Spagio and the Pleasure Guild: Celebration of Wine, Food and Dining with the Stars.
Posted by cmh gourmand on March 1, 2011
I like to say Pleasure Guild. It sounds fun. However, the work this special group of people performs can be deadly serious. The Guild came into existence in 1908. The volunteers of the Pleasure Guild do many things to benefit the young patients of Children’s Hospital as well as the community of children in our city. The most important and critical activity that the Pleasure Guild engages in is sustaining and supporting the Pediatric Hospice and Palliative Care program at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. This is the only program of the kind in Central Ohio. Any child (and their family) with a terminal illness needs and cherishes this program.
This venerable volunteer organization paired with a veteran, iconic local restaurant, Spagio for The Celebration of Wine, Food and Dining with the Stars. Spagio is one of a handful of restaurants remaining from the genesis of the current Columbus culinary scene. It started life in 1981 as the Gourmet Market under the guidance of Chef Hubert Seifert. Chef Hubert continues to craft cuisine at Spagio and remains dedicated to the culinary community in and outside of Columbus. He is able to lure his chef friends from around the country and the globe to come to Columbus to help him out with a great event to support a greater cause.
I was able to attend this event for the first time on February 28th. I was impressed by the pedigree of chefs and guests in attendance for the evening. Sixteen chefs served up seventeen special dishes from Spagio’s kitchen for sampling. Several wineries shared their vintages. Some very generous donors offered impressive silent auction items. Many individuals and organizations put their money where their mouths are (and later in the form of food put that money back in their mouths) by forking out $225 per seat or more.
A good cause supported by a dedicated group of volunteers and professionals is not uncommon in Columbus. In reality, it seems that our city has some charity fueled food oriented event every week and often several to choose from on any given night most months. I think this reflects well on our city and the community of culinary all-stars and others that are willing to step up to the plate when there is need. Columbus is a city of giving whether it is through our pocket books or volunteering time or cooking up something on a day off.
This event was special because it is truly an exceptional cause. What most impressed me was thirteen of the super chefs were from outside of Columbus and Ohio yet they were willing to come to Spagio because Chef Hubert asked them to help. That says a lot about the Chef and the work that The Pleasure Guild does. Thanks from me too, everyone with a contribution to this event has my respect.
I am listing the names of the chefs as an additional thank you and because if you have not heard of them, you will and if you have not dined with them, you should.
Bill Bradley, Tom Fleming, John Hogan, Paul Kahan, William Koval, Gonzalo Martinez Cardenas, Frederic de Villeneuve, Shawn McClain, Mike Sheerin, Allen Sternweiler, Paul Virant, Dean Zanella, and Angelika Zossmayr. A special shout out to Mike Sheerin who works with my high school chum Saucission MAC at Three Floyds Brewpub and who made the best dish of the night in the form of braised snails with chicken and smoked beluga lentils. Bravo!
The three local chefs helping out are no strangers to my palate and always worthy of a kudo for the work they do: Brian Hinshaw from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, Hartmut Handke and of course Chef Hubert. The highlight of the evening for many in attendance occurs after the food has been served, most of the wine has been poured and items auctioned off. Those that can still move about linger around and chat with the chefs on the other side of the kitchen. A night with friends is always a good way to start a week and this event shows that yes, Columbus does know how to have fun on a Monday night.