Evening of Fine Food Raises $160K for QCP

By Celia Bernhardt | cbernhardt@queensledger.com

Over 600 Queens residents came out on Feb. 27 to celebrate the Queens Center for Progress’s 28th annual Evening of Fine Food. 

Hosted at Terrace on the Park in Flushing Meadows, the evening featured scores of local restaurants, caterers, bakeries and more, each with their own booth dolling out samples throughout the night. Attendees could also take part in a Silent Auction, casino games, and a photo booth. 

The night brought in over $160,000 to support QCP’s work of assisting individuals with developmental disabilities in leading more independent lives. 

QCP highlighted two “Chefs of the Year” who have made a difference and impact in their  community. Frank J. Quatela, Owner and Principal Architect at Frank J. Quatela Architect, P.C., and Hersh K. Parekh, Esq., Deputy Chief of Intergovernmental Affairs at the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey received the honors. The two served their community in a different way for the event, cooking up a family specialty to serve alongside other vendors. 

The Claire Shulman “Spirit of Community” award,, was presented to Lara Gregory, Esq., Queens Community Leader, QCP Board Member, and Principal Attorney at Lara Gregory and Associates.

“When we look for Chefs of the Year, we look for people who are engaged in the community, who have a lot of friends in the community and great contacts of the community, which helps us out in terms of raising money, of course,”  Wendy Phaff Gennaro, director of development at QCP, said. “But we’ve always focused on folks in Queens who make a difference in their personal and professional lives with people around them… then we started the Claire Shulman award about three years ago, and that is similar to the Chefs of the Year, but really just a merit based award for people who really are out there every day volunteering — sometimes it’s food related, sometimes it’s not — but people who really are out there giving time and their services to the community.”

Phaff Gennaro has helped organize the past fifteen Evenings of Fine Food. Still, she says, “it’s never old hat.”

“The word ‘elated’ came to mind this year,” Phaff Gennaro said. “We raised so much money, and when I look around the room, and I see people enjoying themselves and having a good time…it just makes me feel really good.”

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