‘Meet the Chefs’ pulls in $125,000 for kids

Nearly 300 food enthusiasts and passionate community members gathered to attend Casa de Amparo’s 19th annual Meet the Chefs on April 26 at the Hilton San Diego/Del Mar.

The popular fundraiser raised $125,000, a 20 percent increase compared with 2014. The funds will directly benefit Casa de Amparo’s programs, which treat and prevent child abuse and neglect throughout San Diego County and beyond.

Meet the Chefs drew nearly 300 food fans and raised $125,000 for Casa de Amparo.

This year, four of Casa de Amparo’s former foster youth, Marchel Branche, PreaJhana (PJay) Anderson, Veronica Thomas and Ricky Standard, worked alongside chefs. The Casa Kids gained invaluable experience from chefs Anthony Ventura of Dolce Pane E Vino, Mason Garske of The Brigantine, Roberto Carboni of Il Fornaio, and Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille.

“I love cooking for guests! It’s my coping skill and is very calming to me. I really have to focus and maintain a positive attitude to cook great food,” said PJay, 19.

During the poolside event, guests had the opportunity to sample food from 15 premier restaurants and chefs from countries around the world, including England, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Taiwan and Morocco. Guests sampled savory foods such as pennoni alla vodka, smoked confit duck breast, seared scallops, grilled lamb chops, and tuna and salmon sashimi.

Casa de Amparo (Home of Protection) treats and prevents child abuse and neglect in San Diego County and beyond. Visit