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Southlake Style

Catering the Cause

Jan 10, 2014 11:55AM ● By Anonymous

By Christina Mlynski

Renowned chefs stand up against domestic violence 

Prominent Texas chefs are throwing on their aprons and sharpening their knives as they gear up for the 8th Annual Mid-Cities Supporters of SafeHaven Celebrity Chefs 2014. An unprecedented 18 renowned new and returning chefs are lending expertise, time and talent to raise funds to provide safety and services for victims of domestic violence.

Master of ceremony Scott Murray will entertain the crowd at the Hurst Conference Center on Jan. 19 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. More than 400 guests will enjoy endless glasses of wine courtesy of Bear Creek Spirits & Wine as they stroll the ballroom sampling the chefs’ signature dishes at the event, themed Step Into New Lives.

Attendees also have the chance to win an impressive raffle package valued at $2,550, which includes a round of golf for four at Timarron Country Club, a KAI/Kershaw cutlery block set, a gift certificate to Central Market and a wine and cheese class for four at Bear Creek Spirits & Wine.

The event hopes to raise awareness about domestic violence and funds for SafeHaven, which helps victims lead safe, self-reliant lives. Organized by the Mid-Cities Supporters of SafeHaven, the event could raise up to $130,000, all by feeding hearts, minds and stomachs.

“It’s always great to get involved with the chefs whose hearts are as big as Texas,” says Central Market Executive Chef Otto Borsich. “We have the highest level of camaraderie of any profession on the planet. My desire is to raise awareness about domestic violence, entertain attendees with the gift of food and empower everyone to be of service to those truly in need.”

Chef Borsich is an eight-year returning chef to the SafeHaven event. More than a dozen other chefs striving to dish out the same message will accompany him, including returning Chef Mike Swirczynski and five-year event veteran Chef Jon Bonnell. 

Otto Borsich, Central Market Southlake Executive Chef

Chef Borsich has always led a life of servitude. The veteran culinary guru volunteered as the cook for the USS Patrick Henry, which was stationed in Pearl Harbor for several years beginning in the late 1970s. Shortly after, Borsich travelled east to take on the City that Never Sleeps, where he stayed for a decade, completing his apprenticeship at the luxurious five-star Pierre Hotel. The International Culinary Ambassador loves adventure, having trekked to to nearly 30 countries on five continents. One of the forces behind Childhood Hunger Day in Washington, D.C., the chef boasts a history of giving back — the three-day symposium brought much needed attention to the issue of child hunger. Perhaps most notably, Borsich was a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” where he gained exposure as he continues to combat hunger and poverty.

For Borsich, involvement with the Mid-Cities SOS makes for a natural extension of his entire culinary career.

“It brings immense joy to share the gift, to be of service and subsequently to help resurrect shattered souls from the horrors of domestic violence,” he says. “The pleasure of cooking and sharing a meal together is intimate. It is downright sacred to me.” 

Mike Swirczynski, Bravo Owner and Executive Chef

Chef Swirczynski’s approach to food is simple: Make the good things great. A Southlake Carroll alumnus, Swirczynski shows his Dragon pride by packing heat into every dish he serves up. His passion for food stems from a love of discovering new and different cuisines, techniques and flavor combinations. 

In 2007, Swirczynski teamed up with Sally Bolick Strong, merging respective catering businesses into Bravo Catering & Event Planning. Ever since the chef and planner duo joined forces, they have established a reputation throughout the Metroplex as one of the most talented and tastiest companies around.

“Sally and I love being a part of Celebrity Chefs because we can tell that everyone from the organizers, to the chef participants, to the guests attending are genuinely interested in ending domestic violence,” Swirczynski says. “It is very satisfying to think that the money we help raise will be used to help mothers and children leave abusive environments.”           

Jon Bonnell, Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine Owner and Executive Chef

With a love of math and science, Chef Bonnell opted to leave behind the laboratory to experiment in the kitchen, where he makes chemistry come alive. He completed a six-month culinary internship at Mr. B’s Bistro in the historic New Orleans French Quarter during his time at the New England Culinary Institute.

Bonnell took his newfound passion back to his old stomping grounds of Fort Worth, where his childhood pastimes of hunting, fishing and cooking inspired his culinary vision. In 2001, he opened Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine — drawing from his Texas roots to enhance regional Creole, Southwestern and Mexican recipes.

As one of the foremost experts in wild game, Bonnell is bringing his culinary craft back to the Celebrity Chefs event to shed light on domestic violence through his rustic approaches to food.