Family Service Agency Hosts ‘Delicious’ Fundraiser Featuring Leading Local Chefs, Celebrity Judges

Event to highlight agency’s relevancy and showcase culinary competition

If you’re a foodie, you won’t want to miss the 4th Annual Cooking Up Dreams. Local celebrities and culinary aficionados taste masterful creations and vote for their favorite chef at the event on Saturday, April 7, 2018 from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Carriage and Western Art Museum in Santa Barbara. Proceeds will benefit Family Service Agency (FSA) programs for underserved children, families, and seniors in Santa Barbara County including those affected by the Thomas Fire and debris flows.

“Cooking Up Dreams is a unique fundraising event featuring a culinary competition between leading local chefs,” explained Event Chair, Marni Cooney. “Celebrity judges and over 300 guests will select the People’s Choice and Judges’ Awards. This year we have added runner-up awards in each category.”

Guests will also enjoy complimentary wine (provided by Touring & Tasting of Santa Barbara), music by DJ Scott Topper, silent and live auction, a premium photo booth experience by RUMOR Photo Media, and much more.

Chefs participating in the event represent culinary experts from Carpinteria to Buellton. They include winners and favorites from last year as well as a few first-timers!  

  • Students from Carpinteria High School Culinary Arts Academy (providing desserts)
  • Chef Leticia Mendoza from Casa Blanca Restaurant
  • 2017 Cooking Up Dreams Judges’ Choice Award-winning Chef, Peter McNee from Convivo
  • Chef James Saio from Finch & Fork and Outpost at the Goodland
  • Chef Steven Snook from First & Oak at the Mirabelle Hotel
  • Owner and Chef Jeff Olsson from Industrial Eats (NEW!)
  • Chef Eric Widmer from La Cumbre Country Club (NEW!)
  • Chef Weston Richards from Les Marchands Wine Bar & Merchant
  • Chef Renaud Gontheir of Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro
  • Chef and Co-Owner, Tyler Peek of Sama Sama Kitchen (NEW!)
  • 2017 Cooking Up Dreams People’s Choice Winner Chef Jesus Charco, Santa Barbara FisHouse

“We’re excited to welcome new chef participants in this competition who represent establishments from Carpinteria to Buellton,” said Cooney.

Judges for the event include Joey Buttitta, anchor for KEYT; Krista Harris, publisher, Edible Santa Barbara; Emily Nordee, food industry marketing executive and blogger; and Honorary Chair, Pascale Beale, a local cookbook author.

“Our ability to adapt and change as our community changes, has been a hallmark of our organization. Today, we ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community have access to basic needs, parent education, behavioral health services, and youth mentoring,” said Executive Director, Lisa Brabo.

“Because of the generosity of our community, most of our services are provided free of charge.”

FSA has also been hard at work responding to the recent natural disasters by counseling students at impacted schools, providing basic needs support to displaced workers and their families, helping relocate long-term care residents, and providing group and individual counseling services.

“Now more than ever, FSA services are needed,” said Cooney, also a member of the agency’s Board of Directors. “We hope the public will come out and support our efforts to contribute to the well-being of our community.”

Sponsors of the event include Union Bank, Les and Zora Charles, SMI Concepts, Jill and John Bishop, Tania and John Burke, Marni and Michael Cooney, Shirley Ann and Jim Hurley, Carole MacElhenny, Felici Events, Tisha Ford, Sandy and Dave Nordahl, Montecito Bank & Trust, Susan and Robert Manning, Mary and Jim Morouse, Maryan Schall, Jane and Fred Sweeney, Rumor Photo Media, Bergquist Wang LLC, Tim and Ginny Bliss, Boone Printing, Liz and Andrew Butcher, Coast Village Chevron Wine Grotto, Santa Barbara City College Foundation, Fred and Linda Gluck, Michael Hardwick, Jim and Chana Jackson, Craig and Tricia Price, Price, Postel & Parma LLC, Jon and Elen Vanderhoof, Ventura Rental Party Center, Stephanie Wilson and Dr. Ron Ungerer, and The Habit Burger Grill.

To learn more about the event, purchase tickets or to become a sponsor with reserved seating, please visit www.cookingupdreams.org/.

Family Service Agency (FSA) is a nonprofit social service organization that has served Santa Barbara County since 1899, continually improving the health and well-being of more than 13,000 of our community’s most vulnerable children, families and seniors through its transformative and essential programs: Big Brothers Big Sisters, Senior Services, Family Support Services, Youth & Family Behavioral Health, Youth Drug & Alcohol Treatment, and School Counseling. All services are provided free or on a sliding fee/donation scale and no one is denied assistance because of an inability to pay. Visit fsacares.org or call (805) 965-1001 for more information.

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