Pub at the Hub Party Gras Brings the Spirit of the Big Easy to Delray Beach

Benefits Delray’s Community Classroom Kitchen

 

Live music, original artwork, fashion flair and a sumptuous spread of culinary delights were the order of the day when the magic of Mardi Gras descended upon Delray Beach at the Pub at the Hub Party Gras fundraiser on January 20. Several hundred revelers filled The Hub at Space of Mind located in the historic Clark House, circa 1861, in downtown Delray. The Hub was appropriately decked out for the occasion with all the festive trappings of the Big Easy celebration.  The event raised funding for the Community Classroom Project’s (CCP) 1,000 square foot state-of-the-art classroom community kitchen, a project four years in the making unveiled in final form at the event.  CCP is a not-for profit dedicated to redefining traditional approaches to education to encourage creativity and help all students  flourish.CCP and the new kitchen classroom are housed in The Hub at Space of Mind.

Guests, many sporting Mardi Gras beads, glittering masks and colorful headgear, were treated to the distinctive flavors of New Orleans fare prepared by some of South Florida’s top chefs. While mingling and enjoying the creative vibes, attendees were treated to such tantalizing traditional New Orleans treats as shrimp & Andouille sausage, crawfish, crab cakes, Cajun pasta and of course trademark New Orleans beignet, plus much more. Libations with a Nola twist flowed freely, complemented by brews from Prosperity and Cove Brewery. Judging from the way tasting stations were quickly emptied and refilled, guests simply couldn’t get enough of the event’s Louisiana fare or the specialty cocktails.

The event’s festive, carnival-like atmosphere included paintings from local artists, many of whom were in attendance, as well as a wide variety of live music, a fortune teller and a range of surprise activations. Guests were treated to a live performance by Bill Muter and the Wind Dixieland Jass Band as which took center stage and then paraded festively around the venue, spreading the spirit of New Orleans.   Additional musical talent, which included Girlfriend Material, Staff Infection and Dust Bunnies, had guests swaying to the beat. By the evening’s end, featured artists and performers blended seamlessly with CCP supporters in an atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship— appropriate for an organization whose goal in part is to foster creativity and build new communities.

CCP, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, provides experiential learning, educational resources, entrepreneurships and scholarships. It offers a wide range of programming to bridge the gaps among students, parents, educators, schools, mental health providers and the community to help redefine traditional approaches to education to reduce school-related pressure and stress and encourage all students to succeed. CCL is the brainchild of Delray Beach resident Ali Kaufman who serves as its CEO.  Kaufman grew up in Boca Raton and after living in several other U.S. cities, returned to her South Florida roots to pursue her passion through CCL.

The new deluxe kitchen was created to leverage the culinary arts and communal dining to enhance the mental and physical health of families in South Florida. It will help train an expanded culinary workforce by facilitating connections and collaboration with today’s culinary experts – and potentially help launch the careers of future top South Florida chefs. At the same time, its Family Dinners program will engage local families of diverse backgrounds to share conversations and explore new cooking techniques and the relationship between food and health.

Other programs to be launched through the kitchen this year include a Meal Box project to address food insecurities, Chef’s Collective to discuss best practices for enhancing treatment of kitchen staff on the job and building career satisfaction, as well as a podcast focusing on similar issues. In the future, Kaufman hopes to hold chef-led classes, workshops and dining events in the kitchen to help fundraising efforts.

“The kitchen is the heart of every home and restaurants are the heart of our communities,” says Kaufman. “Our hope is that we will unite families and friends – and even strangers around the proverbial kitchen table and inspire the community to share more meaningful experiences around food.”

The new kitchen was already turning out mouthwatering fare for the highly successful fundraising event, which brought together all segments of the community.  Clearly, it is well on its way to achieving that goal.

Restaurants Participating in the Event Included: 

  • The Wine Room Kitchen & Bar
  • Old School Bakery
  • Community Classroom Kitchen
  • Driftwood
  • Flybird
  • Dada
  • Jessie Steele
  • DalMoros
  • Red Pine
  • Farmer’s Table
  • Papas Tapas
  • Delray Pizza