Small Bites: Some Like It Hot benefits The Hope Chest for Women

APPETIZING: Lexington Avenue Brewery, a season donor for all 2015 Asheville Affiliates happy-hour fundraising events, will be one of many local food businesses providing appetizers for Some Like It Hot this weekend. Catawba Brewing Co. has donated the beer for each one of the four annual events since the initiative launched 16 years ago. Photo courtesy of Lexington Avenue Brewery

Some Like It Hot to benefit The Hope Chest for Women

Local businesses are coming together this week to sponsor Some Like It Hot, a foodcentric fundraiser for breast and gynecological cancer support organization The Hope Chest for Women. A smorgasbord of appetizers provided by Asheville restaurants and caterers, desserts from area supermarkets, Catawba Brewing Co. beer and wine donated by Skyland Distributing Co. will highlight the evening happy hour event on Thursday, July 16, at the Asheville Masonic Temple.

Some Like It Hot is one of four fundraising events scheduled this year as part of a trailblazing initiative launched in 1999 by social networking group the Asheville Affiliates to support Asheville nonprofit organizations. “They called it Parties with a Purpose,” explains Sara Shuster, executive director of The Hope Chest for Women and a former member of the Asheville Affiliates board of directors.

“They demonstrated to the various nonprofits over the years that if they hosted a happy hour where they provide heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine and some source of entertainment, that they could get people to show up, buy a ticket and then participate in a raffle or an auction to raise money for the nonprofit,” she says.

Every January, a committee meets to select the four nonprofits the Asheville Affiliates will mentor for that year. In the last 16 years, the group has worked with more than 40 nonprofits in and around Asheville, partnering with each organization to solicit food, drink and raffle item donations; secure a venue and host the party.

Because the model relies on donated food and beverages, the organizations are able to keep 85-90 percent of the profits from each event. Each party usually raises between $5,000 and $10,000 for its host nonprofit, says Shuster.

At Some Like It Hot, guests can expect to find appetizers from year-long sponsor Lexington Avenue Brewery, longtime sponsor Roots Hummus, Mela, Village Wayside, Juicy Lucy’s, Chipotle, M7 Event Solutions and HomeGrown. Fresh Market, Harris Teeter and Trader Joe’s will provide the desserts and Skyland Distributing Co. will bring the wine. Beer will be donated by Catawba Brewing Co., which has provided their products for each event since 1999.

A raffle of art and gift certificates will also be part of the fun, and live music will be provided by Hank West and the Smokin’ Hots.

Because the happy hour model introduced by the Asheville Affiliates has become wildly popular in the local community, the group has struggled the last couple of years to find enough in-kind sponsorships for its four annual events. Shuster wants local restaurants and other businesses to know that donations of food, goods and services are always greatly needed.

Some Like It Hot happens 6-9 p.m. Thursday, July 16, at the Asheville Masonic Temple, 80 Broadway. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For tickets, visit somelikeithot.brownpapertickets.com. For details on donating, contact Sara Shuster, at 708-3017 or ​director@hopechestforwomen.org.

Firestorm Books & Coffee reopens in West Asheville

After closing its downtown location 16 months ago, the Firestorm Books & Coffee reopened in early July in West Asheville on Haywood Road. In addition to an expanded selection of books for all ages, the 7-year-old worker-owned cooperative continues to offer a vegan café, featuring coffee, tea and specialty drinks such as coconut cream breve and a spicy molotov macchiato. The all-vegan food products will be supplied by local partners, including Wadadli Dessert Oasis, Eden-Out Meals and Eat More Bakery. Many gluten-free options are available. The cooperative has plans to host regular author events, book groups and a bilingual story hour for kids.

Firestorm Book & Coffee is at 610 Haywood Road across State Street from Sunny Point Café. For details, visit firestorm.coop.

Mother Earth Produce qualifies for national business competition

Farm-to-door organic produce delivery service Mother Earth Produce is one of 30 semifinalists in the nation for this year’s Miller Lite Tap the Future business competition. To qualify, the Arden-based business was one of thousands of applicants to submit a business plan to a panel of judges who selected the 30 competitors. Mother Earth Produce owner Andrea Duvall says the next step is a regional live-pitch presentation in Atlanta on July 21 before a panel of judges that will include Daymond John from the ABC television show “Shark Tank.” The winner of that round will receive $20,000 and will advance to the final “Shark Tank”-style showdown to be held in September in Chicago.

For details about Mother Earth Produce, visit motherearthproduce.com.

Season’s at Highland Lake offers summer cooking class

Flat Rock restaurant Season’s at Highland Lake will offer “Ripe for the Picking,” a seasonal cooking class featuring chef Stephen Hertz and pastry chef Stephen Spence. Participants will get to watch the chefs prepare a summer dish of pan-seared crab cakes with roasted sweet corn, okra and grape-tomato succotash, Cajun remoulade, pickled okra spears and charred tomato coulis with a dessert of petit upside-down plum cake with chocolate sorbet in a tuile tulip, candied rosemary pecans and strawberry purée. Cost is $35. Wine pairings are available for an additional fee. Space is limited and reservations are required.

The class is at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 18, at Season’s at Highland Lake, 86 Lily Pad Lane, Flat Rock. Call 696-9094 for reservations.

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About Gina Smith
Gina Smith is the Mountain Xpress Food section editor and writer. She can be reached at gsmith@mountainx.com.

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