Tag Archives: Aqua turf

Liver Foundation Serves “Flavors” With Flair And Celebrity Chefs

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liver10 (2)He was the kind of guy you couldn’t ignore as he stood in the doorway at the Aqua Turf, suave but not showy in his tux, and clearly happy to be at the American Liver Foundation CT Division’s annual “Flavors of Ct” fundraiser.
And it didn’t matter that he was only 11, because Christian Mercado,  who suffers from liver disease, knew how to work a room as the evening’s featured guest.
“I’ve worn tuxes before,” the North Haven youngster explained, easily handling yet anotherliver99 interview as hundreds of people arrived for the black-tie event featuring sophisticated sit-down wine-paired dinners prepared by a who’s who of celebrity chefs and served at lushly set tables worthy of any food/wine/home magazine cover. “I’m excited about tonight,” said the North Haven middle-school student. “I can’t wait to speak to the audience.”
“He wants to be an actor,” grinned his mother Nancy Rodriguez who explained her son has an immune system problem that results in his liver not working correctly. “As you can see, he’s such a ham.”

While the 11-year-old was the center of attention, the celebrity chefs who stepped up to cook and serve their gourmet dinners were the stars.
Among them, some of the Hartford area’s favorites including Carbone’s Vinnie Carbone, Besito’s Tim East, Cugino’s Mario Cirikovic, Peppercorn’s Dino Cialfi, Café Colt’s Harry Schwartz, Infinity’s Dan Fortin Hot Tomato’s Kevin Ruoff and The Willows Leo Bushey.
Bushey, once the chef at several area restaurants including Acqua Oyster Bar, The Simsbury Inn and The Hartford Club once again showed his cooking skills and then his table setting expertise as well, creating a decorative presentation that was all edible.

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“You know how I am about farm-to-table and not wasting anything,” he grinned about the display at his Bristol restaurant’s table that won “Best Flora Table Design.” Besides an array of edible spring flowers including miniature daffodils and lavender piled in rustic containers, and crudités cleverly doing dual duty as part of the table’s decorative diorama, the ”dirt” that served as the table runner was actually edible savory and sweet chocolate cake crumbs.
Millwright’s, whose owner/executive chef Tyler Anderson also served as the evening’s Honorary Chef, won “Something Out of Nothing” award for his table. The Wharf at Madison Beach Hotel, whose table was reflective a tony summer dinner under a pergola, won the “Best Guest Giveaway” award thanks to the canvas tote bags full of gifts on each guest’s chair.

Clear Channel’s Renee DiNino served as master of ceremonies.
“I like to come to this just because sitting in this room and seeing so many beautiful tables filledliver5 with so much good food makes me want to go home and try harder in my own dining room,” laughed Grace Watkins, a pharmaceutical representative who was part of the crowd. “I think this is one of the prettiest and tastiest fundraisers there are in the state” she said. “And it all benefits a very good cause.”
Other prize winners were: “Most Elegant Table Design,” Bin 100 in Milford and Mambo in New Haven;“Most Witty Table Design” La Tavola in Waterbury and “Best Overall Table Design,” Caseus, New Haven.
For more pictures go here.

Ireland Brings Beauty, Business Sense, Good Nature To Business Forum

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MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

Beauty, brains and a great sense of humor are possible.

And if you were one of the 500 women at Friday’s 31st Annual Business Women’s Forum “Be The Change” at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville, you learned how first-hand from uber model and business tycoon Kathy Ireland.

The former supermodel turned CEO of Kathy Ireland Worldwide sashayed into the forum where she shared stories and information, all the time admitting she wished there had been such women’s business gatherings when she stepped off the runway and into the board room in 1993.

“Women are multi-taskers who are each other’s best supporters,” said the very personable and still very stunning Ireland, a busy mother who was named one of the 50 most influential people in fashion by Fairchild Publications.  “Women handle business differently,” she said and while stopping short of being a bit proud of her gender and their business acumen, noted that studies show females have a 25 percent edge when it comes to success in the business world.

“In business it is all about connecting and women do that well,” she said. “They aren’t afraid to learn from each other.”


