Monday, November 20, 2017

Royal Studios' 60th, Le Bon Appetit, Exceptional Foundation Chili Cook-Off

Posted By on Mon, Nov 20, 2017 at 6:02 PM

click to enlarge Celebrating backstage at "Sixty Soulful Years." - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Celebrating backstage at "Sixty Soulful Years."

Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studios 60th-anniversary celebration concluded Nov. 18 with “Sixty Soulful Years” at the Orpheum.

Robert Cray, The Masqueraders and Boz Scaggs were among the performers at the event. Following the concert, guests traveled a red carpet to the Halloran Centre for Performing Arts & Education for the after party.

Royal Studios owner/manager Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell was pleased with the event. “Man, it was magical,” he said. “Like a cool thing about it was the artists were all backstage getting a kick out of watching each other’s performances. Boz Scaggs watching SIMO: ‘Man. Amazing.’”

Asked if he was making any plans for Royal’s 100th anniversary, Boo said, “Maybe 75?”

click to enlarge Meghan Heimke and Kelly English at Le Bon Appetit kickoff party. - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Meghan Heimke and Kelly English at Le Bon Appetit kickoff party.


Guests are encouraged to show up with good appetites at Le Bon Appetit, which will be held June 9 at Crosstown Concourse. More than 40 chefs, including local and out-of-town chefs, will participate in the event, which benefits Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

Among the out-of-town chefs are Jonathon Sawyer of The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, Ohio; Ashley Christensen of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, North Carolina; John Currence of City Grocery in Oxford; Aaron Sanchez of Johnny Sanchez in New Orleans; and Levon Wallace of Gray & Dudley in Nashville.

Le Bon Appetit will be hosted by Kelly English, chef/owner of Restaurant Iris, Second Line, Iris, Etc.; and Magnolia House, and Le Bonheur’s founding organization, Le Bonheur Club. English and the Le Bonheur Club founded the Le Bon Appetit.

“I think Le Bonheur is easily the best asset we have for this city and insuring the future of our city,” English said. “Insuring the next generation of not just Memphians, but people regionally. It’s an amazing place.

“When I was a kid I spent a long time in a hospital for adults. I fell out of my grandmother’s window and broke pretty much the left side of my body and ended up in traction and a body cast for six months. I had to learn how to walk again. And the hospital I was at was fine, but when you go to Le Bonheur and you see all the little things they do. Not just the big things, but the little things. And not just distracting kids, but letting them know that things aren’t as scary as they would be.

“They’ve got this toy run. Before a kid goes into surgery they go through a toy run. They get to pick something out. And when they get out of surgery, they have it. And that’s just one of the little things they do."

Le Bon Appetit, which was held in 2012, 2014 and 2016, has raised more than $800,000 for the hospital.

click to enlarge Tasting the goods at the Exceptional Foundation of West Tennessee Chili Cook-Off - MICHAEL DONAHUE
  • Michael Donahue
  • Tasting the goods at the Exceptional Foundation of West Tennessee Chili Cook-Off


Guests spiced up their lives at the Exceptional Foundation of West Tennessee Sixth annual Chili Cook-Off, which was held Nov. 4 at Overton Square Courtyard.

Money raised at the event “goes to scholarships for low-income individuals with intellectual disabilities,” said director Jo Anne Fusco. “We are ‘A Special Place for Those with Special Needs.’”

The cook-off is “our main fundraiser. Overton Square has been a great a location for us and it has helped to create awareness in the city of who we are.”

Chili Cook-Off Winners were Process and Power, first place; Shane Greer, Smokey Bottom Boys, second place; Jason Abis and Big John, third place. West Cancer Center received the Jon Poulin Spirit Award. And the People’s Choice Winners were Shane Greer, Smokey Bottom Boys, first place; RBG Accounting Firm, second place; and Temple Israel Brotherhood, Adam McColllum, third place.

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