Tag Archives: Kim-Thao Nguyen

8th Annual Great Chefs Event Recap

Once again, Philadelphia’s more thoughtful (and stylish) foodies gathered in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for the 8th annual Great Chefs Event. With more than 1,000 guests joining 40+ celebrity chefs, the wet weather was held at bay by the positive atmosphere. So positive, in fact, that the Vetri Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Foundation announced that they have surpassed their goal of raising $1 million dollars in support of cancer research.

“I am happy to be here,” Iron Chef Michael Symon tells me as I sample one of his outrageously delicious lamb ribs. “I wasn’t able to be here in person last year, so I am glad I could make the trip this year.”

Held at the Urban Outfitters campus at the Naval Yard, the lineup of participating chefs reads like a who’s who of culinary all stars. From Jose Garces to Philly’s own Jennifer Carroll and Kevin Spraga, the attendees were afforded the opportunity to sample some of the world’s most sought after fair. “You have to try the pork belly tacos,” a guest remarks as she points in the direction of the table set up by Jonathan Waxman, a pioneer of California cuisine. (She was right, they were outstanding.)

A little more than half way through the evening, the crowd gathered for a live auction. The high energy bidding war was highlighted by one particular item: a 4 night food-tour of Italy accompanied by Marc Vetri. That lot sold for an amazing $26,000.

When the main event ended at 9pm, the lucky few that purchased the limited amount of after-party tickets made their way over to Marc Vetri’s restaurant Alla Spina. With music provided by Philly’s premier DJ and drummer Quest Love, the after party managed to continue the high culinary expectation set from earlier that evening.

With all funds (including the tips the bartenders received) going to charity, all in attendance could be certain that their next day hangovers were well worth it.

All photos provided by Kim-Thao Nguyen



Wall Ball-in’ Out!

Photos by Kim-Thao Nguyen

Last Thursday, some of Philadelphia’s finest creators, movers and shakers congregated at the Vie on North Broad Street for one of the city’s most highly anticipated events: WALL BALL.

In its 9th year, The Mural Arts Program strived to bring an array of entertainment and excitement to its biggest annual fundraising affair. Not to be outdone by last year’s star-studded event honoring State Senator Vincent Hughes and his wife, actress Sheryl Lee Ralph as well as The Legendary Roots Crew, whose mural on South Street will be formally unveiled this upcoming Friday, this year’s swanky soiree put the spotlight on City Council President, Darrell L. Clarke and Philadelphia’s favorite big baller, former 76er, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, whose iconic mural on Ridge Avenue is a favorite in this acclaimed “City of Murals”.

This year, it was obvious that The Mural Arts Programs wanted to wow guests and contributors with fun and fantasy:  from fancy face-painting to scatting stilt-walkers to the elaborate array of light bites, Wall Ball 2013 left little to be desired from its content attendees. Mike Jerrick of FOX 29 News was the evening’s emcee and opened the floor for the live auction by dancing to Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music” followed by some impressive sales in the name of charity.

After the last bid and before handing out awards, Mural Arts Program founder, Jane Golden, shared a story about a young Michael Whittington from the organization’s Restorative Justice Program before introducing him to speak briefly on behalf of its participants. With a testimony and an expression of gratitude extended to the guests, Whittington reminded everybody what doing this work is all about.  Jane Golden and the Mural Arts Program also posthumously honored the late local real estate developer, Tony Goldman.

In an effort to engage younger patrons of Mural Arts, the organization also incorporated an Off-The-Wall Ball at the neighboring Alla Spina Restaurant. This abbreviated party was an amazing amalgamation of muralists, artists, and mural-lovers having fun and making a contribution to art and its restorative power.

The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program is the nation’s largest mural project and provides programming for over 100 communities, including at-risk teens and adult offenders. For more information about the Mural Arts Program, visit www.muralarts.org or follow on Twitter @MuralArts.

Tongue-in-Chic: Great Chefs 2012

If there is one night to look like a million bucks, this is it. Photos by Joshua Pelta-Heller’

Over fifty of the world’s most celebrated chefs gathered in the grandiose glass walls of the Urban Outfitters world headquarters this past Tuesday for the annually anticipated Great Chefs Event. Hosted by Philly’s foodie family monarchs Marc Vetri, Jeff Benjamin and Jeff Michaud of their Vetri Foundation for Children, Great Chefs raised an amazing $1 million this year to support the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.

With live auction bids individually leaping up to $35,000, there’s little suspicion as to how the hall full of attendees managed to all dress to the nines…thousands. Between bites from our local champion chefs Jose Garces and Masaharu Morimoto, with tastes hailing from LA to Italy, Two.One.Five threw back some shots of our favorite looks of the evening. Catch the slideshow for a glimpse of the best of the best from the who’s who of Philadelphia.

