[Santa Barbara] – More than 30 chefs from Santa Barbara area restaurants, country clubs and catering kitchens are joining culinary forces at the upcoming 15th annual Reaching for Stars event to benefit Youth and Family Services YMCA programs for local at-risk youth. This year’s fundraiser will be held Wednesday, May 7 at the Montecito Country Club, with YFS Advisory Committee members Bob Bryant and Anne Towbes acting as honorary chairs for the 2014 event.

“This event started 15 years ago with some generous chefs and a handful of passionate volunteers who wanted to do something meaningful to raise funds to support young people in need,” says Lynn Karlson, Executive Director of Youth and Family Services YMCA. “It has since evolved into a very popular annual dining experience for people who appreciate fine food, and continues to be a special event for the chefs, who enjoy working together and making a truly valuable contribution to help our community’s most vulnerable youth to learn, grow and thrive.”

Proceeds from Reaching for Stars sponsorships and ticket sales provide vital funding for Youth and Family Services YMCA programs including Noah’s Anchorage Youth Crisis Shelter, My Home supportive housing collaborative for homeless youth, Isla Vista Teen Center, and Street Outreach Services. Last year, YFS programs supported 560 young people between the ages 10 and 23.

The gourmet, five-course, Reaching for Stars dinner is orchestrated by Vincent Vanhecke, Executive Chef of The Valley Club of Montecito, and will be complemented by wines generously donated by local vintners. Each course on the menu consists of a trio of delectable dishes, created by three different chefs.

Chefs for the 2014 Reaching for Stars dinner include: Vincent Vanhecke (The Valley Club of Montecito), Michael Blackwell (Montecito Country Club), Greg Murphy (bouchon), Christine Dahl-Hutchings (Christine Dahl Pastries), Alessandro Cartumini (Four Seasons Biltmore), Brian Parks (Georgia’s Smokehouse), Jessica Foster (Jessica Foster Confections), Michael Hutchings (Michael’s Catering), James Sly (Sly’s), and Brandon Hughes (Wine Cask and Intermezzo), as well as private chefs Mari Bartoli, Fredy Orduña, Charlie Rushton and Don Skipworth, plus Santa Barbara City College School of Culinary Arts chefs Randy Bublitz, Charlie Fredericks and Stephane Rapp working with a team of SBCC Culinary Arts students.

Limited tickets for Reaching for Stars at the Montecito Country Club are available for $200. To reserve a seat, learn about sponsorship opportunities or to check out the latest list of chefs, for this year’s event, visit ciymca.org.


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