Morgan Freeman Dinner Raises $80,000 for Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center
Sandestin, FL (July 3, 2012)…Forty-five guests from the local area and across the country, arrived at the home of Stephan and Lori Karian in Burnt Pine at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. The exclusive dinner, held in June, was prepared by renowned area chefs with the guest of honor being none other than the academy award-winning actor, Morgan Freeman. Wine aficionados Michael and Valerie Thompson, also Sandestin residents, began organizing and hosting parties in their home that over the years has officially become the Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown to benefit numerous Gulf Coast charities. This past April, the 6th Annual Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown was comprised of numerous events which began with Emeril Lagasse sharing his culinary expertise at Lovelace Interiors in Destin, Florida. Other events included a Sip ‘n’ Shop for the ladies at participating boutiques along Scenic Corridor 30-A, a golf tournament at Kelly Plantation, and the grand finale, an outdoor barbeque competition at the Thompsons’ home. Five teams competed, including guest of honor Emeril Lagasse, with celebrity judges naming the best barbeque team and guests voting a People’s Choice winner. An integral part of the Throwdown is a prize bevy of unique live auction items including a Hawaiian vacation, Napa Valley tourings and tastings, George Rodrigue art, dinner with Morgan Freeman, and more. The Throwdown hosted 125 exclusive guests who opened their hearts and their wallets to make the event a remarkable success, raising an astonishing $528,444.
That brings us back to the heart of the story. A dinner with Morgan Freeman was auctioned for $80,000 with one hundred percent of the proceeds directly benefiting the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. In late June, the Karians graciously hosted a stellar evening where guests enjoyed one-on-one visits with Morgan Freeman, entertainment by Geoff McBride who starred on NBC’s The Voice, and a 5-course wine dinner. Well-known area chefs from Stinky’s Fish Camp/Blue Mountain Catering Jim Richard, Todd Misener and Brannon Janca, together with David Cunningham of “V” Seagrove, prepared the sumptuous dinner. Wine pairings were provided by Dan Kosta, partner of Kosta Browne Winery from the Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California. Sysco generously donated the gourmet dinner and Freeman donated his time for his appearance for the Throwdown. “We were quite mesmerized by Morgan Freeman and his generosity,” commented hostess Lori Karian. “He literally spent time with everyone. Our guests thoroughly enjoyed the evening; in fact, they even started dancing during the appetizers while Morgan Freeman sang along with Geoff McBride. The most rewarding component of the evening is that everything benefited the needs of the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center.”