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Ladles Of Love Serves Up A Charitable Feast Of Food And Song

Originally Posted: August 07, 2009

The food tent was crowded with attendees enjoying the delicious fare offered from more than 40 local area restaurants, and wine and beer distributors, as well as the opportunity to support a worthy cause. Photos by Eileen Casey

John Kowalenko welcomes and thanks the attendees.

Amagansett - In an effort to fill the empty shelves at local food pantries, John Kowalenko and Cheryl Stair of Art of Eating, and Hampton Event Management, made a commendable effort on Monday, Aug. 3, by launching the first "Ladles of Love" outdoor benefit concert at Principi Farm in Amagansett.

While the weather accommodated the event, the farm was set up with a large tent housing food and wine tastings from more than 40 local restaurants, caterers and vineyards. An absolute feast was to be had - if you couldn't find something you enjoyed - then you simply were not not looking hard enough.

Delicious, well prepared foods served by friendly representatives of each restaurant made for an atmosphere of culinary delights to be enjoyed. Wine and beer and water and soda and ice cream and fudge and treats, treats, treats galore - partaking of the offerings of just one of two samples would have been foolish. A strategic plan was immediately called for. Beginning on the left side upon entering the tent and moving around the perimeter for a complete circle was the only way to sample everything - so we did.

All participating food pantries had tables set up and representatives were ready to answer any questions, as well as collect donations.

Clean tables with linen cloths and comfortable chairs were contained in the center of the tent, and tall tables to stand and nibble were also scattered throughout. Attendees were able to 'park' in front of one or two particular favorite vendors and dig in. I personally enjoyed the lobster rolls offered by Gosman's and the assortment of shucked clams from Stuart's Seafood.

Musical performances included Band of Brothers (Simon Kirk from Bad Company, G.E. Smith from "Saturday Night Live," John Conte from Billy Joel, Jeff Kazee from Bon Jovi, and Southside Johnny [and The Asbury Jukes']), as well as Bastards of Boom, The Surf Dogs, Mama Lee Rose and Friends, Danni D., Rob Cannillo, and special guests.

Representatives from the Sag Harbor Food Pantry were on hand as well.

Numerous East End restaurants participated, as well as local wine and beer purveyors, including Ace Metro Beverage, Art of Eating Catering, Babette's, The Clam Bar, Dark Horse Catering, Della Femina, Estia's Little Kitchen, Exquisite Foods, Foody's, Gurney's Inn, Hamptons Coffee Company, Runaways, The Seafood Shop, Southampton Publick House, Stuart's Seafood Market, Taste of the North Fork, Thyme & Again, Wildthyme, Gosman's, and Wolffer Estate Vineyards. All leftover food from the tasting was donated to the food pantries immediately after the event.

The public was encouraged to bring non-perishable items that were collected at the 'door.' Kowalenko set a donation goal of 10,000 pounds. All profits from the event will be donated to the East End Food Pantry Network, including Sacred Heart Church in Southampton, Mother Theresa Outreach Center in Montauk, East Hampton Food Pantry, Sag Harbor Food Pantry, St. Anne's Episcopal Church in Bridgehampton, Wainscott Food Pantry, Springs Community Presbyterian Church, St. Rosalie's Church in Hampton Bays, Greenport Food Pantry and Immaculate Conception in Westhampton. In all, 10 food pantries will receive proceeds and donations. An Amagansett Food Pantry will be formed using monies raised from "Ladles of Love" and will also receive donated items.

Attendees brought chairs and good spirits to Principi Farm in Amagansett to hear music, eat great food, and show support for their communities.

Along with the great food and drink, the tent also offered tables set up by many of the food pantries whose representatives offered startling and disturbing information on the food supply shortages affecting the East End. There were also items for the silent auction, including a signed guitar by Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, as well as jewelry, art and other items. One company, Four Peace, was selling terrific hats made with organic materials, and "Ladles of Love" tee-shirts were also available.

The East End community previously banded together for January's "Ladles of Love" fundraiser which succeeded in raising more than $10,000, and the final weight of the food poundage including donations and leftover products from the event totaled 2,124 pounds.

The music continued all evening, with the Band of Brothers playing for more than an hour as the headliner, much to the delight of the audience.

A wonderful and satisfying evening was enjoyed by all, with reasonable ticket prices, a beautiful location, a professionally organized and well-run event, plus great food and music, and a worthy cause, reminded all that we should all be grateful and that when 'my cup runneth over' there may be others who are not as fortunate.

Donations may also be made by direct deposit at Bridgehampton National Bank or to "Ladles of Love," c/o Hampton Event Management, P.O. Box 643, Amagansett, NY 11930. For more information about "Ladles of Love" call 631-267-3312 or visit www.ladlesoflove.org.

Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.


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