April 12, 2005
Besides serving up appetizing food, the annual Scottsdale Culinary Festival is raising funds to save arts programs for local students.
Last year it helped pay for 16,000 Scottsdale students to attend theater and other fine arts performances, said Pam Krewson, president of the Arts in Education Council for Scottsdale.
Donations from events like the culinary festival are one reason funding for the arts in Scottsdale has stayed stable as programs in other Arizona schools suffer from budget cuts, Krewson said.
The annual culinary festival will be today through Sunday, with proceeds going to the Scottsdale League for the Arts. The league distributes the funds to at least 29 local nonprofit artsrelated organizations.
"We are advocates and lobby hard for quality fine arts education," said Debbie Christensen, the league’s president.
The league paid $195,000 in grants after expenses from last year’s culinary festival and hopes to raise $250,000 this year, she said.
"Le Tour Culinaire," a progressive dinner on Saturday, will begin at and return to the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa after visiting six other restaurants.
Robert McGrath, owner of Roaring Fork Restaurant, said he is glad his restaurant can help.
"Being in Scottsdale it makes sense for us to be supporting the arts and charities," McGrath said.
About 24 Valley restaurants are participating in Le Tour Culinaire. Participants will have a three-course meal with each course being served at a different place.
Trollies will provide transportation. A wine representative will accompany each coach to help match wines with entrées.
The cost of Le Tour Culinaire is $175 per participant. Tom Brewington of Barcelona Scottsdale said his restaurant is pulling out the stops to make it a worthwhile event.
"We’re going to have a second appetizer of truffle-infused soup that has a shaved Mallard duck breast on it with a piece of Hudson Valley foie gras," Brewington said. "It will embody all the things you want in an appetizer or a main course."
Scottsdale Culinary Festival
What: Benefit for Scottsdale League for the Arts
When: Today through Sunday
• For specific events, times, locations, associated costs and appropriate dress, call (480) 945-7193 or visit www.scottsdaleculinaryfestival.org|