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Top Michigan Chefs Join Forces to Raise Funds for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

Published October 3, 2018 by

CHAMPS for Mott Culinary Gala raised over $200,000 to build a hybrid operating room.

by Cassie Kunze

Photography by Davey McLeod

Dearborn native, celebrity chef and actor David Burtka returned home to Michigan to host the fifth annual CHAMPS for Mott Culinary Gala Saturday, Sept. 29 at the Delta Airlines Hangar at Detroit Metro Airport. The event, featuring several of Michigan’s top chefs, raised more than $200,000 to build a hybrid operating room for C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. 

CHAMPS for Mott Culinary Gala Davey McLeod for SEEN Magazine

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital patient Simone Bedinger.

Dr. Jennifer Romano, a cardiac surgeon, said the hybrid operating room would benefit patients in several ways such as reducing chances of infection, increasing recovery rates, decreasing radiation exposure and improving long-term outcomes. 

“Having a hybrid (operating room), will just push our abilities even further. It will help us innovate in ways we don’t even know yet,” said Romano. “For a patient undergoing surgery this (operating room) will mean better chances at survival.” 

The strolling dinner featured 14 of Michigan’s top chefs including Nikita Sanches of Rock City Eatery in Detroit, Alex Young of The Standard Bistro & Larder in Ann Arbor, Ji Hye Kim of Miss Kim in Ann Arbor, Myles Anton of The Franklin and Trattoria Stella in Traverse City and more. 

CHAMPS for Mott Culinary GalaDavey McLeod for SEEN Magazine

Award-winning chef Shawn McClain shows off his dish: a cold smoked and charred New York strip with braised short rib and compressed heirloom potatoes.

Award-winning chef Shawn McClain has been a resident of southeast Michigan for seven years and plans to open his flagship restaurant at the General Motors Renaissance Center Tower in 2019. He served a cold smoked and charred New York strip with braised short rib and compressed heirloom potatoes. 

McClain has family friends whose children have received care at Mott so it’s important for him to support the University of Michigan, he said. 

CHAMPS for Mott Culinary GalaDavey McLeod for SEEN Magazine

Chef James Wilhelm of Black Pearl in Ann Arbor plates up his dish.

This is Black Pearl executive chef James Wilhelm’s second year serving at the Mott Gala. He has a cousin with autism, so he appreciates the work that Mott Children’s Hospital has done to help young patients.

“It’s really near and dear to my heart to help families and people that can use the things that this gala helps (to provide),” he said. 

Wilhelm served one of his favorite dishes off of the Ann Arbor restaurant’s menu: togarashi seared tuna and vegetable salad with miso yuzu dressing. 

CHAMPS for Mott Culinary GalaDavey McLeod for SEEN Magazine

Gary Mach auctions off an item.

An anonymous family whose child underwent a lifesaving surgery at Mott offered to match the total amount raised from the gala. The night’s proceeds were raised through sponsorships, ticket sales starting at $375 each, auctions and donations. 

CHAMPS for Mott Culinary GalaDavey McLeod for SEEN Magazine

Simone Bedinger and her parents present sports memorabilia to be auctioned off.

The live auction featured tickets to exclusive events, lavish getaways and sports memorabilia. A “Go Blue” basketball signed by Wolverines head coach John Beilein and a football signed by Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh sold for $3,100. 

The dedicated giving portion of the evening surpassed its goal of $50,00 and raised $65,850. 

CHAMPS for Mott Culinary GalaDavey McLeod for SEEN Magazine

Kristy Korth enjoys a plate from Le Detroit Macaron.

Birmingham resident Kristy Korth came to the gala to support her friend’s daughter, Stella, who was treated for leukemia at Mott Children’s Hospital and is now in remission. The hospital is treating 250 patients for varying illnesses and Korth said she was honored to support the parents and children facing similar situations. 

“You all are superheroes in my eyes,” said Burtka after watching an emotional video on how the hospital plans to integrate the new operating room. “The team (at Mott Children’s Hospital) is always putting the patients’ outcome first. As we have heard, this will benefit patients through Mott, the state of Michigan and the country.” 

See more photos from the gala above.

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