Top NJ & NYC Chefs to Gather on May 20 for Tasting Event Benefitting The Ashley Lauren Foundation

by Staff

On May 20, 2024, the culinary world will converge in a celebration of both gastronomic mastery and heartfelt generosity at the Second Annual Ashley Lauren Foundation’s Chefs Who Care premiere tasting event. Celebrate top chefs from Manhattan and New Jersey at the illustrious Essex and Sussex in Spring Lake while enjoying premium wine and spirits, live entertainment, special guests, an extraordinary auction, and swag. This premiere gathering of renowned chefs aims to raise funds and awareness for The Ashley Lauren Foundation, which provides much needed hope, help and support for children with cancer and their families throughout the State of New Jersey.

Founded in 2005 by Monica Vermeulen, in honor of her daughter Ashley Lauren, the foundation has tirelessly worked to provide crucial assistance to affected families. Monica Vermeulen’s personal journey, prompted by her daughter’s battle with cancer, inspired the establishment of The Ashley Lauren Foundation. The organization offers a wide array of support services, ranging from direct financial assistance to emotional support programs, material aid, and memorable experiences like their “Making Dreams Come True” initiative. With unwavering dedication, they ensure that families receive the necessary resources to navigate through the challenging landscape of pediatric cancer.

This year’s Chef lineup begins with Michelin Star Joseph Sergentakis (Boschetto, Allendale Social), Angelo Competiello (Alta Irpinia), Fabrizio Facchini (Facchini Food Services), Cesare Casella (Casella’s), Joe Tartamella (Felina Ridgewood), Roberto Caporuscio (Keste’ Pizza e Vino), Jesse Jones (Chef Jesse Concepts), Bryan Giron (Perquin by Santelli’s Hospitality), Stephan Yen (Liberty National Golf Club), Chef Joe Settepani (Bruno’s Bakery), Joe Murphy (Bakehouse by Joe Murphy), German Rizzo (Plado Tasting Bar), Chef Hong Thaimee, Chef Bryan Gregg of  (Blue Morel Restaurant & Wine Bar), Jessica Bucceri (JB Couture Cupcakes), Chef Ryan DePersio of (Kitchen Step, Tillinghouse & Italian chophouse Ember and Eagle,) Chef Damiano Rosella of (Maestro Pasta NYC), Chef Mike Smithling of (Heirloom at the St. Laurent,) & Chef Michael Cosenza of (Mike’s Pasta & Sandwich Shoppe,) Chef Bryan Gregg of (Blue Morel Restaurant) and Susan Julia, the owner of Susan Julia Olive Oil, an olive oil sommelier.

Also joining our all-star lineup of top culinary talent is Laura Vitale, Cookbook author Laura Vitale, the host of Laura in the Kitchen’, an Italian born cook with a passion for all things home-cooking. She started off in her father’s Italian Bistro and is now an internet sensation boasting over 3.8 Million YouTube subscribers. When she’s not in her kitchen, Laura is sharing her passion for cooking on morning shows and judging on the Food Network.

Sponsors include Italian Food Guys Inc., San Pellegrino, Urbani Truffles, Calvisius Caviar, Wines with Causes, D’Artagnan Gourmet Meats, Artisanal Cheese, DeCecco Pasta, Partanna Olive Oil, 21st Amendment Imports (Swift Sure Sauvignon Blanc) and Serena Prosecco, Casa Komos Brand Group (SUPERBIRD Tequila and SUPERBIRD RTDs, Doladira) and 1881 Creativity (Prosecco DOC Brut Organic), Santo Spirits, Disaronno International and Saravella Coffee. We will also be featuring entertainment by The Event Specialists – Paul Anthony Entertainment, R3 Brothers Music and renowned piano sensation NGXB, who will be playing piano during the VIP access hour. 

One highlight of the evening is the presentation of the Humanitarian Award to John Dalton, CEO of IT Initiatives. 

Dalton’s commitment to philanthropy and his dedication to supporting those in need, both through his professional endeavors and charitable contributions, exemplify the spirit of compassion that lies at the heart of the Chefs Who Care event.

Co-chaired by Eric Vitale and Gennaro Pecchia, the event promises an unforgettable experience for attendees, with tickets available for purchase online.  Tickets are $195 per person (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm) and $250 for VIP package (5:00 pm – 10:00 pm) and may be purchased by going to . Proceeds will go directly towards supporting the programs and services provided by The Ashley Lauren Foundation. For more information about the Chefs Who Care event, including sponsorship opportunities and media inquiries, please contact: Monica Vermeulen, Founder/CEO, 732-414-1625.

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The New Jersey Digest is a new jersey magazine that has chronicled daily life in the Garden State for over 10 years.

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