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Charitable meal tastes the Sweetest

How making a dish helps grant a wish

Chef Brad Chaloupka prepairs white wine garlic mussles in Maggianos Restaurant Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Wauwatosa, Wis.  Chaloupka was prepairing for a find-raiser to be held for Childrens Hospital and the Make a Wish Foundation.

Chef Brad Chaloupka prepairs white wine garlic mussles in Maggianos Restaurant Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012, in Wauwatosa, Wis. Chaloupka was prepairing for a find-raiser to be held for Childrens Hospital and the Make a Wish Foundation. Photo By Peter Zuzga

Oct. 24, 2012

Participants at Maggiano's Italian Restaurant got to play sous chef for Sweetest Day, making an aphrodisiac-laden meal complete with a dessert and wine pairing, all for a charitable cause.

The event, titled From Sous Chefs to Sweethearts, cost $50 and was co-sponsored by Tammy Flynn's E Events, which hosts the annual Evening of Elegance. All of the money raised from the 20 participants went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

The menu included mussels, chop salad, lemon crème mahi and a tiramisu, all paired with wine throughout the evening. The participants also received the menu and instructions on how to cook the items at home.

Brad Chaloupka, Maggiano's sous chef, created the menu and provided the instruction for the night. It was the first time he served both an entertainment and educational role as a cook. He kept the menu simple so participants could take the items home and make the instruction simpler.

Flynn and Maggiano's have partnered with charitable events since the first Evening of Elegance four years ago, but this is the first time where the two have been sole partners in fundraising.

Chaloupka said, "I've been with the company for five months now and I'm really impressed with their involvement with the community."

The banquet manager and Flynn both brainstormed ideas for an event that would involve them in a direct partnership and take place in the restaurant like their initial partnership with Evening of Elegance. Flynn had wanted an adult cooking class and the restaurant wanted a charitable, in-house fundraiser.

Maggiano's as a chain has a partnership with the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The restaurant hosts an annual national program called "Eat a Dish for Make a Wish" held between May and June. The restaurant's national goal is to underwrite two wishes for the foundation.

Flynn began her charitable work after her son Marcus was born. "Marcus was born with special needs," said Flynn. "He has had multiple medical issues, including global and cognitive delay and he will be with me for the rest of my life and he is really precious and he really helped me in thinking what we can do with the community for both organizations that are near and dear to my heart."

Since then, Flynn has hosted three Evenings of Elegance, a black-tie fundraiser that takes place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and has raised more than $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Children's Hospital. Through her E Events organization, Flynn hosts several other events including the Wishes in Wonderland Breakfast with Santa, which takes place at Dave and Busters in Wauwatosa and has historically raised $10,000 per year.

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