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Mama's Day foodie gala on Friday to raise vital money for Mama's Kitchen

SAN DIEGO – Mama’s Kitchen, a non-profit organization that provides and delivers meals for those living with AIDS or cancer, will host its annual Mama’s Day fundraiser on Friday, May 6.

The event, hosted by Sycuan Casino and presented by Nordstrom, will feature local celebrity hosts and delicious food from more than 55 of San Diego’s best chefs, all for a great cause.

“Mama’s Day is a wonderful event that brings together people from throughout the San Diego community, for fun times and with the common goal of providing food for our neighbors affected by AIDS or cancer,” said Alberto Cortés, executive director of Mama’s Kitchen.

“100 percent of the net proceeds from Mama’s Day directly enables Mama’s Kitchen to continue to provide nutritious meals to our neighbors who are most vulnerable to hunger: those impacted by AIDS or cancer who are too ill to shop and cook for themselves,” Cortés said.

Local personality Sam “The Cooking Guy” will serve as the event’s culinary host. Local news anchor and public relations consultant Vic Salazar will be the emcee for the evening.

“I was thrilled when I was asked to return,” Salazar said. “This event is fun, positive, delicious and the money that we raise truly benefits our community.”

Guests will enjoy award-winning samples of food from some of San Diego’s best restaurants and the chance to win a number of prizes through the wine and vodka vault drawing and the opportunity drawing. And Cortes said this year the event will feature a Super Silent Auction boasting “impressive offerings,” in which participants can text message their bids the night of the event!

Salazar said one of the most entertaining parts of the evening comes when the silent auction tables are closed down.

“Because I'm tasked with stirring interest for fundraising, I really enjoy watching people protect their bids as we close down the silent auction tables,” Salazar said. “Some people have made it an art form to keep others from bidding. They throw elbows and use their bodies like Shaq protecting the basket for a rebound. And those are the women!”

Some of the participating restaurants include TK&A Custom Catering, Urban Mo’s, The Tractor Room, Hash House A Go Go, Cowboy Star, Baja Betty’s, Elizabethan Desserts, Searsucker, Starlite, Bertrand at Mister A’s and JRDN Restaurant at Tower 23.

Lisa Richards, CEO of TK&A Custom Catering, said TK&A has been participating in the Mama’s Day event since 1991 and is looking forward to this year’s event.

“TK&A Custom Catering is honored to be a Mama’s Kitchen supporter and Mama’s Day participant,” Richards said. “An eclectic, culinary event like Mama’s Day is a perfect fit for TK&A Custom Catering. Many of our clients and guests are supporters of Mama’s Kitchen and we feel privileged to be in the company of not only such community minded San Diegan ‘foodie’ attendees, but also the participating San Diego culinary institutions.”

Exactly what each restaurant and chef is going to prepare for the evening is a secret! But if events of years past are any indication, guests won’t be disappointed. And Richards said TK&A has something special up their chef coat sleeves.

“Every year Executive Chef Keith Lord crafts an amazing offering for Mama’s Day,” Richards said. “OK, I will give you a hint. One component is ‘hand-crafted’ and the other is a wonderful fusion of American comfort food and an international classic. You will want seconds!”

Mouth-watering food and prizes aside, Mama’s Kitchen and the Mama’s Day event has come a long way since the event’s inception in 1991.

Larry Rinehart, Mama’s Kitchen board member and chair of this year’s Mama’s Day event, said Mama’s Kitchen was started to address an overwhelming need in the community.

“An epidemic had taken hold, and people were dying from malnutrition long before their immune systems were overcome by AIDS-related infections,” Rinehart said. “Mama’s Kitchen was founded as a result; home-delivering nutritious food and compassion to those too isolated or ill to cook for themselves.”

Rinehart said because Mama’s Kitchen is entirely volunteer run and not-for-profit, funds were sometimes hard to come by, but that the organization refused to be defeated.

“It became clear early on that there was a great need for resources, and so with the vision of my dear friend Tony Kopas and a handful of dedicated individuals, Mama’s Day was started, featuring just a few local chefs,” Rinehart said. “Today it has grown into San Diego’s premier restaurant tasting event, bringing together the finest culinary talent our city has to offer.”

The event will take place Friday, May 6, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla Aventine. VIP tickets cost $250 each and include general admission plus exclusive access to the VIP poolside cabana lounge featuring a hosted bar. General admission tickets are $125 and include scrumptious food tastings from San Diego’s best chefs. More information can be found and tickets can be purchased online here.

“Mama’s Day has so many great things about it,” Cortés said. “The food, friends, and fun are great reasons to attend. And it is even better knowing that by attending, you are helping neighbors who are affected by AIDS or cancer.”

About Mama’s Kitchen

Mama’s Kitchen is a completely volunteer run, nonprofit organization that provides and delivers meals for men, women and children suffering from AIDS or cancer. The program delivers three nutritional meals each day, seven days a week at no charge to those who qualify. The program has never turned down a single person who is eligible for Mama’s Kitchen services. And their services help over 1,500 people each year living throughout San Diego County. Visit the website or call (619) 233-6262 for more information.