The Center for Enriched Living (CEL) will host Chef’s Night on Monday, May 7 at Lincolnshire Marriott Resort, featuring 30 area chefs who will donate signature dishes to benefit people with developmental disabilities.
Based in Riverwoods, the CEL is celebrating 50 years of providing social, recreational, enrichment, and employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD).
Chef’s Night attendees will have the opportunity to see the CEL members shine, as they will be participating in everything from cooking to entertainment.
Headliner Christine Honeywell will showcase her vocal talents to kick-off the program portion of the evening. Honeywell has been a member of the REACH Adult Day Program since 2015 and a member of CEL’s Employment Program since 2016.
“Christine has been singing at events in her area for quite some time and has been sharing her talent at CEL events for the past few years,” said April L. Booze, marketing communications manager.
The focus of the evening will be on the employment program and member Liz Starshak will be the keynote speaker. Booze explained that employers wouldn’t hire Starshak for three reasons: lack of experience, too many gaps on her application, and no consistent transportation.
But that all changed when Starshak visited CEL.
“When CEL’s Employment Opportunities Program started, Liz worked with our employment specialist and found a job at CEL as our part-time receptionist,” said Booze.
Starshak was one of the first clients in the employment program and she’ll be speaking at Chef’s Night along with one of CEL’s board members.
Booze shared another member’s success story:
Arthur Haapoja wanted a job in the community that would provide him with not only a paycheck, but a sense of belonging. Though the local Panera Bread was hiring, he was very shy and unsure about how to go about applying. But he didn’t give up.
“Working with CEL’s employment opportunities manager, Arthur was able to put together a resume highlighting his skills, build up the confidence to go to the interview, and get the job,” said Booze.
Members from the center will have their own booth at Chef’s Night where they will prepare Barilla Mezze Penne Elote pasta salad. Booze said Chef Yury and Chef Tim from Barilla taught the members their recipe a few weeks ago. Last year they served tortellini caprese skewers.
“Our members are right out there with everyone else as part of the community,” said Booze.
Another Chef’s Night main attraction will be firefighters from the Deerfield- Bannockburn Firehouse who will be making their famous chili verde pork nachos.
“We have a wonderful partnership with the Deerfield-Bannockburn Fire Department,” said Booze. “We hold training with the actual first responders to help them understand how to approach situations where people with developmental disabilities may be involved.” The firefighters also offer tours of the firehouse for interested members and their cooking is an added bonus.
Some of the other tempting tastings will include: Wildfire’s (Lincolnshire) special chopped salad, Chicago Culinary Kitchen (Palatine) will be going whole hog and sweet treats from Bent Fork Bakery (Highwood).
New participants this year will include: Countyline Tavern (Buffalo Grove) Seasons 52 (Schaumburg) Shakou Restaurants (Libertyville) and Toasty Cheese Restaurant Group (Schaumburg).
Below is a list of additional participating restaurants:
- Big Bowl Restaurant (Lincolnshire)
- Buca di Beppo (Wheeling)
- The Claim Company Bar & Grill (Northbrook)
- Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant (Wheeling)
- Enzo & Lucia Restaurant (Long Grove)
- FEW Spirits (Evanston)
- Fine’s Catering & Concessions (Libertyville)
- Froggy’s French Café (Highwood)
- Gourmet Frog Bakery (Highwood)
- Half Day Brewing Co. (Lincolnshire)
- Highland Pop, LTD (Highland Park)
- KOVAL Distillery (Chicago)
- Longitud315 (Highwood)
- Marigold Maison Indian Cuisine (Lincolnshire)
- P.F. Chang’s (Northbrook)
- Revolution Brewing (Chicago)
- Sunset Foods (Highland Park)
- Three Tarts Bakery (Northfield)
- Tighthead Brewing Co. (Mundelein)
- Vice District Brewing (Chicago)
There will be a live auction with a lot of exciting items and at the end of the evening a car valued at $30,000 will be raffled off.
Booze said last year $615,000 was raised from Chef’s Night, the live auction and car raffle.
“My favorite thing about the event is that it provides an opportunity for the community to see everything our members do to be a part of the entire community and it happens over food which is how we connect on a regular basis with our friends and family,” said Booze. “It’s a really fun evening with a lot of great people involved.”
Chef’s Night will be held on Monday, May 7 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Grand Marquee Pavilion, Lincolnshire Marriot Resort. Ticket sales will be available through 9 a.m. Monday, May 7, online at www.CenterForEnrichedLiving.org/Events/Chefs-Night .