A Reason to Taste brings in $70k–and looks really pretty

If you passed the Student Life Center gym at all late last week, you may have noticed some bustle going on–gray tableclothed tables with elaborate centerpieces, hallway furniture repurposed as lounges beneath large Edison light bulbs encased in wire globes.

It was all for A Reason to Taste, Ivy Tech Northeast’s biggest fundraiser for the year. Through ticket sales, fund-a-need donations, and silent auction items, we raised nearly $70,000 for student scholarships. Let’s pass out some cyber high-fives, shall we?

I could tell you what a great event it was, but I’d rather show you. Here are some of my favorite moments. You can find even more on the College’s Flickr page. (Yes, we have a Flickr page.)

First, let’s start with the gym. Not exactly a place for basketball anymore, wouldn’t you say?
rtt3With an open bar, no less. We’re still grateful to Ivy Tech Northeast alumna Donna Kessler (not pictured) for being so great and stocking the bar. Go get some dinner at Calhoun Street Soup, Salad, and Spirits (1915 S. Calhoun St., Fort Wayne) and tell her thanks, would you?
rtt4The A Reason to Taste dinner is largely created and made by hospitality administration students. Say hi!
rtt6After guests registered, they received a glass of champagne from student servers. Cheers!
rtt5That’s assistant instructor Cheryl Hitzemann. It was all-hands-on-deck at A Reason to Taste. Hospitality Administration faculty and students prepared a five-course meal for 240 guests.
rtt2Cole Huffman is a hospitality administration student who got to travel to France to study culinary arts this may. That’s the basis for the A Reason to Taste menu. Check out the behind-the-scenes story and hear more from Cole.
rtt7No party is complete without a photobooth and playful props. That’s Tommy Shoegler and Melissa Long (at right) in the top photo, from 21Alive. They were the event’s emcees. The final photo is some coworkers and moi (top left). We are a snazzy crew.collageI have to leave you with my favorite image of the night. There was a lot of fun and laughter at the event, and I don’t think there’s an image to sum it up better than this one.

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Ivy Tech Northeast raises nearly $60,000 for student scholarships at annual Reason to Taste event

The gym in the Student Life Center on North Campus was transformed into a banquet hall for A Reason to Taste.

The gym in the Student Life Center on North Campus was transformed into a banquet hall for A Reason to Taste.

In its second year, Ivy Tech Community College Northeast’s A Reason to Taste has raised nearly $60,000, which all goes to the Ivy Tech Foundation, the scholarship arm of the college.

The event took place the evening of Oct. 12 in the Student Life Center on Ivy Tech Northeast’s North Campus, 3701 Dean Drive.

Hospitality Administration students who win the chance to travel to France to study cooking for two weeks put on the event. They create the menu, prepare the food, serve, and bus, with the help of an event committee and some Ivy Tech Northeast employees.

“It’s an out-of-the-box experience to have culinary students cook the total gourmet dinner for you under the chef’s tutelage,” committee member Donna Packnett said. “It was phenomenal.”

Students created menus and prepared the dishes for a five-course meal. The entree was beef bourguignon with a potato tower and vegetables.

Students created menus and prepared the dishes for a five-course meal. The entree was beef bourguignon with a potato tower and vegetables.

The menu included dishes like beef bourguignon and a dessert trio of pear frangipane tart, a maple pumpkin pots de crème, and a chocolate macaroon.

Visit Ivy Tech Northeast’s flickr page to see photos from the event and check out two videos on the college’s YouTube channel featuring students who traveled to France and helped prepare the event menu.

Next year’s event has been scheduled for Oct. 25, 2014. Those who are interested in sponsorship opportunities and/or serving on the planning committee can contact Mary Jo Toenges at mtoenges@ivytech.edu or 260-481-2243.