FILE Samplings of asparagus are set out for guests during the 2019 Great Chefs for Success fundraiser for District 209 Together at Urban Pioneer Group on Madison Street in Forest Park.

The 209 Scholarship Board of Directors is inviting the public to Great Chefs: Educated Palates, a culinary tour de force intended to raise $25,000 for the Proviso Township 209 scholarship fund. The Foundry, 7503 Madison St., Forest Park, is scheduled to host the event on Nov. 10 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The celebration promises to be a feast for the senses with food, drink, music and lively conversation.

After a pandemic related hiatus, the signature fundraiser is back for the third time and aims to be better than ever.  Event organizers anticipate welcoming 125-150 guests who are intent on generating a financial infusion for the scholarship program started in 2015 and benefitting high school students graduating from the 10 communities feeding into the Proviso Math and Science Academy, Proviso East and Proviso West. Scholarships, many of which are renewed, are impartially reviewed before being awarded to graduates who demonstrate high academic achievement as well as those who are on a trajectory of improvement after facing challenges.

“It feels like validation when the community agrees that these kids are worth investing in,” said Michelle Woehrle, vice president of the 209 Scholarship Board. “People are meeting the moment and supporting these kids.”

Guests sample food from Big Guys during the 2019 Great Chefs for Success fundraiser for District 209 Together at Urban Pioneer Group in Forest Park. | FILE

Guests attending the Great Chefs event should expect to savor selections from 8 to 10 hyper-local chefs and restaurant owners. The personal chef in residence at The Foundry/FP will join N Rebozo, Azucar Rococo, Zesty Catering, Fiore Pizza and Bakery, Couture Kitchen, and Habrae Thai Cafe and Eatery. Habrae has confirmed they will be sending pot stickers, prawn cracker and egg rolls. Signature cocktails, wine and beer provided by Exit Strategy, Forest Park’s only microbrewery, will also be available with admission. A wine pull and silent auction will round out the festivities.

New board member and event organizer, Gwendalyn Carver, is excited to interact with the 209 Scholarship Fund donors and mingling with like-minded scholarship supporters. The Forest Park resident and mother of three, two of whom are Proviso East students, knows there is a real need for support in Proviso Township.

“This organization is for students who may not have financial support and people are connecting over these struggles and want to make a difference,” said Carver. “I am excited that guests will get to hear from past scholarship recipients and learn about the impact of our program.” 

Roy Sansone, left, serves drinks in 2019, during the Great Chefs for Success fundraiser for District 209 Together at Urban Pioneer Group in Forest Park. | FILE

The evening’s emcee, Debra Vines is CEO of The Answer, Inc., a not-for-profit autism awareness organization. She sat on the 209 selection committee for this year’s award recipients and is keenly aware of the caliber of students graduating from Proviso’s local public high schools. In addition to sharing why the scholarships provide essential support for 209 students, Vines will introduce previous awardees and share their stories of success.

“Some of the returning students have graduated from college and are excited to start giving back to their Proviso community,” said Carver. “They have agreed to become mentors to help ensure the future success of scholarship recipients.”

Tickets to attend this meaningful evening of food, drink and community can be purchased by visiting