With a theme of “Heroes in Literature”, the 2011 Des Alpes Chocolate Fashion Show saw Rapunzel, Pippi Longstocking (and Mr. Nilsson), and Little Red Riding Hood, among many others, walk the runway during The Heart of America Foundation
and Albert Uster Imports
’ annual Sweet Charity fundraiser.
Ultimately though, it was Shaun McCarty
that won over the hearts and minds (and stomachs) of the panel of judges, with his interpretation of “Gretel” (of Hansel and Gretel
fame) taking the evening’s top prize.
The pastry chef over at the Ronald Reagan Building
, McCarty's edible creation boasted everything from a dress to jewelry and hairpiece accessories.
This year’s judges included The Inn At Little Washington
’s Patrick O’Connell
, sugarcraft artist and cake designer Nicholas Lodge
, USA Today
reporter Donna Leinwand Leger
, and “Top Chef”/possible “Next Iron Chef” Spike Mendelsohn
Notably, Mendelsohn also happened to be the first attendee to pledge $1,000 to The Heart of America Foundation’s “Books From The Heart” program – the beneficiary of the night’s ticket sales.
Prior to the start of the runway show, guests were invited to wander the spacious hallways of the Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.
hotel, where they were free to sample from table after table of delicacies served-up from various local and national restaurants and caterers.
Guests surround Miss Sweet Charity herself: K Street Kate’s Kate Michael.
BLT Steak, Farrah Olivia, Ridgewells Catering, BlackSalt, Chef Geoff’s Downtown, Co Co. Sala, Café Saint-Ex, Policy, Ris, and KUSHI Izakaya & Sushi are but a sampling of the hometown culinary prowess on display Monday evening.
As much as the fundraiser was about food, however, so too was it about recognizing various leaders in the fields of the culinary arts, community, and service.
ABC 7 news anchor Leon Harris
(who, along with Let’s Talk Live
host Natasha Barrett
, served as the event’s emcees) was surprised with the National Heroes of the Heart Award.
And the winner is…
“I’m floored because I don’t think of what I do as nearly as rewarding as what you do,” said Harris. “This is something that you’re supposed to do…Thank you very much…You shocked the hell out of me.”
And Chef Dan Wecker
and Dr. Grace A. Reid
were honored with the Albert Uster Chef of the Year Award and Principal of the Year Award, respectively, for their leadership, talent, and community work.
Borrowing a quote from Forest E. Witcraft
, Reid concluded: “One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.”
Sweeter words might never have been uttered….
To learn more about The Heart of America Foundation, please visit the organization's website.