As seen in Vie Magazine:
2016 November/December Issue
THE EMERIL LAGASSE FOUNDATION GIVES BACK
BY TORI PHELPS
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEVEN FREEMAN
The Tenth Annual Throwdown Benefit Auction and Barbecue and its partnering events tapped the power of meat, wine, and Emeril Lagasse to raise nearly a million dollars for local Northwest Florida charities in a single weekend.
Lagasse was one of the first celebrity chefs of the modern era, luring millions of people back into the kitchen with approachable cookbooks and TV shows that became cultural touchstones. However, much of Emeril Lagasse’s focus today is on his charitable foundation, which has quietly impacted the lives of thousands of the South’s most vulnerable children.
Famously (and genuinely) humble, Lagasse would much rather put the spotlight on friends of the foundation, like Mike “Chi Chi Miguel” and Valerie Thompson of Thompson 31Fifty Wines, who were the driving forces behind last April’s Throwdown Benefit Auction and Barbecue. (In fact, the Thompsons founded the event a decade ago.) Presented by the Emeril Lagasse Foundation, it raised over $700,000 for Gulf Coast charities. When you add in the weekend’s partner events—a Sip N’ Shop at Bijoux restaurant and the Chi Chi Miguel Golf Tournament at Burnt Pine Golf Club—the jaw-dropping total reaches nearly $900,000.