The temperature in a restaurant kitchen gets hot, but the weather at this year’s Suncoast Food & Wine Fest might have been hotter.
Luckily, the chefs are used to it, and the guests didn’t mind. Not much could stop Alison Cossetti Clough and Allison Boccaccio from attending.
“It’s a great time having every high-end establishment for food and drinks in one place,” Cossetti Clough said. “Plus, we’re able to socialize with our friends because we live in Lakewood Ranch. This is the one event I will go to, without fail, every year.”
Then, she immediately recommended the Manatee Culinary Institute’s tent.
The Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch organizes the fundraiser, which is in its 21st year. It was held at the Premier Sports Campus on Nov. 11, and 40 local restaurants dished up samples from their menus.
“I volunteer for the Books for Kids program through the Rotary Club,” Boccaccio said. “I get to see, firsthand, the impact of fundraisers like this and what they do for the program and how it benefits all the kids in the county.”
Rotarian and former president of the club, Kenneth Kaplan, said the event has raised $2.2 million since the start and was on track to raise over $100,000 this year. The club sold out of 2,000 tickets, 500 of which were for the VIP section.
“We grant somewhere between 25 and 30 grants to nonprofits every year,” Kaplan said. “They go everywhere from the local community to a community that got hit with a hurricane. It depends on what’s going on.”