1971 marked the launch of Apollo 14, Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Magazine, Intel’s microprocessor, a small coffee shop in Seattle called Starbucks, and a new theme park in Orlando, Disney World.
1971 also marked the inaugural Cooks’ Tour, the signature event of The Auxiliary of the Woman’s Board of Rush University Medical Center. At the time, The Auxiliary president is quoted as saying, “A Cooks’ Tour is the beginning of a great tradition to benefit a great medical center.”
On September 22, this tradition continues with the event’s 50th anniversary. This year’s event—Cooks’ Tour Al Fresco—features a fresh focus on three outdoor properties, with spectacular kitchens and outdoor living spaces.
“Outdoor living trends are about elevating garden and back yard spaces, with smart technology and structures that extend outdoor living. This year, we’re showcasing luxurious and welcoming spaces including phenomenal outdoor kitchens, edible gardens, beautiful furniture, as well as structures for privacy, shade, and shelter—even a show-stopping, one-of-a-kind pool house,” says Tina Tedeschi, an event co-chair.
According to Co-Chair Jan Evans, “Given the realities of this last year, our goal was to plan a Cooks’ Tour designed to deliver an experience with an innovative approach to what has been an exceptional legacy event for so many years. They say it takes a village and, in this case, that’s very true. We expect to host hundreds of guests and that requires the effort of gracious and generous homeowners, sponsors, vendors, and our full board of nearly 70 women.” With preparations underway a year in advance, the dynamic event—the group’s sole fundraiser of the year—will also feature live demonstrations at each home, all related to living and entertaining outside.
Highlights also include an invitation for guests to shop the Cooks’ Tour Al Fresco Market, new this year, in the courtyard of the Winnetka Community House. Unique home, tabletop and gift, as well as lifestyle items, are available for purchase, with vendors including Arch, B’s Gourmet Nuts, Dina’s Home, Fletcher & Fork, French Papers, Mandarine, MERINDA STUDIO, share & shack, Lee’s Antiques, MF Kookies, J&L Tweed, and Village Farmstand.
The event ticket includes a boxed lunch, also available in the courtyard of the Winnetka Community House, provided by Fresh Midwest, with dessert donated by MF Kookies.
A long-time feature of the Cooks’ Tour, raffle prizes include Chalet Nursery’s expertly designed seasonal planters, a Peloton Bike, a luxury prize including a Gucci wallet, gift cards from Winnetka boutiques, Christian Dior friendship bracelets, and a piece from Jewelry designer Lisa Roberts.
Event proceeds this year will benefit The Woman’s Board Fund for Precision Oncology Research, ultimately helping guide oncologists’ selection of the most effective treatment. The support will scale and accelerate this research, positioning Rush investigators among a small handful of research groups in the country and one of the most well-equipped to translate scientific findings into patient care.
“Our entire board is energized by our support of the truly groundbreaking work of Rush University Medical Center,” says Jeanne McAtamney.
Heather Pigott continues, “By working together, we can and will make a difference in oncology research.” In addition to organizing the Cooks’ Tour, The Winnetka Auxiliary sponsors the Junior Auxiliary, comprised of high school students from the North Shore who plan and execute annual fundraisers including a Car Wash, Holiday Tea, and Fashion Show. All proceeds benefit Rush University Medical Center.
Dating back to 1884, the Woman’s Board for Rush University Medical Center is one of the country’s oldest hospital boards. In 1945, several members of the Chicago Woman’s Board organized an Auxiliary Board in their hometown of Winnetka. Their goal was and remains the same—supporting the Rush University Medical Center.
For tickets, available only online, to the September 22 event, visit nscookstour.org.