Greenwich Wine + Food Festival Work with cancer charity hits close to home for local couple
GREENWICH — As it toasts a local couple who volunteer to help cancer patients, this year’s Greenwich Wine + Food Festival will also benefit a Norwalk-based charity dedicated to fighting an incurable form of the disease.
The festival will place the spotlight on Greenwich residents Elizabeth and Traver Hutchins, “who generously advocate for the benefit of others, work tirelessly to help cancer patients and inspire hope through their perseverance,” said Suni Unger, founder and CEO of Unger Media, the parent company behind next month’s food and wine event.
The cause hits close to home for the couple, who will receive the Spirit of Hope Award from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation at the Master Chef Wine Dinner during the two-day event in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.
Traver Hutchins was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2008. Shortly thereafter, he found himself seated on a plane next to Kathy Giusti, founder of the MMRF and a multiple myeloma patient, too, which spurred the family’s involvement.
“Traver and I are honored to receive the Spirit of Hope Award and feel very lucky to have the MMRF in our corner,” Elizabeth Hutchins said.
“With a rather uncommon cancer like myeloma, to have such an efficient and highly effective organization right in our backyard is truly amazing. The MMRF is a powerhouse and the strides they have made in cancer research in just the 10 years since Traver’s diagnosis are having a direct effect on his current treatment and prognosis,” she said.
Anne Quinn Young, senior vice president of marketing and communications for the MMRF, praised the couple.
“They are committed, long-standing advocates and friends of the MMRF,” Young said. “They embody strength and hope and are always willing to serve as a support system for other myeloma patients by sharing their journey and bringing awareness to the disease and the foundation.”
The MMRF will be the main charity beneficiary of the Wine + Food Festival, now in its eighth year. The evening, to be hosted by town residents Gary Dell’Abate from “The Howard Stern Show” and writer and director Rob Burnett, will be dedicated to “bringing awareness to such a worthy cause,” Unger said.
“Partnering with the MMRF for 2018 was a natural continuation of our mission to celebrate the community around us not only through great food and wine but by giving back,” she said. “A nationally renowned organization based here in Connecticut, we are thrilled to shine a light on the hard work they have done over the years to help raise awareness and contribute to valuable research.”
Unger said she hoped the festival would “bring much needed support to those in our neighborhoods and beyond who have been touched by this disease.”
Since it was founded in 1998, the MMRF has raised more than $400 million to help fund research and development of next-generation treatments of multiple myeloma.
Part of the proceeds from the festival will also go to the town of Greenwich’s Parks and Recreation Foundation, which gives low-income kids in town access to town sports and recreation programs, and Ment’or, which was created by culinary star Daniel Boulud to provide opportunities to young chefs.
The festival will fill Roger Sherman Baldwin Park with great food, music and fun on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22.
The Master Chef Wine Dinner held on Sept. 21 will honor the 2018 Serendipity Most Innovative Chefs, which includes Cedric Lamouille from Bistro Versailles in Greenwich. On Sept. 22, the Culinary Village will return with a tasting tent filled with delicious items from more than 150 local restaurants and exhibitors.
Additionally, Sept. 22 will feature contests to determine the best burgers, the best barbecue and the best tacos. The festival will also have sommelier, mixologist and brew master presentations, celebrity book signings, question-and-answer sessions, cooking demos with top culinary experts and a Meet the Masters’ Panel discussion.
Greenwich resident and “Today” co-host Kathie Lee Gifford will also be a part of the day’s activities along with “Next Food Network Star” Christian Petroni.
The festival is capped off by a concert in the park with country superstar Tim McGraw. Rising country star Caroline Jones, who grew up in town and has opened for McGraw and Faith Hill on the American leg of their tour, will open for McGraw in Greenwich.
Tickets for the Wine + Food Festival are available at www.greenwichwineandfood.com or 203-588-1363. The festival is held rain or shine. No one under 21, including infants or children in strollers, is permitted.