Volume 8, Issue 77  |  September 26, 2023SubscribeAdvertise

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Inspired chefs return for 3rd Annual Festival of OC Chefs

Talented culinary professionals from more than 50 Orange County restaurants and other popular food service providers, including many from Newport Beach, are participating in the 3rd Annual Festival of OC Chefs, benefitting KidWorks, a 30-year-old Santa Ana-based nonprofit that provides academic, personal development, and leadership programs for children and teens in under-resourced neighborhoods.

The much-anticipated event is set for Sunday, July 16 on the spacious lawn areas outside at the Newport Beach Country Club. Thanks to generous supporters, more than $820,000 was raised for KidWorks students and programs at the 2nd Annual Festival of OC Chefs last year.

To learn more about 2023 sponsorship opportunities, contact Lisa Gels at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or 714.834.9400, ext. 126. For more about the event including ticket information, visit https://kidworksoc.org/chefs.

The event co-chairs are Dean Gray along with Laticia and Patrick Merrell (a KidWorks board member). Event committee members are Lisa and Cory Alder, Joey Booth, Tracy and Kevin Murphy, Camille and Tim Strader, and Kyle and David Team.

Inspired chef graeme blair

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Submitted photos

Host Chef Graeme Blair, executive chef, Newport Beach Country Club

“Our theme, ‘Good Food For A Great Cause,’ could not be more apt as we anticipate a highly successful event featuring our county’s finest chefs working to support a nonprofit that has become a beacon of light and hope to children and youth,” said Patrick Merrell.

The Host Chef is Graeme Blair, executive chef, Newport Beach Country Club. The Honorary Chef is Rick Boxeth of Santa Ana Sweets & Catered Courses and the Event Chef Chair is Chris Tzorin of Taste Collective.

“We are fortunate to work here in Newport Beach. It’s wonderful to see that our members and owners are so supportive of causes like KidWorks,” said Chef Blair. “As staff members at the club, we want to follow their lead and give back, too. It’s the right thing to do.”

Chefs participating from Newport Beach in addition to Blair are Balboa Bay Resort – Prabeen Prathapan; Billy’s at the Beach – Robert Luna; Cannery Seafood of the Pacific – Kevin Jones; Marriott Newport Beach – Jonathan Stanley; Pacific Club – David Martin; Pelican Hill Resort – Kyung Carroll and The Winery Restaurant – Yvon Goetz & Ari Amenta.

Inspired chefs guests

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Guests at a previous Festival of OC Chefs

“We are honored to have these high caliber culinary stars lend their time and talent again this year in support of our educational initiatives designed to transform the lives of our students,” said KidWorks CEO and Executive Director David Benavides. “We thank our sponsors and donors for their generosity.”

For nearly a decade, 100% of KidWorks high school students graduated on time and are pursuing higher education this fall.

To learn more about KidWorks, visit www.kidworksoc.org.

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