Celebrity Chef’s Beach Brunch to benefit Meals on Wheels

Aromas and tastes of culinary brunch dishes and beverages will soon fill the Rusty Rudder in Dewey Beach as chefs from 25 coastal restaurants prepare their specialties.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 1, Meals on Wheels Delaware will be encouraging people of all ages to celebrate the 15th annual Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch to savor brunch items, socialize with friends and family and learn about Meals on Wheels’ mission — providing sustenance to nourish homebound Delaware seniors.

At stations inside and outside the venue, chefs from Salt Air, Bethany Blues, Java Jukebox, Maggie’s Premium Bakery, Big Fish Grill Rehoboth, Crust & Craft, Crooked Hammock Brewery, Mispillion River Brewing and more will serve food and drink to the anticipated 500 guests.

“We have some incredible chefs,” said Marketing & Design Coordinator Jennifer Halliday. “The food they prepare is always amazing.”

Restaurant owners will each provide one item of food, while beverage providers will share cocktails, beer or wine. With the variety of samplings available, guests may serve themselves.

“Guests will just walk up to the tables, grab what they want and be able to go mingle throughout the rest of the event,” Halliday said.

Nicole Bailey, chairman of the Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch, said Meals on Wheels Delaware has given the participating chefs the freedom to choose which items they want to prepare.

“Some people stay really true to brunch,” Bailey said. “Other people have different specialties that they like to show off, so we really leave it to the restaurant.”

With the diversity of dishes offered, event planners said they hope brunch guests are able to appreciate the privilege of choosing from a large selection of food.

“We like to do food-related events because it reminds people of the fact that, while we have all these options of food for you to choose from, Delaware seniors aren’t as lucky,” Halliday said.

Cooking and serving their items on a volunteer basis, the restaurants and breweries are helping support Meals on Wheels Delaware’s mission of serving Delaware seniors, she said.

To accompany the brunch, event organizers have also planned a silent and live auction for guests to win prizes, including golfing excursions, gift cards from local restaurants, custom license plates from the DMV and more.

The live auction will begin at 1 p.m., but the silent auction will be open throughout the brunch for individuals to bid on items.

“There is a space in the Rudder where items are laid out, and people will be able to walk around and look at them,” Halliday said.

As event participants sample new brunch items and bid on prizes, they will also be able to try seasonal beers from the event’s second annual beer garden.

“The beer garden has a different selection of beer, where you get to walk around and try all of the samples,” Halliday said.

Throughout the Beach Brunch, D.J. Man and Bettenroo will also be playing music.

In order to partake in the brunch, individuals must first purchase a ticket for $75 at eventbrite.com or mealsonwheelsde.org. If a group of people with six or more guests wants to attend the brunch, they will receive a discount price of $60 per ticket. People ages 21 to 40 can purchase the Young Professional ticket for $60, but they must bring a form of identification to the venue with them.

All of the proceeds made from the tickets will benefit Meals on Wheels Delaware and five other meal-providing agencies so that they can continue serving Delaware seniors’ physical and emotional needs.

“Meals on Wheels Delaware is a fundraising agency, and the funds are then allocated to meal delivery programs throughout the state,” Halliday said.

The five other agencies include CITY Fare and St. Anthony Center in Wilmington and New Castle County, Newark Senior Center in the Newark Area, Modern Maturity Center in Kent County, CHEER in Sussex County and Meals on Wheels Lewes-Rehoboth in Sussex County.

Together, the agencies deliver meals to 4,000 homebound seniors every day throughout the state of Delaware while also providing companionship. Last year, thousands of volunteers from corporations, and civic, community and religious groups served 727,000 meals.

Some of those volunteers with Meals on Wheels Delaware will be working and supervising the Beach Brunch, along with the staff of the organization. To volunteer at the event, individuals can sign up on the organization’s website.

Launched in 1996, Meals on Wheels Delaware strives to assist seniors so that they can live independently, healthily and safely. For Meals on Wheels Delaware employees and volunteers, the Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch is intended to inform participants about the nonprofit organization and raise awareness about Delaware seniors and the struggles they undergo.

“It’s one of the best events put on down here at the beach, and in the meantime, they’re giving back to the local community and supporting a cause,” Bailey said about event participants.

Celebrity Chefs’ Beach Brunch event organizers and workers said they hope guests will leave the event with the motivation to help reduce food insecurity among Delaware seniors while also enjoying one last taste of the beach after summer has ended.

“I want them to have a great time,” Halliday said. “I want them to be able to experience all of the different chef offerings and beverages. I want them to, hopefully, win something they enjoy from the auction.

“First and foremost, we want them to walk away knowing the message of Meals on Wheels Delaware and realizing the hunger struggles that seniors go through.”