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Chef Masters raises impressive proceeds for Unconditional senior and disabled dog rescue

Photos by Corey Sandler

With 35 OC chefs and a plethora of wineries participating in this year’s Chef Masters culinary extravaganza on Sunday, Oct. 16 at the Festival of Arts grounds in Laguna Beach, there were 320 very happy guests. Benefiting Unconditional, a senior and special needs dog rescue, made it even more gratifying. 

Chef Masters Macks and pups

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Unconditional co-founders Amy and Julian Mack with their dogs StanLee (Amy holding), Levi (L) and Oona (R)

Following a sumptuous two-hour gourmet food and wine reception, guests were seated at tables for dessert and introduced to the chefs by hostess DawnMarie Kotsonis before drawing the raffle ticket for a 50-bottle wine tree provided by Mona Lee Nesseth from Laguna Beach. Newport Beach resident Louis Orozco was the lucky winner. Guests offered their bid cards in a drawing for a Cannery Restaurant Duffy Boat cruise and a three-course dinner with wines for eight people, which Orange resident Luis Lopez won.

Chef Masters Fourgeray

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Chef Ron Fourgeray of Splashes at Surf & Sand Resort

Chef Masters Smith

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Chef Lindsay Smith/Nirvana Grille, Laguna Beach

Chef Masters Lockhart

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Chef Donald Lockhart/Terra Laguna Beach (R) with his team

Unconditional, a Laguna Beach-based nonprofit co-founded by Amy and Julian Mack, is on track to build an 8,000-sq.-ft. rescue and adoption center for senior and special needs dogs, due to open in Laguna Beach in late 2023. “Of the 14,000 shelters and rescue groups in the U.S., only 40 are dedicated to helping senior and special needs dogs and many of them are incredibly under-resourced. We are dedicated to finding loving homes for these animals, and believe me, the experience is very rewarding,” said Amy Mack.

Unconditional Executive Director Peter Chang followed up, saying, a sister entity called Rise Pet Care is also being launched by Amy and Julian. “It’s a separate for-profit run specialty animal hospital, which will be open to the public, but more importantly, it will also provide all the medical care needed for the animals at Unconditional at no cost,” Chang said.

Especially thanked were $100,000 Title Sponsor, Carlo’s Fund; $25,000 Platinum Sponsors – The Bone Adventure, The Fatty Sullivan Giving Fund for Dogs That Can’t Woof Good and Mary Murfey; the $10,000 Gold Sponsors included JustFoodForDogs, L Catterton, Petco Love and the Peter & Paula Fasseas Foundation.  Chef Masters Founder/Producer Kristin Martin was recognized as well.

Chef Masters Moon

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Chef Peter Moon of Seabutter

The Laguna Beach chefs who participated included Chef Donald Lockhart (Terra Laguna Beach), Chef Antonio Roa (Seahorse at Pearl Street), Chef Lindsay Smith (Nirvana Grille), Chef Ron Fougeray (Splashes at Surf & Sand Resort), Chef Peter Moon (Seabutter), Chef Enrique Valenzuela (C’est La Vie), Chef Jose Arrieta (Sueños Laguna Beach) and Chef Michael Campbell (Pacific Pearl Catering).

Chef Masters Moon

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CEO of Montage Int’l. Alan Furstman and his wife Susan were among the evening’s guests

Many paddles were raised in the Fund a Need portion to bring the total raised to an impressive $450,000. The evening concluded with dancing to the popular band Flashback Heart Attack.

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