For those of you reading this article some might be thinking, “ok we’ve done our part for Haiti lets move on…” or some of you even say “Why are we reaching out to Haiti so much when we have people here that need help?” You may be familiar with the phrase “for the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.”
Human trafficking in Haiti has proved to be a formidable consequence of the country’s earthquake aftermath; particularly the trafficking of children. Reports have come in about arrests being made of people casually telling these children their parents had died from the quake and then transporting them to North America. There are some reported hundreds of thousands of children missing to date since the January 12, 2010 quake.
These are the facts that lead Chef and Mother, Leah Di Bernardo of Delyte’s to begin an 18-month adventure that would no doubt greatly impact some of the lives affected by this devastation. And so began Hands for Haiti Now.
Hands for Haiti Now is a series of grass-roots events devoted to raising money for the people of Haiti. The way they plan on doing it, getting together some of the finest chefs, cooking up some fine food, auctioning off some fine items and hoping some fine people will come.
Saturday night was an extraordinary evening to aid in relief efforts while continuing to provide awareness. As Chef Bernard Guillas of Marine Room La Jolla put it, “We need to remember these people will still suffer from this quake for a very long time. Another quake or another disaster will surely come along and we will eventually forget the people that still need our help.”
The first of many events to come began at our very own South Coast Winery. There was a cocktail hour on the patio featuring hors d’oeuvres and champagne with musical entertainment provided by the Bayou Brothers. The evening continued on into the banquet room to enjoy a 5-course meal paired with outstanding wines, live auction items, and good company.
Though the main focus was about the people of Haiti, it would be a travesty if I did not mention some of the food and masterminds behind them. Chef Leah Di Bernardo started off the evening with Prawns in a creole sauce on a grilled crostini. This starter dish was paired with South Coast Winery’s GVR.
There were two main dishes, beginning with a Haitian inspired Red Snapper atop spicy pickled veggies by Chef Duncan Firth of Barona Valley Ranch. The dish was paired with South Coast’s Dry Riesling. Chef Dean Thomas of South Coast’s Vineyard Rose Restaurant created a wonderful (and steaming hot) combination of chicken and duck served with bacon, Parsnip puree and Taggiasca olives and paired with South Coast’s Wild Horse Peak Sangiovese.
Chef Michael McDonald of Top of the Market paired a trio of cheeses with South Coast’s Big Red Table Wine.
Last, but certainly not least, was the dessert “trilogy” created magnificently by Chef Bernard Guillas. A Kona Kahlúa Chocolate Tart, Fallbrook Macadamia Pot de Crème, and Organic Blackberry Port Gelato paired with South Coast’s Black Jack Port. One of my favorite combinations of rich creamy chocolate with blasts of berry flavor.
Between the food, wine, entertainment, and of course the cause, Hands for Haiti Now is off to a great start. We only hope this will urge you to become part of it by attending their next event. So far they have planned the next one in Los Angeles, which isn’t too far away, but then after that they are going on the road stopping in Portland first.
Make sure to visit their website at HandsforHaitiNow.org to get more information or to buy tickets, and we will make sure to list their events on our website as well. And remember you can still give in many other ways for the Haiti Relief Effort.