October 23, 2014
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Night of cuisine, camaraderie at Rotary’s Gourmet Gala
FOOD AND FRIENDSHIP: Among the 400-plus people who enjoyed classic creations and camaraderie at last Wednesday evening’s Gourmet Gala were Susan Russo, Robin Russo, Pam Haigh, Bethany Skinner, Eileen Bajorke, Dianne Silvia, Deborah Ladouceur and Eileen McDermott.

Meet. Mingle. Mangia.

That’s what upwards of 400 people did last Wednesday evening during the Rotary Club of Warwick’s fourth annual Gourmet Gala, which has become so popular the two-hour-plus event occupied the entire second floor of the Radisson Hotel at 2081 Post Road.

A record 25 restaurants offered gala-goers what co-chair/co-founder Dean Scanlon called a “terrific taste of Rhode Island” while also boosting the Rotary Club of Warwick’s charitable coffers.

It was a record-setting night that, as co-chair/co-founder Janice Constantine emphasized, was “the result of hard work from the [all-volunteer] committee” and “wonderful participation by great restaurants that all provided such unbelievable and fantastic fare to share with all of us.”

It was also a record-setting night, as Scanlon and Constantine later emphasized, “thanks to the generosity of executive chef Frank Terranova, who so graciously volunteered his time to put on cooking demonstrations.”

It was also a night that Rotary Club President Bob DeGregorio said “is turning into a signature event for our club,” and “that’s something we’ve needed. And for that, we thank Janice, Dean, Lara D’Antuono and Lauren Slocum for all their extraordinary efforts.”

When asked if she had a favorite dish, Constantine said, “Favorite dish? Oh, gosh, I couldn’t really say. They were all so good. We had such a variety, it was awesome.”

Each offering – from the herb parmesan polenta with a rustic sauce ragout created by Sophia’s Tuscan Grille owner/executive chef Christopher Palios, to the pulled pork sliders from newcomer Oak Hill Tavern-House of Bar-B-Que in North Kingstown, to the buffalo cheese dip from Iron Works Tavern and the lobster salad from Finn’s Harborside – drew rave reviews.

The Rotary Club has seen the Gourmet Gala grow into a premier social event and a kick-off to spring.

“We’re not looking for quantity,” Scanlon began while noting this year’s event featured a record number of famed eateries from Federal Hill to other parts of the state. “We’re looking for quality. This year, we managed to gather both. We want you to put on your Wednesday night best and come out and support our charities.”

Other items featured on the night’s menu included Wendy’s Crab Rangoons from Chelo’s Restaurant, caloric chocolate creations from Chapel Grille and sweet stuff like the baklava from DELIcious of Rolfe Square in Cranston, as well as Pranzi Caterers’ risotto, Vanity Supper Club’s short ribs over mashed potatoes, and scallops with risotto and freshly-cut prosciutto by Basta’s executive chef Anthony Franco.

Scanlon said, without question, his favorite dish was the veal short ribs and roasted yams.

With a smile, he added, “They’re from L’attitude,” which is a modern eatery that Scanlon owns and has turned into a restaurant that’s as popular in Pawtuxet Village as the Rotary Club of Warwick’s Gourmet Gala is becoming throughout the state.

The Restaurants

The entire list of restaurants whose food samplings drew rave reviews from over 400 people, and other vendors that participated in the Rotary Club of Warwick’s fourth annual Gourmet Gala last Wednesday evening at the Radisson Hotel, includes: Basta, Bonefish Grill, Cassarino’s Ristorante, Chapel Grille, Chelo’s Bar & Grille, Chianti’s Italian Cuisine, Cork & Brew, Corner Bakery Café, The Deli, Finn’s Harborside, The Grille on Main, Harbor Lights, Iron Works Tavern and L’attitude Modern Eatery.

Also, Libations Restaurant, Ninety Nine, Not Your Average Joe’s, Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, Oak Hill Tavern House of Bar-B-Que, Pinelli’s Italian Café, Pranzi Catering & Events, Sophia’s Tuscan Grille, Sweet Indulgence, Vanity Supper Club and UNO Pizzeria & Grill.


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