WILMINGTON — The annual celebrity chef fundraisers that take place for Beacon Education — a nonprofit foundation providing equitable education to students from six weeks to high school — will take place next March. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will be in attendance.
Flay will cook for patrons on March 7 and 8 in a private home and at the Country Club of Landfall, as part of Beacon’s ninth year hosting the galas.
Also new to the 2024 fundraiser will be the Cape Fear Wine & Food Experience, involving multiple community dinners on Thursday, March 7, with a grand tasting and auction on Saturday, March 9. It provides the dining public more opportunities to participate in food-forward events, with a schedule to be released at a later date.
Funds raised help support the Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, North Carolina’s only single-gender and tuition-free public charter middle and high school located on Sunglow Drive. GLOW was founded by Judy Girard, formerly the president of the Food Network from 1994 to 2004. Girard spearheaded the celebrity chef events to help meet the school’s goal to provide girls from low-income, underserved communities access to high-quality education.
GLOW opened in 2016 with a grade sixth class and has added grades each year, with the charter school hosting its first graduating class in 2023. Ninety-six percent of its students enrolled in college.
In 2021, the foundation that runs GLOW announced its newest iteration: Spark Academy. It’s a co-ed and mixed-income early childhood education center, for ages six weeks through pre-Kindergarten. Spark plans to open its first location this October — one of five to come. Each center can house roughly 150 students and it will have a community healthcare clinic onsite.
Over the last decade, Beacon Education has hosted multiple celebrity chef fundraisers — which account for 10% of operating expenses. It has featured events in-person and virtually with Rachael Ray, Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Tyler Florence, Ashley Christensen, Giada DeLaurentiis, Ina Garten, and Emeril Lagasse. Lagasse’s foundation invested in GLOW Academy’s culinary program.
It’s Flay’s first visit to Wilmington. The 17-time published author has been honored by the James Beard Awards Foundation and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, as well as five Daytime Emmy Awards. He’s best known as for programs on Food Network, such as “Bobby’s Triple Threat,” “Beat Bobby Flay,” “BBQ Brawl,” “Bobby & Sophie on the Coast,” and “Iron Chef America.”
The chef, restaurateur and cookbook author has multiple eateries worldwide, including New York City’s GATO. He also runs numerous dining establishments in Atlantic City and Las Vegas, with plans to open Brassier B in Vegas and on the Amalfi coast of Italy this year. Flay is also known for the fast-casual concept, Bobby’s Burgers, nationwide.
“Beacon Education has cultivated a reputation for outstanding wine and food experiences,” according to a press release from the foundation.
It also has a supper club, Rare, curating specialized events for food enthusiast members.
Tickets will be available later in the fall for Flay’s visit.
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