One of the most popular charity dining events in Orange County is Table for Ten, an annual culinary event that raises funds for deserving charities by having 30 noted chefs prepare multi-course feasts for tables of 10 diners.
This year, Table for Ten was held on Sunday, March 6 at the Festival of Arts grounds in Laguna Beach, a perfect outdoor venue as we come out of the pandemic. The temperature dipped into the 50s, but hearts were warm and generosity even warmer.
I was lucky to be seated at the table hosted by Chef Pascal Olhats, who for many years ran Café Jardin at Sherman Gardens, and before that Traditions by Pascal in Newport Beach and Brasserie Pascal in Fashion Island, where I was a regular (the shrimp cassoulet was my go-to appetizer).
I had also hired Pascal to cook my birthday dinner last October—just me and nine friends in a rented villa at Pelican Hill Resort.
For Table for Ten, Pascal created what he dubbed “Le Cuisine Gastronomique,” an eight-course extravaganza that included such dishes as Coquille Saint Jacques with white truffle pearls, braised thyme crusted Chilean seabass (one of Pascal’s most famous dishes), duck a l’orange, a fromage course, and crème brûlée.
Each course was perfectly paired with wine.
Before the main event, there was a reception with more restaurants, and wineries, serving signature items and pouring tastes of signature vintages.
As we dined, a handful of live auction items drew impressive bids, including an overnight villa stay at Pelican Hill Resort with a chef’s dinner for 10, as well as dinners offered by participating chefs in the winners’ homes.
Table for Ten was orchestrated by Kristin Martin and KM Productions. More than 300 gourmet food and wine lovers attended the sold-out event.
The designated charity this year was the Pascal Culinary Scholarship Program, which creates grants for culinary arts students in Orange County. The program works with Saddleback Culinary Arts College, Orange Coast College Culinary School and chefs currently working who would like to go back and further their culinary arts dreams.
Olhats, who launched the program and teaches a French cooking class at Saddleback, said, “the scholarships provide monies to offset or cover the students’ tuition, fees, books and equipment. The college foundations select the recipients based on need and merit.”
More than $300,000 in net proceeds will provide many grants to deserving culinary arts students.
For more information, visit tableforten.org.