On Monday I had the honor of attending an inspiring event that allowed the guests a truly unique dining experience at The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) campus. The University of Maryland Eastern Shore’s (UMES) Campus Kitchen Project at USG took local dining to a whole new level with the Dining with the Chefs event and I am excited to share my experience of attending this event with you as my final blog post for this semester. The event was to no surprise sold out, so it was truly an honor for me to be able to attend and I wanted to share information about this event with you so that you can start planning to attend the next one from now.
The Dining with the Chefs event was held to help raise the funds needed for the UMES Campus Kitchen Project (CKP). The UMES/USG CKP helps feed Montgomery County residents as part of the broader national Campus Kitchen Project organization that works with colleges across the nation to use food as a tool to strengthen bodies, empower minds and build communities. The CKP at USG meets once a month to prepare fresh meals in bulk which are delivered to families and has to date prepared more than 10,000 meals. Students, faculty and staff at USG are all invited to participate and more information about UMES/USG CKP can be found by visiting the Facebook page here. Dining with the Chefs was held to help raise the funds needed to buy the ingredients for the 200 plus meals that CKP prepares and delivers each month to shelters and families in transitional housing.
Set amidst beautiful Wizard of Oz themed décor in the multipurpose room of the versatile Conference and Events (CES) venue, the biannual Dining with the Chefs event was well attended by members of the community. The 8,700 square foot ballroom of the Conference Center at USG was filled with over 25 dining tables with 9 guests seated at each and there was still room in the ballroom for a stage with a podium and 2 huge projector screens. I was truly impressed with the set-up of the venue and everyone seated at my table appreciated the comfort in which we were able to dine and enjoy the evening’s festivities. The event also utilized the foyer space of the building for the reception which allowed the over 200 guests in attendance to access any of the 3 bars and also participate in the silent auction where the prizes were on display throughout the area.
The event featured 16 renowned local chefs that worked with the amazing and talented students in the UMES Hospitality and Tourism Management Program. A six-course gourmet meal was prepared and served to the guests and the guests were given the opportunity to meet and dine with the chefs. Some of the chefs that I recognized were Chef Ype Von Hengst from Silver Diner, Chef Enzo Livia of IL Pizzico, Chef Jeff Eng of Clydes Tower Oaks, Chef Elise Wendland of Comus Inn, and Chef Mark Mills of Chocolates and Tomatoes farm.
I had the pleasure of dining with 2 of the chefs at my table and had an amazing time at my table with fellow guests who were overall very pleased with the event and who all indicated that they will surely be attending the next Dining with the Chefs event and also will be looking for other ways that they can assist the UMES/USG CKP. Be sure to check of the event photos posted here.