New Jersey Top Chef Ariane Duarte who appeared on TV’s Top Chef and husband/partner Michael Duarte teamed up with Chef Amanda Freitag from Food Networks’s CHOPPED, and Carla Hall from ABC’s The Chew, for an evening of food, wine, friends, and charity last month at the Duarte’s CulinAriane in Montclair.
The dream of Chef Ariane (part of the restaurant’s namesake) and partner/husband/pastry Chef Michael Duarte took shape 18 years ago, when the two graduated from the Culinary Institute of America. It has since blossomed into a superbly received dinner spot beloved by neighborhood gourmands and critics alike. From the cornmeal crusted oysters to the warm blueberry cobbler, only the freshest, top quality and often rare ingredients are masterfully combined.
Louie’s Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting childhood obesity, is introducing a new athletic mentoring initiative, Run Buddies, to the NJ/NY area. Founder of Louie’s Kids, Louis Yuhasz, explains, “We are the folks who find the fix that fits any kid who needs us.” Ariane and Carla met Louis at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival. “It was simple for us,” says Duarte, “because you can’t be a Chef, mom or American for that matter and not understand this critical health problem that affects millions of children today.”
According to Yuhasz, “When Ariane and the ladies found out we’d be launching a new athletic mentoring program called Run Buddies in New York City in the spring of 2012, they wanted to help. This benefit dinner is right up their alley and an excellent way to welcome us to the New York and New Jersey areas. We strive to get kids into kitchens and learn to cook healthy, affordable food.”
The event was hosted at CulinAriane, and featured a wine paired dinner and charity auction. The evening began with a champagne toast and was highlighted by Ariane Duarte and Chef Freitag who collaborated on the menu. Pastry maven Michael Duarte then prepared the dessert course.
Among the many luxury items for auction was an extraordinary weekend for two in Charleston, South Carolina, including airfare from Southwest Airlines, hotel accommodations donated by The Charleston Place Hotel, dinners at award winning restaurants, Fig and HUSK, and a Charleston harbor tour, and a carriage ride.