Column: The Crowd: Table for Ten entertains and delivers signature dishes at charity chef event

If you happen to be a “foodie,” as the term implies or a lover of fine wine — I guess “winey” or “wineo” would be the incorrect term — then you just missed the gastronomical event of the season in O.C.

The 12th annual Table for Ten, benefiting two charities the Teen Project and Vocational Visions, entertained a crowd of more than 300 donors in a manner that in Roman times might be termed “Bacchanalian.”

In 2018, however, the guests did dine with their clothes on.

All stops were pulled. KM Productions produced the dining extravaganza in the ballroom of Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in conjunction with host chef Salvatore Guiliano, Balboa Bay Resort chef Rachel Haggstrom and title sponsor Mike Danzi.

The core idea for the event and a major reason for its success is just that. Anything was possible, and many participants went way beyond. Creativity was king. You might even describe the dinner event as a culinary competition.

Here’s why: Participating restaurants in O.C. donate their time, talent and treasure creating an over-the-top dining experience for a table for 10. So, there’s the name of the event. In recent years O.C. has become a mecca for creative dining attracting celebrity chefs and restaurateurs with “outside of the box” concepts of food, décor, and overall lifestyle. To the credit of the event organizers, the roster of participating O.C. chefs and their home base restaurants is impressive. Too numerous to list.

Overseeing the massive effort was Haggstrom.

Setting up lavish display tables in the ballroom for dinner were Linda Johnson from Filomena’s Italian Kitchen, Ryan Sumner from Lighthouse Bayview Café, Diego Bernal from the Coliseum Pool & Grill at the Resort at Pelican Hill, Tony Trujillo from Cucina enoteca, Michael Campbell from the Loft at Montage Laguna Beach and Noa Moreno from True Food Kitchen.

The arriving crowd was treated to a formidable cocktail reception, also catered with style by celeb chefs such as Pascal Olhats from Baja Shellfish Farms, Rachel Marie from Black Market Bakery and Samantha Meyers from Sugared and Iced, to name only a few. As the doors to the ballroom were opened, gasps were heard as patrons witnessed a culinary magic kingdom with no two tables alike in any way shape or form.

As the multi-course prepared at the table gourmet dinner ensued, everyone was sneaking a peek whenever possible at what was going on at their neighbor’s table while at the same time being immersed in decadent dining luxury of service, style and more.

De rigueur for charity dinners, an auction conducted by DawnMarie Kotsonis helped to raise the financial tally. With the service of dessert, monies raised for the two causes reached the $450,000 mark. Most impressive.

Front and center in the crowd were the Teen Project founder Lauri Burns, sponsors/underwriters Lindsey Ueberroth and Ed Lee, chefs Tom Capretz, Jessica Roy, Sean Gebo, Donald Lockhart, Blake Mellgren, Keith Prante, Andy Arndt, Joe Xavier and Kevin Meyer.

A special nod to underwriters including Legacy Pharmaceutical, Preferred Hotels & Resorts, Wahoo’s Fish Taco, Rutan & Tucker, Pacifica Hotels and SeatXChange.

B.W. COOK is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.