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Event augments funds for department, trips

By Mike Thomas, sports editor
On May 1, 2014

  • Jon Cyr, a member of the Hilltop Ukulele Lovers Academy, performs at the 7th Annual Food and Wine Event held in the Gymnasium on Sunday. Cyr is a Contra Costa College alumnus. Qing Huang / The Advocate
  • Culinary arts student Krishna Pan sets up cookies to be served during the 7th Annual Food and Wine Event held in the Gymnasium on Sunday. Qing Huang / The Advocate

Attendees were greeted with a variety of food and wine as they entered the Gymnasium Sunday for the culinary arts department's 7th annual Food and Wine Event.
The event raises funds for the Contra Costa College Culinary Arts Study Abroad Program, which sends 10 students to Italy to study culinary arts and culture each summer. The department raised approximately $45,000 on Sunday.
The Gymnasium was packed with people and food vendors from all over the East Bay.
According to culinary arts department Chairperson Nader Sharkes there were approximately 1,000 people at the event. The students played a big part bringing this event together, Sharkes said.
"I think this event is outstanding in my opinion, and the students did a good job setting it up," Sharkes said. "We send students to Italy (each summer) to study the culture, and the food and wine event helps us fund it."
Culinary students helped some of the vendors serve food to attendees, and some worked security at the event. The event gave culinary students a chance to show off all that they have learned from the culinary arts program.
"It's something we love to do, so this event helps us culinary art students show off our hard work." culinary arts major Michael Sexton said. "As culinary arts students we work hard, and this shows that our hard work turns into trips to Italy."
At the door, attendees were given a wine glass and a unique paper plate that acts as a cup holder, made by the company Party Green. The plates made it easy for attendees to move around and get food from other vendors with their wine glasses.
Party Green Vice President Ron Clark said, "This is my fifth year sponsoring this event, and these plates are a good way for attendees to have their food and drink in the same place because they will have to walk everywhere at this event."
Chef and partner of Yankee Pier Michael Dunn has been working the food and wine event since its inception in 2008.
Dunn's restaurant is a seafood restaurant, and his booth served freshly chucked oysters.
Even though Dunn did not attend a culinary arts school or department, he said he loves helping enterprising culinary students.
"Being in the food industry, it's fun to support up and coming chefs," Dunn said. "I didn't go to school for culinary. I learned from the food industry. It's just fun to give back to the industry that gave me so much."

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