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Laguna Beach Chef Amar Santana helps raise more than $1.3 Million for Illumination Foundation

Chef Amar Santana, co-owner of the Broadway by Amar Santana restaurant in Laguna Beach, sizzled in his role as lead chef for the eighth edition of the annual Chef’s Table fundraiser presented by nonprofit Illumination Foundation, Through the Vaca Restaurant Group, which includes Amar and his partners Ahmed Labbate and Pam Roy, he donated gourmet dinners for 375 guests.

Chef Amar offered two options: Grilled filet mignon, wild mushrooms fricassee, maple glazed baby carrots, and smoked marrow bordelaise sauce; or as a vegetarian option, wild mushroom and vegetable lasagna, smoked tofu, shaved cashews, tomato coulis, and basil essence. He even offered a live auction experience including dinner and wine for seven at Broadway or Vaca that went for $4,500.

Laguna Beach Chef Amar Santana

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Chef Amar Santana working his magic

Held on June 27, the event served up $1,332,409, the largest amount the event has earned in support of the nonprofit’s targeted, interdisciplinary services designed to disrupt the cycle of homelessness.

The event moved this year from the iconic Disneyland® Hotel to be held outdoors at the private San Juan Capistrano estate of Marc Carlson and Jacqueline DuPont-Carlson in keeping with COVID-19 safety protocols. 

The estate’s two and a half meandering acres provided a picturesque outdoor backdrop for a kitchen full of other renowned local chefs who brought their extensive culinary chops to life before dinner, much to the delighted senses of guests.

Jacqueline DuPont-Carlson and Karen Jordan were the event’s co-chairs. Proceeds from the evening will support the nonprofit’s targeted, interdisciplinary services designed to disrupt the cycle of homelessness in Southern California, including The Plumeria Family Emergency House which is being updated to accommodate homeless children and families with chronic illnesses and physical disabilities. 

“Thank you to our co-chairs, sponsors, guests, chefs, volunteers, and staff for helping us return to having an in-person spectacular evening of good food, good cheer, and mostly importantly, raising record funds for a good cause,” said Illumination Foundation CEO Paul Leon. “We are forever thankful for your support of our mission. You are illuminating the darkness for so many struggling with the challenges of homelessness. You are changing lives.”

Illumination Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that provides targeted, interdisciplinary services for the most vulnerable homeless adults and children in order to disrupt the cycle of homelessness. 

The organization assesses clients in order to identify needs and provide immediate relief, when necessary, followed by care that combines housing assistance, case management, medical care, mental health services, and workforce connections to decrease community dependency. 

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