The Celebrity Chefs Cook Gala began in 1981 when Cancer Center Board Member Anne Otterson inspired a volunteer group of dedicated individuals to create an annual fundraising event to benefit the clinical, educational, research and treatment programs at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. Prompted by her husband Bill’s recent bout with cancer, Anne gathered 30 of her “foodie” friends to organize what has now become the annual Celebrities Chefs Cook Gala.
In the early days, these foodie friends would compete, preparing delicacies to share with hundreds of guests. Local celebrity cooks and prominent community figures would cook in a competition with nationally known culinary personalities such as James Beard, Jacques Pepin, and Craig Claibourne serving as judges.
As the years progressed, the competition faded away and only chefs were invited to showcase their hors d’oeuvres. More recently, chefs from all over the United States have participated in the festivities and in 1994, wine tasting was added to this successful recipe.
This legendary San Diego event has raised more than $8.5 million to help support cancer research and patient care.