Just weeks apart, Coral Gables Rotarians orchestrated an amazing Chili Cook-Off event on Feb. 24, at Fred B. Hartnett Ponce Circle Park followed a few weeks later with a sold-out Gringo Bingo fundraiser at Clutch Burger on Giralda Plaza.
First up, the Coral Gables Rotary Chili Cook-Off was chaired by Coral Gables attorney Greg Martini with his sidekick Bruce Kerestes who handled the chefs as well as Debbie Swain and many others. The event raised thousands for the many charities of the Rotary Foundation of Coral Gables as well as dollars for scholarships with a silent auction and raffle coordinated by Terry Long Gomes.
Greg Martini’s son, Joey Martini, competed again with his Chiliteer buddies winning the youth category. It was great to see so many chefs, like Joey, returning year after year including a fun-loving Rotarian, Zach Price, who always comes up with an unusual chili, and RCCG past president Don Trombley, whose team has many times and always puts on a good show.
Also back again were the women of the (CGWC) Coral Gables Woman’s Club with Rita and Saesha Tennyson whom most all Gablelites know from Burger Bob’s. Saesha took over chef duties from former Chef Valerie Valenzuela, who performed sous chef duties this year. CGWC new member Denise Valluerca whose Shell Lumber team did not compete this year, got Shell to donate supplies the woman’s club needed for its tent which won “Best Decorated.”
Miami’s Community Newspapers has been a longtime media sponsor but this year entered the competition and the chef duties fell on this writer who now has a new respect for those who compete. I was blessed to have CN’s brilliant IT/digital guy, Aaron Guerrero, as our sous chef. Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was the People’s Choice winner this year with Overall Winner awarded to Don’s Hot Tamales Team with CRB Geological & Environmental Services coming in second and St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church in third place. Look for all the winners on the website www.chilichillin.com.
Part two of Gables’ Rotary’s double header was Clutch Burger’s inaugural Gringo Bingo fundraiser created by Clutch owner Steven Bradley. Bradley and celebrity DJ Germaine, who donated his services, entertained a sold-out crowd on Mar. 5 for this unique Gringo Bingo experience to benefit charity.
RCCG president Dr. Susan Fornaris of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital was on hand to support the event and most grateful that Steven and Ana Bradley chose Coral Gables Rotary’s veterans program at the Veterans Administration Hospital as the event’s first beneficiary.
Guests enjoyed Clutch sliders and drinks under the sky with perfect weather. Kudos to Clutch Burger for underwriting the event and the numerous restaurants who donated prizes and cash the event made more than $1,650 for the programs at the VA Hospital chaired by Yoli Woodbridge.
Kudos as well to the Coral Gables Woman’s Club who participated in Gringo Bingo selling almost half the tickets to the affair. Look for the Coral Gables Children’s Dental Clinic to be the charity to benefit from Clutch Burger’s next Gringo Bingo night.
In other news, congratulations to South Florida’s St. Hugh Catholic School. At this year’s 27th annual Future City Finals Competition in Washington, DC, the school’s team was awarded the prestigious Best Indoor Environment Award, sponsored by ASHRAE, for their future city model. DiscoverE’s Future City Competition, a non-profit educational program, encourages students by getting them to design and build cities of the future.
Middle school students from South Florida formed teams to create future cities in large tabletop models with their theme being “Powering Our Future.” Participation in this activity demonstrates to students how engineering has a direct influence on their lives and why math and science are relevant to their world as they make make a hands-on connection between their education, South Florida and their future.
Until next time, keep making each day count.