For something different to do, put Friday, Oct 26, 6 p.m. on your calendar and join Rotary in a unique fund raising event. The chef-featured evening will be held at the New Mexico Highlands University ballroom and is being coordinated by Las Vegas newcomer Robin Bellerby.
Bellerby and her husband, Tom, moved to Las Vegas in July 2017 from Plano, Texas. A native Texan, she said she has always loved the beauty of Northern New Mexico. Tom’s grandparents moved to Las Vegas in the early 1970s, so Las Vegas was not a random choice when the couple decided to make this move.
In looking for a way to connect in the community, Robin joined Rotary in June 2018. She continues to be a member of Junior League of Collin County in Texas, where she learned much of what she knows about nonprofits, volunteering, and serving the community. Robin works for an architectural firm in Dallas where she is Risk Management Director. She has a background as a facilitator and trainer, leading board retreats, wage negotiation workshops, and staff development trainings.
Below she answers questions about Cooking for a Cause and its benefits as a fundraiser.
ORP: Where did you get the idea for Cooking With a Cause?
Robin: My mother – Mary Kay Walker – is an experienced fundraiser in Flower Mound, Texas, and she has done a similar event for the last few years. I was able to volunteer for her event one year and have always thought it was a great idea. I’ve followed her model for this event.
ORP: Ideally how many chefs did you want to have and why?
Robin: My goal was to have four chefs to provide a good variety of entree selections. Fewer would not have been as exciting, and more would have been harder to execute.
ORP: How many chefs are participating and what are their specialties?
Robin: I was very excited to recruit four chefs – all with their own style. Dick’s Pub & Restaurant is known for its contemporary American cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. The Range Cafe is well-known across the state for serving “ordinary food done extraordinarily well.” Pookie’s Bakery & Cafe is one of Las Vegas’ newest restaurants providing an eclectic menu beyond the usual New Mexican fare. And, Hillcrest Restaurant has been serving delicious home-style dishes since 1949. However, all chefs have been asked to create a dish not often found on their menus. The idea is to highlight their culinary skills and creativity and to show what the restaurant scene in Las Vegas is capable of providing. For a small town, I really do think we have some excellent dining choices.
ORP: Talk about how the food part of the event will go.
Robin: After an appetizer course, each chef will be given a spotlight moment to introduce themselves, talk about their experience or restaurant, and then tell us about the entree they prepared. During the dessert course, the guests will vote on the Best Dish, which will be awarded at the end of the night. Each entree will be a 1/4-sized portion since the guests will be sampling four entrees. We will have volunteers helping to plate and serve the entrees. We are hoping for 225-250 attendees, so the kitchen will be chaotic – we are talking about serving up to 1,000 plates in a very short amount of time!
ORP: What else is planned for the event?
Robin: There will be a cash bar, live music by Los Tropicales, and a silent auction. Between entrees, we will also talk about Rotary International and what the Las Vegas club does for the community. This is, after all, a fundraiser, and we hope to raise a large amount of money to put back into the community through our youth and educational programs.
ORP: You are taking donations for the silent auction. How does someone donate and what is the deadline?
Robin: Yes, we are looking for high-quality and unique items for our silent auction. Anyone looking to donate can reach out to any Rotary member, or they can contact me directly at 469-951-4679 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
ORP: What will the money raised be used for?
Robin: Rotary Club of Las Vegas supports a variety of youth and educational programs throughout San Miguel County, among them books, scholarships, literacy programs, and coats for kids. We also contribute to other nonprofits to support their efforts in community improvement, such as MainStreet de Las Vegas, Crop Walk and the Gallinas Watershed Alliance.
ORP: What are ticket prices and where can tickets be purchased?
Robin: Tickets are $30 each or two for $50, and guests must 21 or over to attend. Tickets are available from any Rotary Club member.
ORP: Where can one get more information?
Robin: You can ask any Rotary Club member, go to our Facebook page, or contact me directly. This is going to be one of the most unique social events in Las Vegas! We have a fun-filled evening planned with Dr. Minner, the NMHU president, as the emcee. We are excited to see what the chefs create and, most of all, we are hoping to raise much needed funds for our community. You do not want to miss out on this great event – we expect the tickets to sell fast!
What: Cooking for a Cause
Sponsor: Rotary Club of Las Vegas
When: Friday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m.
Where: NMHU Ballroom
Tickets: $30 each / 2 for $50
Available: Through Rotary members