Parties: Appetite For Altruism

By Catherine Bigelow | Photography by Drew Altizer

Top toques (150 chefs and staff ) and five-star vintners (152 cases of vino from 76 wineries) sated palates — by plating 2,500 entrees — for 500 guests on May 15 at the Star Chefs & Vintners Gala at the Festival Pavilion in Fort Mason Center.

The 35th edition of the fete raised $3.2 million for homebound seniors who rely upon the social programs — including nutritional food deliveries, wellness visits and even minor home repairs — developed by Meals on Wheels San Francisco.

Led by MOWSF board president Rosemary Wong and new gala hospitality chair Umberto Gibin, co-owner of Perbacco, the evening also paid tribute to Boulevard chef and owner Nancy Oakes. For the last 30 years, Oakes volunteered as gala chef chairwoman — corralling hot-shot chefs and overseeing the massive makeshift restaurant. Oakes is devoted to MOWSF’s mission of supporting seniors and over the course of her tenure has helped the organization raise some $30 million.

“During the past two years of the pandemic, we saw a 25 percent increase among adults, 60 and older, apply for assistance,” noted MOWSF executive director and CEO Ashley McCumber. “In 2021, we prepared and delivered 2.3 million meals to more than 18,000 people — including seniors and adults with disabilities. That total includes our partnership with the City, assisting the nutritional needs of individuals and families impacted by COVID quarantine.”

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