everything from roast porketta with a delicata squash puree and miso apple sauce, prepared by Pig & Prince in Montclair to spiced smoked salmon garnished with fried capers and pickled onions by Upstairs in Montclair.
“It’s been delicious,” said Melissa Wallace, who attended the event with her husband, Dr. Derrick Wallace, an otolaryngologist. Her husband agreed. “It’s great, everybody should come.”
The evening wasn’t limited to delicious food. R & R Marketing of West Caldwell, treated VIPs to Ketel One Vodka chilled inside an ice sculpture, while craft beer enthusiasts sampled ales from the Hunterdon Brewing Company of Phillipsburg. Amanti Vino of Montclair had a rich selection of domestic and imported wine for guests to sample to accompany the array of cuisine.
“We always have a good time here,” said Dr. Edwin A. Gangemi of Jersey Rehab, who raved about an Ethiopian-styled beef dish called Minchet Abish Kay Wet prepared by the chefs at Mesob in Montclair.
The evening’s gourmet cuisine was provided by restaurants from Montclair, Bloomfield, Belleville, West Orange, Little Falls and Verona.
When guests weren’t sampling the selection of restaurant fare, they had a chance to see the DaVinci surgical robot in action. The robot, which was recently acquired by Clara Maass Medical Center, allows surgeons to perform certain surgeries in an effective and minimally-invasive manner. Clara Maass Medical Center Surgeons will begin using the state-of-the-art surgical technology in scheduled surgeries this month.