The 28th annual St. Jude Gourmet Luncheon Nov. 14 was, as expected, an unconditional success.
The line at the entrance gate formed early, with O. and Jay Tennas first in line promptly at 11 a.m. The serving of food began at noon.
Other early birds included a contingent from Casa del Mar who have carried on their tradition of attending the luncheon for several years.
This year, the menu was heavy on seafood, with clams, shrimp with grits, mussels, lobster bisque, scallops with a zesty sauce and stone crabs — a traditional favorite — featured. Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant brought 150 pounds of stone crab to the luncheon, and the dish was so popular that Moore’s ran out in under an hour.
Among the restaurants preparing signature dishes were Lynches’ Pub & Grub, on St. Armands Circle.
“We have been serving Cork cottage pie for 23 years,” Chris Lynch said. “The one year we didn’t, did we get complaints.”
For more than 20 years, Euphemia Haye and Harry’s Continental Kitchens have taken part, serving Caesar salad and brownies and cheese torte, respectively. Moore’s Stone Crab Restaurant is another 20-year particpant.
During the event, two lucky ladies went home happy — and not just from the many food options.
Michelle Taylor, who was working the Publix booth at the luncheon (her husband is Publix Manager Andrew Lappin), won the grand-prize raffle for a new Ford Fusion or $20,000.
Taylor chose the cash and will receive her check at the Nov. 19 breakfast meeting of the Kiwanis Club of Longboat Key, sponsor of the raffle, which benefits the club’s scholarship foundation.
Asked about her plans for the windfall, Taylor said, “I’m still in shock.”
Taking a deep breath, she added, “I love to travel. I have been wanting to go to Thailand, so that is a definite possibility.”
Sharon Caldwell won the Golden Girls’ 50/50 raffle and took home more than $1,000.
Caldwell had instant plans for her winnings.
“My church is sponsoring a mission to Nicaragua, and we want to take shoes, which are badly needed,” she said. “I’m going to help with that.”
The other half of the 50/50 pot benefits the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Other raffle winners were:
Judy Harris — Two nights in a Gulf-front suite at the Longboat Key Club and Resort.
Patti Colby — Dinner for two at Maison Blanche.
Jean Duffy — $1,000 in theater vouchers to four Sarasota arts performances.
Samir Ragheb — $200 voucher for the Longboat Key Center for Arts.
Diane Hicks — $200 voucher for the Longboat Education Center.
Linda Barrett — Sunday brunch at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
Monica Simpson — Two $25 certificates to Outback Steakhouse
The gourmet luncheon was held at the Temple Beth Israel parking lot on Bay Isles Road. The total proceeds of the luncheon, which benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, have not yet been finalized.
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