The 11th annual celebration of the T.J. Martell Foundation’s Eco-Energy Best Cellars Dinner on Monday night (426) was a great success, raising $416,000 net for innovative cancer research at the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.
The evening, with title sponsor Eco-Energy Inc., is one of the Foundation’s signature events that is known for pairing Best Sellers (country music’s top selling artists and other celebrities) with Best Cellars (Nashville’s top wine collectors) and a gourmet meal prepared by a world renown guest chef.
Martina McBride, Jamey Johnson, Blake Shelton, Jewel, Luke Bryan, Danny Gokey, Big Kenny Alphin, Kellie Pickler, Sarah Buxton, Mike Diamond, Whitney Duncan and Phil Vassar were in attendance to celebrate the Foundation’s annual soiree. Guest chef Josiah Citrin, chef/owner of Mélisse Restaurant in Santa Monica, California, and co-owner of Lemon Moon Café in West Los Angeles prepared the evening’s four-course meal. The multiple award-winning Citrin has been featured on various television food shows, and his restaurant and his recipes have been written up in numerous national food publications.
“After 11 years I really didn’t think it could get any better but last night was our best ever!!,” says Joe Galante, Chairman of Sony Music Nashville and Co-Chairman of the Best Cellars Dinner. “The evening’s food, wine and guests were incredible. We also set a record for the amount of money raised to help fund research at the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center.”
The major amount of income ($319,200) came from the audience, contributing to a special Clinical Impact Research Grant that was created in recognition of Best Cellars founder Billy Ray Hearn and Co-Chairmen Joe Galante, Bill Hearn and Tom Black for their dedication to the Martell Foundation’s mission of supporting innovative cancer research. The Clinical Impact Research Grant will be given to the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Another highlight of the evening was the live auction conducted by country music artist Big Kenny Alphin that included a trip to France, three trips to the southern California Wine country and the Best Cellars Wine Collection.
For more information about the Best Cellars Dinner and the T.J. Martell Foundation, log onto www.tjmartellfoundation.org.