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Table for Ten

Annual Culinary Extravaganza for Charity

Executive chef Ben Martinek with guest

Towering floral centerpieces. Foie gras. Filet mignon. Farm-tinis. Held at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, the annual Table for 10 culinary extravaganza netted $300,000 for two charities: Vocational Visions and The Teen Project.

Lauri Burns, founder of The Teen Project, said funds help support her effort to give teens transitioning out of the foster care system “a chance on life.” Vocational Visions Executive Director Joan McKinney said the event gives her 42-year-old nonprofit valuable exposure. “We need more people to know about us,” she said.

Table sponsor and Wahoo’s Fish Taco co-founder Ed Lee said he’s a longtime supporter of Vocational Visions, which provides skills training to people with developmental disabilities.
During the event, guests pay for a meal prepared by 30 veteran and rising-star local chefs. Each table showcases the restaurant’s individuality through its décor and cuisine. Among the most elaborate designs? The Balboa Bay Resort’s table featured an 8-foot-tall replica of a flowering cherry tree. “The whole event is done at a high level,” said chef Pascal Olhats. “It’s good for the charities and the restaurants. A win-win."

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