Quail Valley Charities supporters and representatives from its 30-plus beneficiary organizations gathered at the Quail Valley River Club Saturday evening for the 18th annual Quail Valley Charity Cup Grand Gala Cocktail Buffet, concluding another hugely successful fundraising effort and giving everyone a chance to reminisce, enjoy outstanding food and celebrate a job well done.
Smiles radiated from all involved, even as they continuously worked to ensure the gala went off without a hitch: Quail Valley owner Kathy Mulvey, COO/partner Kevin Given, Quail Valley Charities executive director Martha Redner, committee chair Wanda Lincoln and vice chair Trudie Rainone. Quail’s uber efficient leadership team was right there beside them: Chef Joe Faria, Sam Garcia, Chris Gibbon, Tabetha Gottfried, Amy Haase, Don Meadows, Anne Patrick, Kenny Porazzo and Kristen Redner.
“This year we have a record number of team members (QVC staff) participating in a lot of our events, and they’ve also contributed financially as well. It really illustrates the impact that we’re making internally, that actually goes externally,” said Given. He said many staff members also volunteer with the beneficiary nonprofits, adding “it really shows how proud they are to be affiliated with an organization like Quail Valley and Quail Valley Charities.”
He noted that the number of residents, participating businesses and volunteers continues to increase. “Our members have been extremely supportive of us; allowing us to grow this over a 10-day period, as well as periodic events throughout the year.”
Given noted that the organization was now in its 18th year, adding that by the end of 2019, they had crossed the $7 million mark in distributions. They were hoping to raise upwards of $700,000 this year, to donate to nonprofit organizations’ programs that focus on children and education, and to staff scholarships.
“I just want to thank you from our entire organization,” said Given to guests at the Chef & Wine Dinner. “Kathy Mulvey and I really appreciate the enthusiasm that each of you demonstrates each year.”
Fundraising activities for the charity have grown from the initial two-day golf tournament in 2001 to a multi-event affair that this year included a tower shoot at Blackwater Creek Ranch, a 5K and Fun Run, brunch wine tasting, gourmet chef and wine dinner, and tournaments in duplicate bridge, Mahjong, tennis and golf.
New this year was a ‘roast’ of Chef Joe coordinated by Tamesha Hamilton, a graduate of the IRSC culinary program who now works at Quail, to raise money for a Culinary Scholarship fund.
“Tamesha knocked it out of the park,” said Given.
Monday evening, 125 guests dined at a chef- and child-themed Gourmet Guest Chef & Wine Dinner; an event so popular that tickets sell out within minutes. Chefs included colleagues from Faria’s past – Phillip Brown, who he worked with at the Ritz Carton, and Dennis Dale, who Faria reported to “back in the day.”
They were joined by QVC Chefs Erik Poffinbarger and Ted Faulkner, as well as four little girls, ranging in age from 7 to 11: Liza and Sadie Guettler, Mia Maldonado and Chandler Higdon.
“You have that fear, but then you also have that smile that comes with the interacting,” said Faria of the children’s participation. “We just want them to be part of it.”
And, while the youngsters weren’t as interested in most of the sophisticated menu’s courses, they all counted carefully to ensure they’d be saved a Baked Alaska Surprise, a lush concoction served atop individual ice blocks lit from beneath.
At Saturday’s Gala, buffets set up inside and outside offered what Faria said was a Taste of the Nations, featuring chefs with signature dishes from various countries: United States, Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, Columbia, Portugal, Britain and Kenya.
“I gave them a challenge; they had to do three items,” said Faria – two grab-and-go items and an action station, to encourage guest interaction.
Finishing off the meal, Frostings once again provided a deliciously elaborate dessert station.
Bidding was also fast and furious for a large selection of auction items artfully displayed in the club’s lobby, and guests purchased last-minute Ritzy Chances raffle tickets in hopes of winning coveted goodies.