The Crowd: Chef Masters helps in fight against Alzheimer's

What better Thanksgiving message than reporting on the success of the 2018 Chef Masters gala benefiting the Alzheimer’s Family Center?

The fall dinner event unfolded at Paséa Hotel & Spa in Huntington Beach, attracting some 375 patrons at dining tables created and supervised by 31 of the top chefs in Orange County.


The event is the brainchild of Kristin Martin, producer and founder of Chef Masters.

Community members stepping forward for the Alzheimer’s cause were AFC board President Mary Lou Shattuck of Huntington Beach; Gwyn Parry, director of Hoag Hospital’s Community Benefit Program; and AFC Chief Executive Joanna Richardson-Jones, praising Hoag for 40 years of support through its dementia-specific center in Huntington Beach.


Paséa’s executive chef, Kevin Meyer, joined celebrity guest chef Pascal Olhats along with the 31 VIP table chefs creating the extravagant dinner.

Major financial support for the event came from Julia Argyros and Sue Gross, with additional support from underwriter Mona Lee Nesseth.

‘Nashville Nights’

Childhelp went country for its fifth annual fall gala, “Nashville Nights.” The Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast welcomed the passionate Childhelp family to the high-spirited evening co-chaired by Susan Hill, Kristen James and Pam Pharris. An impressive $460,000 was raised for the cause.

Making the success possible were donors Jacquie and Michael Casey, Cleo Bluth, Christine Bren, Patricia and Brent Ford, Lil and Bill Knight, Erna Minkoff and family, the Cable family, Becky and Gary Cooper, Janet Phelps, Michele and Jim Yang and Becky and Zlatko Zadro.

Also front and center were Childhelp advocates Patti and Jim Edwards joining George and Shannon Argyros, and Joe and Ivy Ciolli.

Celebs in the crowd creating a buzz were “Dancing with the Stars’” Maksim Chmerkovskiy and NASCAR’s Paulie Harraka.

‘Rivals United’

USC and UCLA rivals left their gridiron differences on the field (in spite of UCLA’s recent victory at the Rose Bowl meeting), coming together for “Rivals United for a Kure” to support finding a cure for cancer. Actually, the organization known as Kure It Cancer Research specifically funds research to cure otherwise underfunded, lesser-known forms of the deadly “c” word.

City National Grove of Anaheim welcomed hundreds of supporters Nov. 11 for the organization’s 10th-anniversary gathering. Founded by the late Barry Hoeven in 2007 following his diagnosis with a rare kidney cancer, Kure It Cancer Research has raised some $7 million over a decade to make a difference. Special guest of the evening was Mary Sullivan, keynote speaker and children’s cancer survivor.

A path to sober living

NorthEast of the Well, a small but powerful group of O.C. locals joining forces to support fellow residents fighting substance addiction, will gather for a holiday celebration Dec. 15 to spread their message that “lasting recovery requires more than just abstinence.”

“People need to form deep relationships with others, have the opportunity to feel significance and connect with something greater than themselves,” said the organization’s Kristel Miles.

For those unfamiliar, the name of the organization is taken from the New Testament — John, Chapter 4 — describing a woman at a water well encountering Jesus Christ. In the modern era, NorthEast of the Well offers an outreach program affecting some 350 O.C. residents every week in various forms of rehab.

Volunteers visit some 15 county programs and sober residences and provide more than 1,400 meals each month. In addition, the group transports recovery addicts weekly to worship services.

To attend the holiday event or learn more, visit

Celebrating success

Economist and former president of Chapman University Jim Doti joined Chapman Woman of the Year Lauren Peterson, vice president of Whittier Trust, at a fall reception in Newport Beach recognizing her impact on the region’s financial sector.

The financial firm opened three years ago in Newport, expanding to new regional offices of more than 10,000 square feet to accommodate record growth. Whittier Trust manages $12.7 billion in assets.

Greg Custer, executive vice president in charge of the Orange County office, welcomed 175 guests including Doti and Peterson for a catered reception in Whittier’s new MacArthur Court location.

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