"It started with my fear of dying-- that everything goes with me."
To say that Geeta Bansal has been through a lot is an understatement. As chef of Clay Oven and a Stick A Fork In It contributor, her emotional journey as a breast cancer patient sent her to places that weren't always geographical. While in recovery last year, there were days when it was hard for her just to get up in the morning. It was with the support of Hoag Hospital's team that she bounced back stronger than ever. In return, Geeta wanted to do something special not only for the incredible nursing staff, but for the doctors and entire center. They are the driving force behind most everything she does.
Her goal: To conduct an event where 100% of the proceeds go to a worthy cause. Based on everything she told us, it's looking that way. A bonus is knowing she's collaborated with some of our favorite chefs.
The entourage includes Little Sparrow's Eric Samaniego, James Hamamori of Hamamori, Amar Santana from Broadway, Pierre Albaladejo of Park Hyatt Aviara Resort and Greg Daniels of The Haven Collective. An eclectic group to match Geeta's vision for this event, she is excited to work with idealistic, straight-thinking chefs. Donations from Surfas and 'Lette macarons, plus Bloomingdale's Fashion Island offering their space as backdrop for these festivities are unselfish examples of their commitment to the goal. Even checks mailed in are made out to the Hoag Hospital Foundation.
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Geeta doesn't think of it as a fundraiser, but as an excuse to get down, drink fine wine and honor individuals making strides in the fight against breast cancer. She also admits that, after a great deal of soul searching, she has other endeavors. One of them is to start food philanthropy involving charities as well as community involvement. And while this event is more of an "F" word, there are plans for more approachable events-- where anyone can experience their cuisine, and not just read about it. She wants dialogue between chefs and people who not only take from the community, but give back.
"One element I see missing from Orange County is that link between people. My attempt is to get everyone together and work on things that we can make better for everyone else." Who's in?
Food and Philanthropy: A Celebration of Life and the Fight Against Breast Cancer is on Sunday, October 27, from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. For more information, please call 949.729.6816.