Friday, August 24, 2018

Step Up Shine and Dine 2018 Recap

Shine and Dine is one of those events I look forward to every single year. Not just because of the stellar food and fun pop up events, but also because it gives me a chance to give back to an important organization like Step Up Women's Network, which works with young girls to open doors for their future. Every year, I am floored by the extraordinary stories of the girls who have been helped by this mentorship program. This year's event was as inspiring as ever.

Attendees getting touchups at Ulta's Beauty Bar

Chef Christine Cikowski of Honey Butter Fried Chicken curated the tasting portion, enlisting more then 25 different restaurants, food services, and beverage companies to bring along their best offerings. Some of my personal favorites were the smoked cauliflower with elote cream presented by the Chef Matt Jergens at The Gwen, and the corn and beef empanadas from Chef Devon Quinn at Eden. The crowd favorite (as evidenced by the perpetual line in front of their table) was definitely Wow Bao, who brought along a variety of their signature steamed buns. This year's program separated the dessert service out to after the main event, which was a nice change of pace. I especially enjoyed Chef Sandra Holl's (Floriole) take on a pavlova with lemon and blueberry, and the uniquely flavored chocolate bars from Chef Meg Galus from Boka Restaurants.

Aside from the the spectacular array of food, it was positively heartwarming to watch a community of men and women come together to celebrate and raise funds for girls of the future. Step Up alumna English Henderson was the special honoree of the night, and her speech, along with that of Chairman Jessica McLaughlin and Step Up CEO Jenni Luke, helped to gear up the crowd for the main portion of the fundraising, securing over $400,000 for another year's worth of programs.

English Henderson, this year' alumna honoree (photo courtesy of Step Up)
Step Up CEO Jenni Luke (photo courtesy of Step Up)

I am always so filled with joy and motivation after an evening with all those amazing girls and women. If you couldn't make it this year, it's never to late to contribute. Make sure to stop by Step Up's website and help another generation of girls connect with the resources to help them succeed.

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