More than 650 gather for Transplant Institute event

Photo by Evelyn Cairns

Chef Alejandro Garza of Dearborn, executive chef at The MGM Grand, prepares the first course of his menu — butter-poached lobster on asparagus risotto — at the “Dining with the Masters” benefit June 6 at The Henry. The event raised approximately $300,000 for the Henry Ford Health System Transplant Institute.

By Evelyn Cairns
More than 650 guests gathered at The Henry (the former Ritz-Carlton) June 6 to show their support for the Henry Ford Health System Transplant Institute by raising an estimated $300,000.

The occasion was the Health System’s third annual “Dining with the Masters” benefit, which featured the tableside preparation of gourmet dinners by 30 metropolitan Detroit chefs.

The event honored Dr. Panayiotis Varelas of the Henry Ford System, who received the Geno Zayid Celebration of Life Award, and Remonia Chapman of Gift of Life, the Bill Gillespie Transplant Legacy Award.

Each chef prepared his personally created four-course dinner for a table of 12 guests, with seating determined by a lottery.

My table was assigned to resident Alejandro Garza of Dearborn, executive chef of The MGM Grand and previously a chef at The Ritz-Carlton.

Garza’s menu began with butter-poached lobster on asparagus risotto with tomato basil fondue and sunflower shoots.

His second course was chicken breast on a scallion corn cake with avocado and pico de gallo. The third was grilled lamb with arugula tomatoes, chevre and chickpea puree, and fourth, braised short ribs with foie gras brioche bread pudding, baby carrots and pickled red onions with stout mustard

Among the other participating restaurants were La Dolce Vita, Roast, Ocean Prime, Opus One, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, The Rugby Grill at the Townsend, Steve & Rocky’s and Zazio’s.

Executive Chef James Woodward of The Henry was the hosting chef, and Steve Garagiola of WDIV-TV Detroit was the guest emcee.

Proclamation to be on view
The Henry Ford Museum will display the original Emancipation Proclamation from 6 p.m. June 20 to 6 a.m. June 22 at the museum’s current “Discovering the Civil War” exhibition.

There will be no admission charge to see the proclamation, which will be available for viewing around the clock during the scheduled time period.

In conjunction with the showing, the first in Michigan since 1948, the Henry Ford has planned a series of recitations, musical performances and other presentations, including a recreation of a Civil War encampment on the museum’s front lawn.

For more information, call (313) 982-6001 or go to

Fireworks display set
The skies over the downtown Detroit waterfront will explode with color and sound beginning at 10:06 p.m. June 27, when the Parade Company and Target present the 53rd annual Target Fireworks.

More than 10,000 pyrotechnic effects will be choreographed by Patrick Brault, who designed the fireworks for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. News/Talk 760 WJR will provide traffic and weather information through-out the day. For more information, go to

Preceding the fireworks, the Parade Company will host its annual fundraising VIP Rooftop Party, presented by Charter One. The rooftop will be decorated with a sandy beach and sailboats. Live music will be by Jill Jack, Annabelle Road and the Sun Messengers, and food by Andiamo. Tickets are already sold out.

Coming up . . .
June 21 — Downriver Youth Performing Arts Center’s six-week Summer Arts Program begins; for fees and class information, call 734-671-2202 or go to

June 24, 25, 26 — Heritage Festival marking the 90th anniversary of the founding of Lincoln Park; 7 p.m. June 24 “1921” exhibit and student art show at the Historical Museum; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 25, open houses at the Civic Center, Fort Park and Cleophus; 1 to 6 p.m. June 26, entertainment and ceremonies at the Kennedy Memorial Park and Band Shell; for more information, call Pat Krause at (313) 550-8913 or go to

June 23, 24, 25, 26 — Detroit River Days Festival on the riverfront, celebrating Detroit’s RiverWalk with tall ships, live music, food and many activities for adults and kids; $3 admission fee (except 11 to 5 p.m. June 24, when admission will be free); hours, 4 to 10 p.m. June 23; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. June 24 and 25, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 26; for more information, call 313-566-8200 or go to