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The Crowd: Taking a SPIN for a good cause

November 14, 2013|By B.W. Cook
  • Celebrity guest Chef Charlie Palmer joins Jean Wegener, executive director of SPIN, at 25th anniversary gala.
Celebrity guest Chef Charlie Palmer joins Jean Wegener,… (Rene Lopez Photography )

"2013 marked our 25th anniversary, and this year's gala was, fittingly, the most successful we have ever had," commented Jean Wegener, executive director of Serving People In Need (SPIN).

More than 380 generous patrons joined forces Nov. 1 in the grand ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa to raise funds and awareness for the work of SPIN, which assists Orange County families in crisis.

The gala black-tie-optional evening featured the extraordinary culinary contributions of the Hyatt's executive chef, Manfred Lassahn, and staff working with celebrity guest chef and well-known American restaurateur and wine connoisseur Chef Charlie Palmer. Entertainment for the evening was provided by the platinum-selling recording artist Mark McGrath and his band Sugar Ray.

The winning combination created an evening to be remembered, ultimately raising $220,000 (net), which is earmarked to support the housing and lifesaving services provided by SPIN.

Making the evening possible were major sponsors of the Silver Anniversary Gala, including the Hyatt's owner, RJ Mayer, and his wife, Rhonda Mayer; Soogie and Don Kang; Elizabeth An and her husband, Gordon Clune; John and Mary Tu; Richard and Kim Crawford; Frank and Peggy Listi; Mary Lou and Wayne Shattuck; Edward Rimpau; Christine and Scott Lieberman; Mary Frome; Charles and Regina Granville and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SPIN Al DeGrassi and his wife, Susan.

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Also generously supporting the event were Angela and David Lee, Heidi and John Oswald, and Joe and Heidi Heffington.

Contributing to the overall financial success of the evening were successful silent and live auctions. Longtime SPIN advocate Melanie Salata Fitch joined volunteer guest auctioneer John Wortmann, chairman of the Board of Governors at the Balboa Bay Club, helping to raise significant dollars in support of SPIN services.

A gourmet four-course dinner with wine pairings began with a first course of smoked salmon Carpaccio, followed by a serving of swordfish in a delicate lobster sauce, then a mixed grill entrée featuring filet and short ribs. Dessert was a presentation of chocolate decadence paired with an incredible Port wine that went perfectly with the dessert.

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