Special Olympics, ISU Dining Team Up for Annual Evening of Food, Fundraising

21 Jun 2012
Ames, IA – It’s become a tradition for both Special Olympics Iowa and ISU Dining. This year’s Third Annual Special Olympics Gourmet Gala featured more fine dining and fundraising. Held at Seasons Marketplace on the Iowa State campus, the Gourmet Gala featured the culinary expertise of five ISU Dining chefs as well as a tribute to this year’s Special Olympics athletes.

The event started with a short appetizer sampling while guests peaked around the facility, try to get an upfront look at the culinary excellence awaiting them. Within moments, guests were encouraged to scour the room and dive in as they would be the judges in this special showcase.

The gala pitted chef against chef with a trip to the Flavor Magazine Culinary Experience in Newport Beach, California on the line. The chefs pulled out all the stops creating main dishes ranging from veal stew to Bloody Mary halibut. In the end, it was Chef Torin Munro’s Korean tacos that stole the show. Munro, and his sous chef Mary Coen, filled scallion pancakes with a combination of duck comfit, kimchee, cilantro guacamole mayo, and a sriracha dressing that wowed the crowd.

“This event is such a great opportunity for our chefs to showcase their skills and talent,” said ISU Dining Director Nancy Levandowski. “And it’s a great opportunity for some wonderful supporters of Special Olympics to enjoy a professionally prepared meal.”

Chef Munro’s delectable taco wasn’t the only crowd pleaser. Guests enjoyed interacting with the chefs while they prepared their meal, were treated specialty wine pairings from Cyclone Liquors and were wowed by the stories of two Special Olympics Iowa athletes. The evening was a success to the tune of over $27,000 in donations to Special Olympics Iowa.

“The event went flawlessly,” said Special Olympics Iowa Director of Individual and Major Gifts David Orth. “The chefs were friendly and informative, the food was delicious, and the service was top notch. Every detail was well thought out prior to the event, and the attendees absolutely enjoyed the evening.”

The Gourmet Gala is an annual event held in the summer in celebration of the work of Special Olympics. ISU Dining is a proud partner of the Gourmet Gala.

“This is such an amazing event that brings together so many talented people especially the Special Olympics athletes and our chefs,” said Levandowski. “From feeding the athletes during the summer games to our work with the Gourmet Gala, we‘re so honored to help support Special Olympics Iowa.”

Special Olympics Iowa is a nonprofit organization serving Iowans with intellectual disabilities since 1968. SOIA serves athletes in each of Iowa's 99 counties, and provides training and competitions in 23 Olympic-type sports. Nearly 11,000 athletes and Unified Sports Partners participate in SOIA events and competitions annually.

ISU Dining operates 24 residential dining and retail venues on the Iowa State University campus as well as a catering department. For more information, visit the ISU Dining website at dining.iastate.edu.

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