Tongue-in-Chic is Two.One.Five’s brand of event and street style round-ups. Check back often for regular updates.

Follow me at @keemthao

Blondell Reynolds Brown Helps “Round Up” Support For The CcTC

And for all that she does, City Councilwoman, Blondell Reynolds Brown is someone you should know.  Photos by Kim-Thao Nguyen and Joshua Pelta-Heller

On June 1st, Philly’s Children’s Crisis Treatment Center will host its 13th annual “Round-Up” at  PÊCHE at Sherman Mills, a Wild West themed event that helps raise money for the organization’s causes of improving the behavioral and mental health of children who have endured abuse, trauma, or other challenges to their development.

Last year, the event raised a quarter of a million dollars toward the CcTC’s cause, hosting over 300 guests.  This year, honorary chair Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown expects another big turnout.  We spoke with her recently about her involvement in this event, her work as an advocate for the rights of women and children in Philly, and as an advocate for the arts too!

215 Magazine: I know that you have a long history of being a champion of children’s rights in the city – what’s your involvement with CcTC?

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown: After having been a supporter for many years, two years ago I was approached with the opportunity to be honorary chair of the event this year.  David Forde (my Chief of Staff) and I were excited about the notion because we go every year!  It’s fun, and you meet a lot of people from all walks of life and all parts of the region – which is unusual, for non-profit events in town – but the glue for all of us is one mission: to raise funds so that the CcTC can broaden and deepen their reach for young people who have had some type of traumatic experience.

I’ve been involved in the past as a supporter because it’s fun.  I go every year because I love the mission.  And it’s always great dancing!

215: In what capacity does this organization work with DHS?

BRB: DHS is responsible for keeping children safe, and it contracts with a number of agencies who have specialties.  The CcTC is one of those agencies that DHS can look to when children have come in touch with a traumatic or abusive experience.  The CcTC has a rich track record, it’s reliable in the services they provide, and they have become a regular recipient of DHS funds because of their track record.

215: Our magazine covers arts and culture in Philadelphia, and often art that engages social consciousness.  I know that that’s a personal interest of yours – you used to be a dancer, and you’re a great champion of the arts in Philly – could you touch on that?

BRB: There’s a real connection between the arts and what it means for our city!  When we look atartists, some of the big stars of our day, I am most drawn to those artists who use their art as a way of making a difference.  It’s an easy connection.  Here’s what we know about the arts: fundamentally, research says that when young people are involved in the arts, just in high school, or when they take piano lessons, they stand to do better on SAT exams.  That’s a fact, and based on research.  What we know also is that when young peope are involved in arts and culture they’re less likely to end up at family court at 1801 Vine St., they’re more likely to go on to college, and they grow to be the new patrons for our arts and cultural institutions.  So when we can connect those who love the arts with those realities, that in and of itself I think should give us reason to want to promote the arts just for what it engenders.  And the arts remind us of how human we are and really become the glue for elevating the spirit among us.

And then [you can] look at it for very selfish reasons.   [For example] I’ve really found my joy and my confidence in doing dance.  When teachers, or care givers, or social workers sort of discover that piece about a young person that’s going to draw them out, then that’s a benefit both for the person that’s trying to provide the help and for the young person, because you can put them in an art experience that is going to draw them out, and help them gain the confidence they need to get over a traumatic experience.

215: So do you see the arts or arts programs as something that could be used by the CcTC in its role and duties?

BRB: Completely.  In graduate school I had to take a course called “Play Therapy,” where you watched children that had come through some traumatic experience, and how they play, and there was an analysis attached to what type of toys they played with and a psychological reasoning behind that.  But it was play that is safe, and engaging.  The arts can serve the same purpose.

215: What can we expect from you in the coming months as far as women and children’s programs or rights legislation and policy?

BRB: On May 29th, we’re going to have hearings addressing this notion of the lack of women on boards.  Because what we know is that when women are at the table addressing business issues or children and youth issues, there tends to be a different outcome, so we’re going to be looking at that most immediately.  And then we’ve discovered more recently that child care providers are starting to run into new hurdles and impediments with Licences and Inspections.  The area I focused on principally when I first came to city council was the hurdles that child care providers had to endure, and twelve years later, we have to go back and deal with that issue again.  So we’re gonna be going back and looking at that this Spring too.  Because there’s still a long waiting list for those that want to care for children in safe, quality structured experiences, and the City should not be a barrier.  Period.

For more information, visit www.cctckids.org.  To purchase tickets or for additional information regarding the 13th Annual CcTC Roundup, please visit www.phillyroundup.org or contact Johanna Torres at 215-496-0707, ext. 1137, or johanna.torres@cctckids.org.