Event celebrates Project Self-Sufficiency

| 07 May 2018 | 01:22

The 22nd Annual A Taste of Talent was held on Monday night at Perona Farms in Lafayette.
The annual event is a chance for area chefs, designers and musicians to showcase their talents while hundreds of patrons support Project Self-Sufficiency and mingle through the stunning venue.
Bobokink Dairy and Bakehouse has been participating in A Taste of Talent for over 15 years. Said Nina White, who owns the dairy with her husband, Jonathan, “Project Self-Sufficiency is a boon for women in need, and it's nice to connect with customers old and new.
A “boon” it is as Project Self-Sufficiency is celebrating over 30 years of improving the lives of low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey. The agency’s mission is “to provide a broad spectrum of holistic, respectful, and comprehensive services enabling low-income single parents, teen parents, two-parent families, and displaced homemakers to improve their lives and the lives of their children through the achievement of personal and economic self-sufficiency and family stability.” Since 1986 Project Self-Sufficiency has served more than 25,000 families.
A Taste of Talent has become a much-anticipated annual happening, and this year, guests had the opportunity to sample appetizers, entrees and desserts from more than 50 area restaurants while meeting the chefs. Patrons were also invited to bid on Tiffany’s-themed tabletop creations of several local designers.
Bobolink served its 100 percent grass-fed lactic beef salami, their local baguettes made with wheat grown in their home town of Milford, New Jersey, as well as Drumm cheese, Cave-aged cheddar, and five-year grand reserve cheddar. They also spoiled guests with their one-hundred-percent grass-fed cultured Butter and cranberry-walnut loaf.
Pattycakes is a custom order boutique bake shop located in Sparta. Owner Patty Gozdenovich said, “This is our fourth year participating. We serve candy, custom cookies and cake pops. Our display serves as the favor for all of the guests and is paid for in party by one of the Project Self-Sufficiency board members, Susan Murphy. She purchases the candy and we provide the design, display, custom cookies and pops.”
Gozdenovich added, “We look forward to doing this event each year. We have so much fun with the other designers and enjoy working with the people at Project Self-Sufficiency. They are all wonderful. Not to mention everyone at Perona. It's just a great group of people coming together for a great cause and we wouldn't miss it.”
The owners of Perona Farms were more than accommodating even opening up the kitchen area for guests to tour. There, they were able to see a cooking demonstration by Caffe NaVona President and Executive Chef Marco De Filippis who served as the Culinary Chairperson of this year’s event.
“It’s important to support A Taste of Talent because it benefits a great cause,” De Filippis, said. “Helping women and families in need is a cause close to my heart.”
“Perona Farms has hosted this event for 21years. I started this event and it's for such a great cause," said Kirk Avondoglio, chef/owner of Perona Farms.“The Chef camaraderie is amazing. The biggest challenge is getting restaurants to commit and then organizing everything so it runs seamless as possible.”
And then there were the designers. Guests were able to bid on table designs which featured place settings for eight, art objects, and decorative items designed to highlight the event’s theme, “Dinner at Tiffany’s.” All items were sold at a Silent Auction, with the proceeds benefiting Project Self-Sufficiency.
Holly George Interior Design, LLC, donated a "Birds, Bees & Tiffany's" Dining by Design Table. Holly George, the owner/designer said, “Everything on the table is part of the silent auction. This is my seventh table and seventh year participating. The table was inspired by the honeybee on the Tiffany plate I chose. Tiffany's donated the eight dessert plates and the pair of crystal candlesticks on my table.”
Holly George Interior Design has designed, procured and donated tables to Project Self-Sufficiency's A Taste of Talent Dining by Design silent auction since 2012.Each of the original centerpieces were created by Holly George. George designs for multi-faceted projects and is also available for design advice. She's an expert at helping with paint color selection, furniture arrangement, window treatment ideas, decorating and style advice for do-it-yourself projects and for advice on space planning for renovations.
“I first learned of Project Self-Sufficiency 20 years ago when a friend of mine was going through a devastating divorce," George said. "She had no means of personal income and two children under five. I saw how much the ‘hand up’ services the organization provided meant to my friend and how her experience had a happy ending.” She added, My table donation each year is my chance to pay it forward on behalf of my friend and the many many others that have been helped back on their feet.”
Patricia Bruterri, who owns Sweet P.E.A.'s in Lafayette, is another designer who has been a part of A Taste of Talent for many years. Her store features antique and vintage finds.
“I have again set up a table along with Alicia Schearer Interior Design. We set up two folding bistro tables, four bistro chairs in gray and white, a bar cart, several glass candle holders, china and silverware service for eight," she said. "In addition as an extra special feature, we have eight Tiffany crystal goblets and two Tiffany crystal hors d”oeuvre bowls which are part of our design table. Our tables are valued at $2,800.”
Bruterri said, “The tables were for bidding to all attendees of Taste of Talent. All proceeds from the tables benefited Project Self -Sufficiency and the wonderful work they do to improve the lives of many families in our county. We love using our unique talents and creativity to help raise funds to support this charity.”
The entryway at Perona Farms was transformed into a showcase featuring the creations of Bruterri, George, Shearer and Jacky Murphey, who owns Victory Frame Shop.
Beverly Gordon, President of Project Self-Sufficiency’s Board of Directors, said, “We would not be able to offer this event year after year without the unwavering dedication of the restaurateurs and chefs in our community. We continue to be indebted to them for their enthusiastic participation and creativity," said Beverly Gordon, ,president of Project Self-Sufficiency's Board of Directors.
Project Self-Sufficiency's Executive Director, Deborah Berry-Toon said, “A Taste of Talent directly benefits our Sussex County neighbors in need, and is the cornerstone to our annual campaign. We are exceptionally grateful for the time, talent and resources provided by the chefs and the designers who have contributed to this event year after year, and to the entire community for their support of our programs for low-income families.”
Supporters of the event donated funds at several levels, ranging from individual tickets priced at $200 to contributions of $25,000. Those sponsors who pledged at the Silver Circle level included Francesca Fazzolari, James Alexander Corporation; Dolores and Jim Fernandez; Beverly and Bruce Gordon; Hilary A. Kruce, Esquire, and Vincent Signorile; Greg and Sue Murphy; The Honorable Lorraine and Dr. Tim Parker; Selective Insurance Company of America; and Rhoda and Norman Seider. Those who pledged their support at the Chairman’s Table level were Friends of Project Self-Sufficiency and Don Williams. The “President’s Club” was comprised of Franklin Mutual Insurance Company, John Marchioni, and J.P. Perry, Henry O. Baker Insurance.
To make a contribution to Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or 844-807-3500, or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.