Chefs’ Dinner for PAWS 2013

A new venue was a great success for this foodie favorite benefiting our four-footed friends.

The 9th Annual Chefs’ Dinner for PAWS fed 600 hungry and happy diners at a new location, Lincoln Financial Field in South Philly, on Monday, June 24th. The popular event, whose proceeds this year will benefit the construction of the Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society’s second adoption center and a new Northeast Philly clinic, had been held at the Union League for the past three years, but the UL is currently finishing up extensive renovations of its kitchen and ballroom (which opens on June 27th). Pictured: Barbara Spiro Ryan, PAWS founder Dana Spain, and Lin Snider.

Below: Master of ceremonies for the evening was celebrity chef Brian Duffy (Bar Rescue), here with Christie Honigman and Marilyn Kellmer.

Below: Everyone admired the outfits that Denise Shardlow and Glenn Kohler were wearing — Shardlow’s own eco-friendly bamboo clothing. Very stylish. The duo, who have several pets themselves, were happy to be supporting PAWS for the second year in a row.

During the cocktail hour, several restaurants, including Smokin’ Betty’s and Devil’s Alley (did you know they are owned by the same people?), offered light fare for guests to enjoy. Below: Chef Artt Ward (Smokin Betty’s) made a Cowhow Cookie, and chef Brian Fidiam (Devil’s Alley) created a crabcake slider.

Below: Joan and Bernie Spain with Joan Pileggi. Mrs. Spain donated several of her favorite bags, including a Judith Leiber, for the auction. Bernie tells me they are glad to support Dana’s wonderful organization — and since the donation barely made a dent in Joan’s collection, he doesn’t have to worry about her having to go out and buy replacements.

Below: Brent Celek, Ben Haney of Mac’s Tavern, and Ron and Dana Donatucci. The last time I saw this foursome, we were all having dinner at Celek’s restaurant, Prime Stache (110 Chestnut Street). He told me he’ll be rolling out his Prime Stache food truck in two weeks. Next up for Celek: Eagles training camp beginning on July 25 and a collaborative dinner with Han Dynasty, his restaurant’s neighbor in Old City.

Below: Stephen Frishberg, Esq., gives the thumbs-up to Matthew Rafferty, the GM of Square 1682, for chef de cuisine Caitlin Mateo’s delicious Berkshire pork tenderloins. BYOD is back at Square 1682!  Mateo and her team have prepared a variety of delectable dishes for everyone’s furry companion. There are five items on the menu, including Calie’s Stew (with braised pork, grits, green beans, bacon, and gravy) and Yodi’s Snacks (the chef’s homemade peanut butter biscuits). Each dish is only $5, and for every sale $1 is donated to PAWS.

Below: Christopher Wolfington, Lauren Anderson, and Wayne Schuh were heading for dinner at the Opa restaurant table with chef James Wells. Each restaurant cooks dinner in front of the guests on an electric stove, similar to what most people have in their kitchens.

Below: Pinkie Hamilton-Levy and Steve Levy are happy to be back again to support the new facilities PAWS is building.

Below: Ashley Fagen, Toni Crawford-Major, Patricia Clifford, Mariska Bogle, Kecia Babb Jordon, Phoebe Coles, and Kanita Looby were excited for thier dinner at the Capital Grille’s table.

Below: Palm chef Andrew Pearce and executive chef John Reynolds are happy to hear that guest Bill Kelly is enjoying Lobster Cappucino. Reynolds became the new executive chef after chef Mona A. James left to work at The Palm in New York City at the end of May.

Below: Executive chef Christopher Lee of Sophia’s told me that cooking on the stove top at the Linc reminded him of cooking at his grandmother’s, where they created great meals together.

Below: Each restaurant creates its own ambiance with decor. Some are spectacular, others not so much. This year I was really impressed with the table settings at Sophia’s — classy, simple, and colorful.

Below: The Serrano restaurant team (executive chef Gina Rodriguez with owners Jennifer McCoy and Donal McCoy) were excited to be participating for the first time. Tonight’s dinner included scallops, which is my favorite dish at Serrano.

Below: Davio’s GM Ettore Ceraso explains the wine selection to the guests. They did a spectacular job at setting the rustic, woodsy feel of their “restaurant.” Ettore tells me that on his way to work he was inspired by the decorative trees on his property. He brought his yard to us by chopping off branches of beautiful leaves, much to the dismay of his wife.

Below: Davio’s interim executive chef Chad Brown creates a steak dinner with pasta. Brown is training at Davio’s Philly, but come fall will be helming the kitchen at the new Davio’s in Manhattan at 44th and Lexington Avenue. Ettore tells me they are looking locally for a chef to take over the Philadelphia Davio’s, so if you know someone, send him or her Ettore’s way.

Below: Beth Shak and her daughter Lindy Schwartz enjoyed dinner at La Calaca Feliz with chef Tim Spinner.

Below: These ladies loved their meal by chef Shane Cash of Rat’s in Hamilton, N.J.: Nancy Hovnanian, Ana Endrigian, Cissy DerHagopian, Theresa Hovnanian, Danielle Gureghian, and Tina Toscanian.

Below: Chef Mona of It’s A Cupcake – Sweet & Savory. I love her cupcakes, and you have got to try the savory ones: bagels and lox, and the buffalo chicken cupcakes — so different and tasty.

Before I knew it the dinner was over and the party was just begining, as the chefs, sponsors, and volunteers headed to the after-party at “Stratus Lounge,” which was recreated at the Linc. Dana tells me: “We raised about $350,000. Shy of our goal, but not too shabby! Our new location will help thousands of animals. Thank you to everyone who participated!!” Below: Chef/owner of Paradiso Corey BaverTim Maureo of The 1862 Restaurant by Martin Hamann at the Union League (1862), executive chef Martin Hamann of 1862, Dana Spain, chef Jean-Marie Lacroix of Brûlée Catering, Don Irwin, Jean Claude Jacquot, 1862 GM & sommelier, sous chef Denny Santiago, 1862 and Michael Balloni.