One-hundred lucky diners attended a feast of a fundraiser at the Vine Martini and Wine Bar in Grayslake on Oct. 20 in the name of fighting hunger.
The first annual "Dinner for the Cause" event raised $10,000 for the Northern Illinois Food Bank, which equates to 60,000 meals for the less fortunate.
"I can personally say that's what the evening was truly about and I was touched," said Vine owner Mike Pruitt.
Diners paid $100 per ticket to savor a 7-course meal prepared by Grayslake resident Chris Jones, who was a contestant on Bravo TV's Top Chef.
"It was a night that we planned to be fun and different. It turned out to be fun and amazing," said Pruitt.
The 7-course meal included "Wild Mushroom Forest;" "Beet Salad with White Truffle Oil, Goat Cheese and Carbonated Clementines;" "Smoked Pork Confit with Parsnip Puree;" and "Donut Soup with mberry and Nitro Shattered Raspberries."
Everyone also went home with a bag of edible chili "packaging peanuts."
"I think the crowd was a little nervous to expect at first, especially when seeing the hand-drawn menus by Brendon Egan on each table," said Pruitt. We kept the menu a secret and throughout the night slowly revealed each piece. It was just amazing."
Pruitt praised his staff, saying they "didn't miss a beat."
"Everything from the wine and food came out perfectly in sync. If I could describe the night it was a whimsical orchestra conducted by Chris Jones that left the crowd wanting more."
"Between Chris Jones, myself, my Head Chef Steven Anderson, and my Front of the House Manager Samantha Hinners, this was the biggest service that every single one of us have ever done and we were more then happy with how it was pulled off," said Pruitt.
The Northern Illinois Food Bank was very happy, too.
For every dollar donated, the food bank can provide six meals, meaning the $10,000 in proceeds from this fundraiser equates to 60,000 meals, said Tiffany King, Development Officer Special Events for the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
"We were honored to be chosen as the beneficiary and look forward to working with Michael, The Vine and hopefully Chris Jones again in the future."
The Northern Illinois Food Bank provided more 5 million meals for hungry Lake County residents last year, said King.
"What we do would not be possible without the help of people like Mike, Chris and their teams."
Pruitt said the event will return next year.
The Vine wishes to "give a big thank you" to the GLMV Jaycees, Entwined of Grayslake, MOTO of Chicago, Heritage Wines, mberry, US Foods and Kathryn Rudolph Photography.
Top Chef Spearheads Dinner for the Cause
Information submitted by Mike Pruitt, owner of the Vine Martini and Wine Bar. Photos courtesy of Kathryn Rudolph Photography.