Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ree Drummond kicks off the inagural Celebrity Chef Luncheon

Ree Drummond and Alicia Wood
The inaugural Celebrity Chef Luncheon benefiting the Food Allergy Center at Children’s Medical Center took place on November 1 at Brook Hollow Golf Club.

Any time you have a first year event, it's a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it's never been done before so there's nothing to compare it to. A curse because it's never been done before so there's nothing to compare it to. Ba dum dum. Luncheon chair, Alicia Wood, was the epitome grace under pressure and the luncheon went off without a hitch. Well almost...

The celebrity speaker was renown blogger, Ree Drummond of “The Pioneer Woman".  Drummond is a Chicago city-slicker who fell for a cowboy and once married, found herself living on a working ranch in Oklahoma.  She started her blog in 2006 to chronicle her life on the ranch and began posting recipes and photographs of her family's daily life. Flash forward six years later and Ree has published 8 books and has a cooking show on the Food Network. Oh, and she still blogs.

Cynthia Smoot, Lolly Landwehr and Brandy Ratchford

Drummond took the stage in jeans and cowboy boots and started by telling the crowd that she was a "horrible speaker".  She wasn't kidding. Funny thing was, no one seemed to mind that she totally read off a Power Point, rambled off childhood stories (like how she stuck Fruit Stripe gum wrappers up her nose when she was a kid and had to go to the ER) or sang "Endless Love" in the voice of her dog, Charlie. The fact that she was so bad, kind of endeared her to us. It's why she's so beloved in the first place - she's one of us. She could be you.  Drummond was totally lovely and milled about before the event and talked to every guest and posed for endless photos prior to the luncheon started.  That NEVER happens with celebrity speakers! So, while she might not win the award for public speaker of the year... absolutely no one minded and everyone left talking about how great the luncheon was.

What I learned is that food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent. Yet, there is no cure and no regimen to prevent potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.  Above, is a video that was shown at the luncheon and I hope that you'll take a moment to watch it.  Studies show that: One in every 13 children in the United States has a food allergy.  Every three minutes, a food-induced allergic reaction sends someone to an emergency room. The Food Allergy Center at Children’s is dedicated to providing patient-centered care and support to help families manage the complexities of pediatric food allergies.

Under the leadership of J. Andrew Bird, M.D., the Food Allergy Center treats a broad range of pediatric food allergies, conducts research aimed at finding cures and provides community education to improve the quality of life for children with food allergies.  For more information, visit Children's website.