December 21, 2014

Scene & Heard

Celebrated Chefs

Let youth—and tasty delicacies—be served. The Naples Winter Wine Festival is bringing in a lot of young chefs to stir up fresh excitement for gourmet guests at the January 2011 event. Twelve of the 17 cooking superstars will be appearing at the world’s most successful wine festival for the first time, including Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey’s personal chef. Expect taste thrills galore. Many of the invited chefs are winners of awards from Michelin and the James Beard Foundation. "We thought it fitting to welcome many first-time chefs as we enter a new decade of giving," says Cynthia Sherman, who, along with husband Bruce, is co-chairing the Jan. 28–30 festival.

$100,000 Raised

The Arts for ACT auction at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa in Estero drew a crowd of nearly 600 and raised almost $100,000 for the Abuse Counseling Treatment Center. Nice numbers for the August event, but a little shy of the totals of past years. In times gone by, there were celebrity auctioneers such as Sharon Stone, Meryl Streep and Lily Tomlin, who could help rake in as much as $850,000 per event. The economy was better then, and longtime supporter and world-famous artist Robert Rauschenberg was around to attract the celebs, crowds and dollars for this worthy cause. With his passing, it’s a challenge to draw such glitzy auctioneers. Going forward, it’s just a matter of time before organizers figure out strategies to get those numbers moving north again. I just know it.

Baby Coming

Congratulations to NBC2 meteorologist Haley Webb and her husband, Jon. They’re expecting their first child at the end of the year. Can Haley slip right into her new role? You bet. As the morning meteorologist, she is used to very little sleep and getting in to work each day at about 3 a.m. You think that’s not good training for those late-night feedings?

 

Martini Glass Vaper

Lights! Camera! Glasses! John Travolta! Sarah Jessica Parker! Venus Williams! That other Naples festival, the Naples International Film Festival, is creating a buzz with a collection of one-of-a-kind, celebrity-autographed martini glasses. They’ve got the above-mentioned stars and more. The glasses are on display all this month and will be auctioned off Nov. 1. Great way to whet our appetite for this year’s event Nov. 4–7. I can’t wait to see what films they’ll come up with this time around. Last year—with The Cove and others—sure showed what our festival can do.

 

Barbies and Blondes

If it’s a Shirlene Elkins birthday celebration, it isn’t going to be just cake and blowing out the candles. No, the August event for this socialite and community leader was themed "getting in touch with your inner child" and had Barbie dolls playing at sports and activities scattered about in various strategic places. Add, too, the theme "blondes have more fun" and you got many guests in their finest blonde wigs. Quite a scene. And when all this good fun took place at the home of Sandi and Tom Moran, you know one more thing: With Sandi’s standing as the Bailli of the Naples chapter of La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs (a prestigious international gastronomic society), the sit-down dinner was beyond superb. Yes, Shirlene, happy birthday, and many more zany times to come!

Designer Rings

Naples jewelry designer Amanda Jaron turns heads with her dazzling creations. Locally, you’ll see her pieces on fashionistas such as Mary Susan Clinton at elite social and charity events. You’ll also see Amanda’s creations on celebrities such as Sharon Stone. But beyond the glitter of her business side, Amanda has a very basic agenda
of helping those in need. The latest is that she has donated some very special designer rings for the Love That Dress event to raise money for the PACE Center for Girls in Lee County. And she has taken the time, too, to conduct some jewelry-making classes for the girls at the center. Beautiful stuff all around.

Women Only

Wine, women and joy! Former Chico’s executive Sharon Torregrossa is packing them in at her monthly Women’s Wine Club outings. The women gather the fourth Tuesday of every month for a four-course meal with four wine pairings. No men allowed. In July, the demand was so great, there had to be two events at Angelina’s Ristorante in Bonita Springs to accommodate all participants. More than 110 women attended the August event at Bayfront Bistro on Fort Myers Beach. Let
us toast Sharon … and may the good times keep rolling.

 

Dynamic Duo

That dashing Captiva couple Harry and Sandy Stilwell Silverglide keep making news. As part of his winning bid at the Naples Winter Wine Festival, Harry appeared last summer on The Simpsons. The Fox show created a character named Harry with a mustache and ponytail that, big surprise, looked just like him. A tip of the camera to him. And a tip of the glass to Sandy: For the fourth year in a row, her Keylime Bistro on Captiva Island won a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence.