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A Taste of Talent Raises Funds for Project Self-Sufficiency

Lisa Pachnos

Monday, March 10, 2014 • 2:29pm

“A Taste of Talent” will be held at Perona Farms on behalf of Project Self-Sufficiency on Monday, April 7th, beginning at 6:00 p.m.  In addition to sampling hors d’oeuvres, entrees and desserts from 34 area restaurants, patrons will be invited to bid on table arrangements created by several local designers.  Each table may contain place settings for eight, art objects, and decorative items designed to spotlight popular television programs.  The highest bidder will take home the contents of the entire table.  Now in its 18th year, “A Taste of Talent”, will benefit Project Self-Sufficiency, a local non-profit agency specializing in services for low-income families in Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon counties.  Sponsorships for the event range from $500 - $25,000, and a limited number of individual tickets are available at a cost of $200. 

Stations from 34 of the area’s finest restaurants will be placed throughout Perona Farms, allowing patrons to meet and mingle with the chefs while sampling some of their most renowned dishes.  Guests will be invited to stroll through the cavernous kitchen at Perona Farms and witness a cooking demonstration by Executive Chef Kirk Avondoglio.  

Project Self-Sufficiency Leadership Council member Lois Pellow and her husband, Harold, will be serving as Honorary Chairperson of the 2014 A Taste of Talent.  Lois notes, “I have been involved with Project Self-Sufficiency since the beginning, because I thought it was such an outstanding idea to help women and children who needed specialized assistance.  It’s a grass root project that grew and grew until it became what it is today.  It’s a wonderful organization and I don’t get involved with anything unless I think it’s worthwhile!  A Taste of Talent gives you a chance to sample food from different restaurants, which is wonderful.”

Pete Freund, owner of Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream, will be volunteering as the Culinary Chairperson for this year’s event.  “A Taste of Talent is a wonderful experience, it’s a wonderful cause.  You get some of the best people in the food and restaurant business gathered in one location for an evening.”

Participating restaurants will include Perona Farms; A Chocolate Lab; Alice’s Restaurant; Andre’s Restaurant & Wine Boutique; Black Forest Inn; George Mandakas III, Blue Olive Market; Bobolink Dairy & Bakehouse; Café Pierrot; Caffe Navona; The Chatterbox Drive In; The Chocolate Goat Gift Shoppe; Cliff’s Homemade Ice Cream; Uwe Toedter, Faculty House, Columbia University; De Bragga & Spitler; Forno Italiano; Fossil Farms; George’s Wine & Gourmet Gallery; Hayek’s Market; The Inn at Mill Race Pond; Jesse Jones Cuisine Catering; Ken Salmon Catering; Krave Café & Caterers; Main Street Grille; Mosefund Farm; Pizza Bistro; Ristorante Il Porto; Riviera Maya Mexican Restaurant; Ryland Inn; Salt Gastro Pub; Salt Studio; Springhouse Creamery, LLC; Tante Baci Caffe; Triomphe Restaurant; and Charles Ventre.  

“A Taste of Talent is our signature fundraising event and the cornerstone of our annual campaign,” noted Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director of Project Self-Sufficiency.  “We are delighted by the support we continue to receive from the restaurateurs and designers in our area.   Project Self-Sufficiency is in need of the community’s support now more than ever.  Due to the current economic situation, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of low-income families requesting assistance.  ‘A Taste of Talent’ provides a unique opportunity for people to reach out and help their neighbors at this difficult time.”

Esteemed local designers who will be participating in “A Taste of Talent” include Patricia Bruterri, Sweet P.E.A.’s; Alicia Shearer, Alicia Shearer Interior Design; Holly George, Holly George Interior Design; Jacky Murphey, Victory Frame Shop; Melissa Bogert, Iroquois Antiques; Debbie Devenney; and Honey Smith.  Table designs will feature items associated with the television programs Downton Abbey, Fantasy Island, Keeping Up Appearances, Mad Men, and Project Runway.

As usual, music will be an integral part of A Taste of Talent, with ensembles and soloists set up in just about every room at Perona Farms.  The “Meant to be Jazz” trio will perform throughout the evening, along with musical siblings Katie and Andrew Van Varick, and musical artists Carol and Gary Kraemer.

Project Self-Sufficiency is a private non-profit community-based organization dedicated to improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey.  The agency’s mission is to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children while achieving personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.  Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 19,500 families, including over 30,000 children.

Select donation categories are available for “A Taste of Talent,” ranging from $500 - $25,000.  A limited number of tickets for individual donations are available at a cost of $200.  Perona Farms is located at 350 Andover-Sparta Road in Andover.  To make a contribution to Project Self-Sufficiency, to obtain tickets to “A Taste of Talent,” or to find out more information about the programs and services available at the agency, call 973-940-3500.

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