Gourmet auction to benefit local events

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 17, 2001

Backers of the Big Island Rendezvous are hoping cakes, meatballs and steaks will translate into big dough.

Saturday, March 17, 2001

Backers of the Big Island Rendezvous are hoping cakes, meatballs and steaks will translate into big dough.

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Three pro-Albert Lea groups are uniting to organize the first-annual gourmet auction to benefit education days at the annual rendezvous in October. The reservation-only event Friday, March 23 will put the signature dishes of the area’s best cooks on the auction block, said Linda Bottleson of the rendezvous.

&uot;We started pulling together a list of cooks, and just by word-of-mouth came up with these names,&uot; Bottleson said. &uot;It was really fun to work with these people and find out what they’re going to make.&uot;

The list of chefs includes professionals like Scott and Sally Fadden of Bagels and Beans, Doug Herr of Hy-Vee, Doug Lind of the American Legion and Lynn Lair of the Days Inn. Other kitchen craftsmen on the ticket include Lee Sutton, Bob Hill, Bob Tewes and Bottleson herself, who will be contributing her specialty, a porketta dinner.

Celebrity contributors will include state representative Dan Dorman, Convention and Visitor’s Bureau director Jim Pilgrim and Darrel Amundson of KATE radio. Organizers are still looking for cooks and hope to have 30 signed up by the event.

&uot;There’s such a variety that’s being offered,&uot; Pilgrim said. &uot;There truly will be something for everybody.&uot;

Auction-goers can taste samples of the available dishes – including cheesecakes, filet mignon and chicken dumpling soup — during a social hour before the bidding starts, Bottleson said. Because the food will be limited, the event will be restricted to the first 100 people who buy tickets; 40 passes have already been sold, she said.

Auctioneers Tracy Holland and Mark Ditlevson of Owatonna will donate their services and preside over the bidding, Bottleson said.

The bidders who win will have the dish delivered to them by the cook, ready to heat and eat, Bottleson said. For one prize, the Faddens will come to the top bidder’s kitchen to whip up a gourmet dinner for 10, including wine, appetizers and dessert.

Also up for bids will be a dinner for two with a night at the Victorian Rose and a dinner on the Pelican Breeze cruise boat.

The event represents one of the first joint projects of the rendezvous, the chamber of commerce and the CVB, Bottleson said. The idea came from chamber president Allen Pelvit, who said he had success with the idea in other communities.

Beside the food auction, the groups are planning a silent auction featuring vacations and other recreational trips.

The proceeds will help pay for education days at the rendezvous, which attract students from 100 miles around each fall, Bottleson said. Proceeds will also benefit community beautification projects through the chamber.

&uot;It’s a wonderful idea, and it does something good for a good thing,&uot; Pilgrim said.

The event will be held at the Budget Host Albert Lea Inn on East Main Street. The social hour starts at 6 p.m., with the auction following at 6:30. Tickets cost $15 apiece or $25 for a pair. Tickets are available at the chamber building on Broadway in downtown Albert Lea, and sales end Wednesday.