South Florida chefs, schools, non profits, and businesses are signing up for this year’s Coral Gables Rotary Chili Cook Off that promises to be bigger than ever. Held at Ponce Circle Park, just a few blocks south of Miracle Mile on Ponce de Leon Blvd., the competition for cash prizes is just a small part of the lure for this fun-filled family day. Guests will enjoy live bands, great chili, and other delicious food options, as well as games for kids, and more.
Admission is free but there is a small charge of $10 for a chili-tasting bracelet. Competition is not just for best chili but also for best decorated station.
The event runs from 1 to 5 p.m. with chefs arriving around 9 a.m. to prep their chili. For those who have never cooked chili before, not to worry, some of the best chili comes from first-time chefs like Valerie Valenzuela of the Coral Gables Woman’s Club. Valerie and her assistant chef Yvonne Elejalde Llauro have competed two years in a row and will be returning again this year. Cathie Burns of Century Homebuilders with her daughter Miami Christian School Senior Allison Bean are among the many Doral residents competing. Representing MCS, this duo has also competed every year since it began and, in fact, they won a cash prize last year for MCS as the best chili in their category. To participate as a chef or sponsor, or simply to attend, visit chilichillin.com. www.chilichillin.com.
On the healthcare front, United Homecare, the Florida Council on Aging, FASP, WellMed Charitable Foundation, and more than 115 people representing organizations affiliated with healthcare services for the aging, gathered at The Blue in Doral for a Regional Aging Advocacy Summit, Jan. 19.
After lunch, the program kicked off with an address by Senator Rene Garcia who flew in from Tallahassee just to attend the event. Senator Garcia chairs the Committee on Children, Families & Elder Affairs in the Florida State Legislature. Program speakers included Margaret Lynn Duggar, Executive Director of the Florida Council on Aging; Angela Vazquez, Assistant Director Southwest Social Services Programs, FASP Board; Dr. Jamie Huysman of the WellMed Charitable Foundation; and Blanca Ceballos, Community Liaison of United Homecare.
In other non-profit news, Catwalk For Charity/Breakfast with Santa provided more than 5,000 toys to needy children in Haiti on Dec. 17. The annual event was created to instill the value of education by supporting PRODEV schools in Haiti and to share the joyful spirit of Christmas with Haiti’s children. This past event, in addition to the yearly toy distribution, added the meaningful gift that restores sights and transforms lives: Free eye exams and prescription glasses were provided for 500 underprivileged children. This project was made possible by a generous sponsor Dr. Prosper Azerraf. The organization is already working on their main fundraiser for 2018 “Catwalk for Charity” with a tentative date of May 20. Look for more info soon.
On the fashion and design front, Thom Filicia, interior design expert star on Emmy Award winning Bravo show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” was in town at an exclusive event hosted by Robb & Stucky. Guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres while checking out the Thom Filicia Home Collection and Vanguard Furniture.
Aside from a Q & A between Thom Filicia and Robb & Stucky Creative Director Mark Stuart, the guests also enjoyed learning more about The Women’s Fund from new president Kathy Andersen who will direct the organization’s mission of improving the lives of women and girls, with a critical focus on advocacy to create positive change. On Jan. 1, the board of directors selected a new slate of leaders as they enter the organization’s 25th anniversary year.
Until next time, keep making each day count.