PRESS & MEDIA
The Illumination Foundation, which goes by IF, is driven by this question, "What would you do if you found yourself broke and homeless?"
Founded in 2008 by philanthropic Orange County residents associated with UC Irvine, principally by Paul Leon and Paul Cho, the organization's mission is to provide services for Orange County families who live in a car or perhaps a motel while they can afford it.
On March 15, Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and Spa opened its ballroom for IFs 2015 dinner gala, billed as Table For 10. The massive undertaking was a Sunday evening extravaganza featuring top chefs and restaurateurs of Orange County hosting tables of 10 donors at mini-restaurants within the ballroom.
Because of so many moving parts, it is impossible to convey the complexity of the evening. Suffice to say, the patrons, numbering more than 300, had the time of their lives being treated to amazing gourmet dinners with wine pairings, incomparable service and attention to detail.
Each chef prepared a five-course meal next to a table decorated in a style reflecting that of his restaurant. Every table was a work of art, featuring carefully selected china, crystal, table linens, floral arrangements, illumination and even chairs.
By the end of the evening, Table For 10 had raised $580,000, which is earmarked for the construction of IF's Oak Street Emergency House. The shelter is being built as a temporary facility for families with young children while IF's counselors find them more permanent housing.
The success of the evening is largely owed to the sponsorship of Newport Beach based Pimco and the generosity of Wells Fargo and the Disneyland Resort. The costs of the dinner were absorbed by the chefs and their restaurants. An anonymous donor matched the $185,000 raised during the Fund A Need portion of the evening.
VIPs in the crowd included Mary Niven, IF board chair and Disneyland Park vice president. IF board Vice Chairman Alan Epperson was on hand with Noel and Kathy Hamilton, who were representing Wells Fargo. Kristen Epperson chaired the massive wine auction, while foundation members, including Walt Lynch, Howard Mirowitz, Tony Rotundo, Jack Toan, Scott Kelly and Aiko Tan, helped to raise the financial bar.
The evening began with a cocktail reception created by chefs Adam Navidi and Steve Buckhorn from a restaurant called Oceans & Earth in Yorba Linda.
The list of participating chefs is long. A few of the standouts include Vincent Lesage from Waterline at the Balboa Bay Resort, Antonio Cagnolo from Antonello, Andrew Sutton from Napa Rose, Umberto Rubelli from Naples Ristorante, Pascal Olhat from Pascal & Café Yardin, and Stephen Kling from Five Crowns.
Guests at Kling's Five Crowns' table were seated at a chic setting designed in black and white with red accents. Table centerpieces were miniature re-creations of the iconic red English telephone booths that are part of the whimsy of the Five Crowns décor in Corona del Mar.
Seated at the Five Crowns' table were very special guests of the evening, including IF co-founder Cho and his wife, June Cho; Nicole and Keith Hall; Paul Hodgins; Ginny Ripslinger; food editor for the Orange County Register, Anne Valdespino; and architect Kevin Crook and his wife, Susan.
Crook is the designer responsible for the rebuilding of IF's Oak Street Emergency Housing project. Chef Kling and staff began the dinner with an amuse of spot prawn tartar served with a 2013 Justin Sauvignon Blanc. A first course of duck meatballs in marrow broth with bok choy and bird chili was followed by a second course of fregula presented on Brussels sprout leaves and Maitaki mushrooms with a dash of pecorino cream. A 2012 Landmark Overlook Pinot accompanied the course.
Following an intermezzo of oro blanco sorbet [grapefruit], chef Kling served the Five Crowns' gold standard prime ribeye cap accompanied by a 2011 Justin Savant. For dessert, chocolate mousse, banana ice cream and a little something crunchy on the top.
An impressive roster of corporate support made the evening possible. This support has also been a mainstay of the Illumination Foundation, enabling it to grow in only a few short years. Some of the prominent sponsors joining Pimco, Wells Fargo and Disneyland include Union Bank, Southern California Edison, Allergan, Fluor, Lennar, St. Joseph Health System, Bank of the West, Pacific Life Foundation, Kaiser Permanente, and the Sisters of St. Joseph's Health Foundation.
Spotted in the lively crowd were Julie Salsbery dining at the Club 33 table; Paul Short enjoying the cuisine of Ten Asian Bistro; Eileen Simon celebrating with Zov's; and Art Stenmo joining co-founder Leon at the Manassero Farms table. Rick and Cathy Svoboda joined the Haynes family at Little Sparrow; Fred and Florence Tatakura were among the Wells Fargo guests partaking of the cuisine of Paul Martin; and Bill and Denice Wetzel joined guests from Guaranty Chevrolet dining with Bambu Fairmount.
2013 Mar: Table for 10/Disney
2013: Riviera Magazine
2013: Riviera Magazine
2012 May: OC Business Journal
2012: Daily Pilot
2010 Feb: OC Magazine
Scene in OC - 1
Scene in OC - 2
Trace3 Culinary Masters
Meet the Chefs
Trace3/Table for 10
2010: Culinary Masters
2007: Newport Beach Magazine
OCInsite.com / Table for 10 Event
Dining Out / OC & Long Beach
IF Chef Breakfast
2014 Mar: OC Magazine
2014: Illumination Foundation
2014 Apr: OC Magazine
2015 Unique Culinary Event
2015 Charity & Social Datebook
2015 Apr: Newport Beach Indy
2015 Apr: Daily Pilot
2015 Dec: Local Magazine
2016 Jan: Laguna Beach Indy
2016: Newport Beach Lifestyle
2016: Philanthropy Magazine
2016 Mar: Newport Beach Indy
2016 Mar: Dining Out Magazine
2016: Newport Beach Lifestyle
2016: Laguna Beach Magazine
Balboa Bay Resort 2016 Summer
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