Local Chefs Create An Evening To Benefit Youth

Local chefs and Youth and Family Services YMCA have created an event that helps our community’s most vulnerable youth to learn, grow and thrive. Guests will enjoy a sumptuous, multi-course dinner orchestrated by Valley Club of Montecito Executive Chef Vincent Vanhecke and prepared by his team of Santa Barbara’s most talented and generous chefs. Local vintners generously donate wine to pair with each of the five menu courses. Proceeds from the event will benefit Youth and Family Services YMCA programs including My Home at Artisan Court, a supportive housing program for emancipated foster youth, Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, Support and Outreach Services, and the Isla Vista Teen Center.

Chef Charlie Rushton from the Four Seasons Biltmore, a member of Vanhecke’s Reaching for Stars culinary team, was so moved by the young people who spoke at the event that he wanted to do more. “Charlie approached us after hearing one of our young residents tell their story at Reaching for Stars and asked ‘What else can I do to help?’”, says Youth and Family Services Executive Director Lynn Karlson. “He is now teaching monthly cooking classes for the residents at My Home, who are learning to prepare affordable, fresh and healthful meals.” The affable chef has quickly developed a rapport with the young residents, who are developing confidence in the kitchen and in life as a result of their inclusion in the My Home program. According to Karlson, “The goals of My Home are to help prepare homeless young people for independence and to end the cycle of homelessness.”

This year’s Reaching for Stars Chefs include: Alessandro Cartumini (Four Seasons Biltmore), Charlie Fredericks (SBCC), Charlie Rushton (Four Seasons Biltmore), Christine Dahl-Hutchings (Christine Dahl Pastries) Don Skipworth (Private Chef), Fredy Orduna (Private Chef), Greg Murphy (bouchon), James Sly (Sly’s), Jamie West (Casa Dorinda), Mari Bartoli (Private Chef), Michael Blackwell (Montecito Country Club), Michael Hutchings (Michael’s Catering), Randy Bublitz & Culinary Students (SBCC), Stephane Rapp (SBCC), Vincent Vanhecke (The Valley Club of Montecito). Vanhecke is especially excited about the opportunity to include a number of young people from the Santa Barbara City College Culinary program on the chef’s team. “This year more than ever it is all about the kids,” says Vanhecke, “the kids at Noah’s and My Home and the Teen Center, and the kids in the kitchen helping to prepare dinner for our guests and raise money for the programs.”

“We hope the community will turn out for a great dining experience that benefits a great cause,” says Karlson. Tickets for the event are $200 and can be purchased by calling (805) 569-1103 X32. A limited number of table sponsorships are also available AT $1000-$5000. This year’s event sponsors include Venoco Inc, Steven and Marilyn Gutsche, Union Bank, Ann Jackson Family Foundation, Independent Means, Inc., Hutton Parker Foundation, BB&H Benefit Design, MarBorg Industries, David and Anna Grotenhuis, Ventura Rental Center, and UCSB Office of Student Affairs.

To purchase tickets or for more information, call 805-569-1103 X32 or visit the Youth and Family Services website



The Youth and Family Services YMCA provides youth development and social services programming and opportunities to young people in the greater Santa Barbara and Goleta communities. In addition to serving emancipated foster youth ages 18-21 at My Home, we serve over 175 teens at the Isla Vista Teen Center, and hundreds of young people in crisis and their families through Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter and Support and Outreach Services.

The Youth and Family Services YMCA is a branch of the Channel islands YMCA, a charitable organization of seven YMCA branches serving Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties including Camarillo Family YMCA, Ventura Family YMCA, Santa Barbara Family YMCA, Montecito Family YMCA, Lompoc Family YMCA, Stuart C. Gildred Family YMCA in Santa Ynez, and YMCA Youth & Family Services.

The Channel Islands YMCA serves over 46,000 individuals and provides over $1.3 million in financial assistance to more than 4,000 low-income families for child care, YMCA memberships, away camps, youth sports, teen after-school-programs, and operates Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter and the Isla Vista Teen Center.


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