MaryEllen Fillo/Hartford Courant

But Ok. Maybe the business magnate, who says the boardroom is far better than the catwalk,  is incredibly successful, what with a clothing line, furniture line, accessories line and a new “Once upon A Christmas” line that drops soon at kathyireland.com.

But she was a model and that means some fashion tips please.

“Three things you should have in your closet,” she reported. “Good lighting, comfortable shoes and Spanx,” she suggested.

And in the boardroom?

“Love of others, belief in yourself and a lot of curiosity.”




Hot Enough For You Hartford? Time For Some Summer Fun

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calendar_clip_art-1.29213820_std[1]Yes, it’s hot but remember those snowstorms and the cherished thoughts of summer and weekend fun?

It’s time.

Fun this week begins Thursday at 5:30 p.m. when Community Connections hosts its annual “Summer Social-Party in the Park” at Bushnell Park. The evening party includes tours of the park arch, carousel rides, music, food and drinks. Information: leadershipgh.org

Then head over to Real Art Ways for the “Bottoms Up” cocktail event featuring author Tim Federle.

TTEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD coverhe event, sponsored by RAW and The Mark Twain House & Museum, features the fun guy whose new book “Tequila Mockingbird, Cocktails With A Literary Twist,” celebrates literary classics and classic cocktails. The evening includes a showing of the documentary “Hey Bartender” followed by some of the book’s best cocktails and a book signing with Federle.

Tickets are $15 for RAW and MTH&M members, and $20 for the general public.

On Thursday, you can also head over to the Aqua Turf in Plantsville for the Calvanese Foundation’s Fifth Annual “Beer & Wine Tasting Festival” from 5:30 to 9;30

More than 60 vendors of beer and wine will be featured at the event which benefits foundation charities. Tickets are $30 at the door.

On Friday, treat yourself and go over to Simsbury’s Talcott Mountain for “Sinatra Under the sin2 (2)Stars,” a tribute to the greatest hits of Frank Sinatra, featuring the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and vocalist/trumpeter Rob Zappulla and his Big Band beginning at 7:30 p.m. The show is part of the HSO summer music festival series. Pack a picnic, grab a couple of chairs and a blanket and feel free to make a night of it. The gate opens at 6 p.m. The HSO Education Tent there, open from 6 to 7:15 p.m. offers family friendly activities such as music-themed games and crafts, the “Instrument Zoo,” and youth performances. In the case of severe weather, this concert will be performed on Saturday, July 13 at the same time. Single tickets range in price from $20-$45; and lawn tickets for kids 12 and under are $5. Information: 860-244-2999 or www.hartfordsymphony.org.

Whferriswheel[1]o doesn’t like a carnival and fireworks and a parade in the middle of summer? Tunxis Hose Co. #1 in the Unionville section of Farmington will deliver all three this weekend. The carnival opens Thursday and continues through Saturday, with fireworks planned for Friday night and the parade on Saturday. For more information go to tunxishose.com

On Sunday, the annual GE 5K Road Race, benefiting the Petit Family petiotrace2Foundation will be held in Plainville. Registration begins at 7 a.m. with adult races and walks beginning at 9 a.m. There are also kid walks, activities and a formal program. Information: petitroadrace.com




Best Food In the State? We’ll Know Monday

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food1food2food4Celebrity foodies including former “Hell’s Kitchen” finalist  and Jordan Caterer exec chef Kevin Cottle and culinary expert Prudence Sloane were among those who traipsed to the Aqua Turf club in Plantsville Thursday to judge the annual Product Awards competition sponsored each year by the CT Specialty Food Association.

More than 180 products produced in Connecticut were vying for awards in categories including cheese, wines, jams, dressings, breads, desserts, vinegars, frozen food, snack food and sweet toppings.

“We had a different balance this year,” said organizer Tricia Levesque, association director. “A lot of newer companies entered and some of our veteran companies chose not to compete, but we have almost the same number of entries as last year.”

The annual event is designed to showcase local food producers from around the state and determine who makes the best of the best in Connecticut.

Tabulating scores from judges won’t be done until Friday with winners being announced on Monday.

For the record, Java was a judge for the fourth year in a row, this year judging jams, non-alcoholic beverages, gluten-free snacks and desserts and vinegars.  A perfect workday!

Last year Chaplin Farms LLC of Chaplin  won “product of the year”  with its apple pie jam.