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Chefs for Jimmy fundraiser: A foodie’s paradise

Date: 1/9/2014

By G. Michael Dobbs

AGAWAM – It is a foodie’s paradise. The annual Western New England at Chefs for Jimmy will offer diners dozens of opportunities to sample some of the very best dishes the Pioneer Valley can offer.

This year’s event will be Jan. 24 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. with the theme of “Cooking for the Gold,” according to Kelly Packard, media relations assistant for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Packard told Reminder Publications that last year’s event was sold out and tickets must be purchased in advance. None will be sold at the door.

The evening is the largest Jimmy Fund event staged in Western Massachusetts, Packard said, and is organized by the Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts.

“It’s the result of a lot of hard work in Western Massachusetts,” she said.

The admission of $85 allows people to sample dishes from more than 30 restaurants ranging from drinks and appetizers to entreés and desserts, Packard said.

There will also be a silent auction and a drawing as well as a deejay performing.

Co-chair of the effort Michael Katz explained the event grew from a modest six restaurants in a tent offering food as part of a fundraising ski weekend at the former Mount Tom ski resort in 1990. The idea of sampling food soon had to be moved indoors at the resort and then it outgrew the resort and relocated to the Eastern States Exposition. About ten years ago, Katz’s committee decided to move the event to Chez Josef

The committee also set a limit on the number of tickets – 1,200 – and Katz warned the event usually sells out.

“People have a great time,” he said. With 32 restaurants ready to serve – with four more on a wait list if someone drops out – Katz added, “There are all kinds of interesting foods.”

Attendees have the opportunity to try dishes for the first time and to find new favorites, Katz said.

“Nobody leaves hungry, we know that,” he said.

For example, Pintu’s Indian Restaurant will serve lamb chops, vegetable masala, and chicken masala while The Passionate Pear Catering Co. has ancho chili pulled pork tart with a mango slaw and an avocado drizzle on its menu. Fazio’s Ristorante will serve roasted tenderloin and Gorgonzola sliders.

The participating restaurants include 350 Grill, Springfield; Alvin Rondeau’s Dairy Bar, Palmer; Big Kats Katering & Personal Chef, South Hadley; Cerrato’s Pastry Shop, West Springfield; Chandler’s Restaurant, South Deerfield; Chez Josef, Agawam; The Country Club of Wilbraham, Wilbraham; CupCake Closet, Belchertown; Dana’s Grill, Wilbraham; Delaney’s Grill, Holyoke; Eastside Grill, Northampton; Elegant Affairs, Springfield; Fazio’s Ristorante, East Longmeadow; La Cucina di Hampden House, Hampden; Lattitude Restaurant & Events, West Springfield; Leone’s Restaurant, Springfield; Horizons, Wilbraham; The Magic Spoon, Monson; Max’s Tavern, Springfield; Murphy’s Pub, Agawam; Nadim’s Mediterranean Restaurant & Grill, Springfield; Nee Nee’s Divine Edibles, Springfield; Nina’s Cookies, Feeding Hills; The Passionate Pear Catering Co., East Longmeadow; Partners Restaurant & Catering, Feeding Hills; Pierce Brothers Coffee, Greenfield; Pintu’s Indian Restaurant, West Springfield; Rinaldi’s Italian Specialties Inc., Longmeadow; Scully Catering, East Longmeadow; Storrowton Tavern Restaurant & Carriage House Banquet Facility, West Springfield; Tekoa Country Club, Westfield; and Texas Roadhouse, Springfield.

The restaurants donate their time and food and the benefit have a list of sponsors who help out, Katz noted. Recently about $100,000 has been donated annually from the event and Katz explained that 93 cents of every dollar goes to the Jimmy Fund.

Order your tickets today by calling 800-525-4669, or online at

The evening is presented by Winer Levsky Group of UBS Financial Services Inc., and the event honors the memory of Neal Webber, a long-time supporter of the Jimmy Fund. Chefs for Jimmy is hosted by the Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts in association with Kix 100.9, Mix 93.1, WHYN 560, abc40/Fox6 Springfield, and the Valley Advocate.