Inside Ivy Tech: Bon appétit

College fundraiser channels ‘The Rome of France’

Channeling the Italian heritage and architecture of Nimes, France, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast recently transformed Parkview Health’s Mirro Center for Research and Innovation into a one-night-only spectacle.

The Nov. 5 occasion marked A Reason to Taste: The Rome of France, the College’s fifth annual fundraising dinner and auction—an event that raised more than $108,000 for academic programs and student scholarships through the Ivy Tech Foundation.

A Reason to Taste: The Rome of France raised more than $108,000 for academic programs and student scholarships through the Ivy Tech Foundation. Click images to zoom.

“Hosting A Reason to Taste at the Mirro Center this year allowed us to spread out and give guests a truly spectacular dining experience,” says Oliver Barie, the College’s executive director of Resource Development. “Our culinary students do such a wonderful job with the meal, and I think everyone had an unforgettable night.”

The evening began when more than 250 guests assembled in the facility’s banquet hall, where they were immersed in the ambiance of Nimes: Italian-style café tables with oversized umbrellas, floor-to-ceiling cloth murals depicting Roman architecture, and a troupe of entertainers that included a caricature artist, juggler, and mime. The actual city, affectionately regarded as “The Rome of France,” is nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and Cevennes Mountains.

The 2016 A Reason to Taste planning committee selected Nimes as the fundraiser’s theme because the area was a memorable stopover for eight Ivy Tech Northeast students and a faculty chaperone during a two-week European culinary tour in May. The participating students earned a spot on the trip by winning the College’s annual European Competition—a four-hour skills challenge staged each January for hospitality administration students.

More than 250 guests assembled in the banquet hall at Parkview Health’s Mirro Center for Research and Innovation on Nov. 5, where they were immersed in the ambiance of Nimes, France. Ambience included Italian-style café tables with oversized umbrellas, floor-to-ceiling cloth murals depicting Roman architecture, and a troupe of entertainers that included a caricature artist, juggler, and mime. Click images to zoom.

Financial support for the culinary tour is made possible by A Reason to Taste donations. The winners who make the transatlantic trek bring back inspiration for each fundraiser’s menu in the fall, where they play an active role in creating, cooking, and serving the multi-course menu and wine pairings.

Among 2016’s European Competition winners was hospitality administration graduate Brenda Zemaitis.

“There were so many amazing culinary experiences on the most recent trip that it’s hard to choose just one, “ Zemaitis says. “My favorite tastings were all desserts, especially the infamous macaroon on this year’s menu.”

Guest and self-described “adventurous foodie” Evelyn Frierson expressed her fondness for the same raspberry macaroon with lemon curd filling.

“It was absolutely delicious,” Frierson says. “I will try to replicate many of tonight’s recipes at home.”

Reception sponsors

Ambassador Enterprises
Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union 166

Beverage sponsor

Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, and Spirits

Corporate sponsors

Auburn Gear
Barnes & Thornburg
BFGoodrich
Brooks Construction Company, Inc.
C&A Tool Engineering, Inc.
Elevatus Architecture
Fort Wayne Metals
Frontier Communications
Greater Fort Wayne, Inc.
Hagerman Construction
Ivy Tech Foundation
Kelley Automotive
Lincoln Financial
PNC Bank
Questa Education Foundation
Chuck & Lisa Surack and Sweetwater Sound
Wells Fargo
Whitley Manufacturing

Beverage sponsor

ABC 21 WPTA
Fort Wayne’s NBC

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