The Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes Region, raised almost $110,000 at its fifth annual Culinary Clash, which brought together 400 guests.
The proceeds will support research and services for families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
At the invitation of the Association and the William and Sheila Konar Foundation, 115 current and former family caregivers attended the Culinary Clash as guests of honor. William Konar, a Holocaust survivor and philanthropist, died of Alzheimer’s in 2015.
“I’m committed to helping find a cure,” said his wife and care partner, Sheila Konar, who was sitting with other family caregivers at the event.
Brian Norton, of Pittsford, a former caregiver who lost his wife, Amy, to younger-onset Alzheimer’s in 2018, was honored at the Culinary Clash for his family’s involvement with the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. In the last five years, Norton and his children, Justin and Megan, raised more than $63,000 to fund Alzheimer’s research and support caregivers.
Executive chefs from six senior living communities — assisted by culinary arts students from Monroe Community College — created entrees for the evening, vying for two awards: the Top Chef Award from a panel of celebrity judges and People’s Choice Award from members of the audience.
Executive Chef Mark Alberghini from The Highlands at Pittsford walked away with the Top Chef Award, whereas his MCC apprentices YiYi Win, John Owen and Nicole Ellis received $500 scholarships.
Executive Chef Debbi Maruke from Jewish Senior Life took the People’s Choice Award. Her MCC apprentice, Marco Murcia, won a $500 scholarship.
The other four teams led by executive chefs Todd Klugh from St. Ann’s Community, Aaron Kulpa from Friendly Senior Living, Michael Schnupp from St. John’s Living and David Watkins from Episcopal SeniorLife Communities earned accolades from the judges and attendees.
“We appreciate the talents and enthusiasm of senior living chefs and culinary arts students who helped us create a thrilling event last night,” said Teresa Galbier, president and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Rochester and Finger Lakes Region. “We are also grateful to all our volunteers, donors and sponsors for supporting our mission and helping us serve the Rochester and Finger Lakes families affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”
The panel of celebrity judges included Andrew Banas, 13WHAM reporter; Max Gordon, owner of The Hideaway; Brian Mattice, chef and board member of the American Culinary Federation, Rochester chapter; Linh Philips, food blogger known as Sir Rocha Says; Stewart Putnam, former board member of the Alzheimer’s Association; and Jim Schaeffer, chef and vice president of culinary operations at Wegmans.