Why? Chefs Unbridled!

Saturday night was a perfect fall evening in Cleveland: sunny, with a hint of cool crispness in the air. A wonderful night to be outside enjoying the Chefs Unbridled fundraiser to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center.

A beautiful night that included carriage rides through Gates Mills with historic storyteller Dan Ruminski

Matthew and I arrived to find a huge tent filled with delicious food, beautiful music, and 600 people! Chefs Unbridled doubled in size from last year’s crowd, a testament to what a wonderful event it is and what a great cause it benefits.

Master of Ceremonies Robin Swoboda from Channel 3 helped set the stage for the evening’s festivities.

And the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra provided great music to add to the ambiance.

Our evening started with delicious appetizers, including clams casino, grilled crostini with apples and brie (affectionately referred to as “Crack Bread” by some guests), and a massive charcuterie table.

We also ran into friends Crystal, Charlene, and Kelly Ann, who were volunteering at the event, and got to finally meet in real life the lovely Michelle, whose PR firm worked to make Chefs Unbridled such a success.

Then, it was time to get down to dinner. There were six stations set up around the tent, serving up tasty creations. Our first bite came from Chef Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern.

This was a little packet of mushroom deliciousness, that tasted like fall and made you want to curl up under a warm blanket. OK, technically it was Wild Chanterelle Enpapier, but I think the first description does it more justice, really. This was on Matthew’s and my “favorite of the night” list.

Next up, we had a beef short rib with polenta and mushrooms from Chef Mytro of Flour Restaurant.

This was the other of Matthew’s favorites of the night. The beef was fall-apart tender (always impressive, especially when feeding 600 people) and the polenta was so creamy.

Our next taste came from Chef Jarrett at AMP 150, who served pork belly with a corn ragout.

The pork belly was meaty, not just fatty and the dish had a smoky, slightly spicy flavor that made it a winner.

Starting to get full, we realized we were only halfway through the dishes! Next, we headed over to Chef Hodgson of Hodge’s for a southern-style treat.

Grits, sausage, and shrimp…oh my! This was my other favorite dish of the night. The flavors blended perfectly and the texture of the grits was spot on.

We next heard someone ask, “Are the scallops over here?” and immediately followed along. Indeed, Chef Kuhn of Driftwood Restaurant Group was handing out massive scallops.

Served in a heirloom tomato gazpacho with basil oil, the scallop was delicious and the gazpacho added a nice freshness. This was by far the lightest dish of the evening and a nice balance to some of the other choices.

Finally, we stopped to see Chef Khoury of Washington Place Bistro and Inn, who served lamb cheeks with olives, sundried tomatoes, and spaetzel.

The meat just melted in your mouth. The spaetzel kept the olives and sundried tomatoes from overpowering the dish with saltiness. Delicious!

I couldn’t believe I was going to eat more, but there’s always room for ice cream, right? Mitchell’s Ice Cream offered Rocky Road or Pumpkin Spice scoops. I chose the Pumpkin Spice and it was pumpkin pie in a bowl. A perfect end to an evening of fall-like foods.

Ice Cream Jazz Hands

Of course, all this wining and dining didn’t take away from the point of the evening: raising money for Fieldstone Farm. Huge screens in the tent showed pictures of some of the horses and the over 800 people, from kindergartners to disabled veterans, helped by Fieldstone Farm.

Much thanks to Fieldstone Farm for a wonderful evening and for the huge difference you make in the lives of so many people with disabilities. If you would like to help, you can volunteer, make a donation, or even sponsor a horse! And I hope to see a lot of you at Chefs Unbridled next year…can it double in size again?!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Chefs Unbridled. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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