Batali and Symon to Headline this Year’s Autism Speaks Chef Gala in New Setting


The ante has been raised in a big way for this year’s Autism Speaks Chef Gala, the new fundraiser that replaced Rock Til it Stops. In addition to an expanded roster of culinary talent, the setting — the atrium of the Cleveland Museum of Art — sets the stage for an incredible evening of food, fun and fundraising for a great cause.

Scheduled for Saturday, August 9, the mega event will feature a VIP meet-and-greet with Michael Symon and Mario Batali, a cocktail reception and chef’s tasting dinner, an interactive dinner preparation from Symon and Batali, and live and silent auctions.

Last year, the event’s first, the goal was to raise $100,000 for autism research. “We actually went over that amount,” explains co-chair Jim Sammon. “This year we hope to double it. The Tri-C and Pura Vida space [where the event was held last year] was fantastic, but we were limited by size to the number of people who could enjoy the event.”

In addition to the headliners, participating chefs will include Tim Bando (Grove Hill), Rocco Whalen (Fahrenheit), Eric Williams (Momocho, El C), Derek Clayton (Symon Restaurants), Brandt Evans (Pura Vida, Blue Canyon), Brian Doyle (Sow Food, Beachland Ballroom), Jonathon Sawyer (Greenhouse Tavern, Noodlecat), Matt Mytro (Flour), Britt-Marie Culey (Coquette Patisserie), Jonathan Bennett (Red, Moxie), Doug Katz (Fire, Katz Club, Provenance), Karen Small (Flying Fig), Jeff Jarrett (AMP 150), Jill Vedaa (Rockefeller’s), Fabio Salerno (Lago), John Selick (University Hospitals), Anna Harouvis (Anna in the Raw), Tim Monsman (Market District) and Dion Tsevdos (Cheese Shop, Urban Herbs).

Auction prizes range from a dinner made onsite by Symon and Batali to another getaway to New York City for a taping of The Chew. Many of the participating chefs will be auctioning off in-house dinners for groups or 6 to 10 or more, or offering VIP dinners at their respective restaurants.

Individual tickets start at $200 and climb in sponsorship level to almost any amount.

Sammon, who co-chairs the event with his wife Jen, Sheri and Michael Goldberg, and Genevieve and Bill Carson, says going forward the event likely will be biennial, occurring on the years that Wolfgang Puck’s Five Star Sensation for University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center does not.

“There’s been a 30 percent increase in the rise of diagnosis on the autism spectrum over the past two years,” adds Sammon. “We figured that we needed to up the ante to do our little bit to combat that rise.”

Click here to buy tickets or for more info.

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Douglas Trattner

For 20 years, Douglas Trattner has worked as a full-time freelance writer, editor and author. His work on Michael Symon's "Carnivore," "5 in 5" and “Fix it With Food” have earned him three New York Times Best-Selling Author honors, while his longstanding role as Scene dining editor garnered the award of “Best...
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