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This Non-Profit Organization Is Striving to End Homelessness One Life at a Time

Written By: Raphael Madrid
Photography Provided By: Werkit Photo 7th Annual OC Chef’s Table

How often are you able to witness a collection of nearly 50 of the most talented chefs from Los Angeles and Orange County in one room, under one united cause? The answer is: once per year, for the Illumination Foundation’s annual OC Chef’s Table gala, benefiting the fight against homelessness! 

The special evening took place at Disneyland® Hotel’s Grand Ballroom and featured an elaborate silent auction, photo opportunities and an unforgettable dinner each prepared tableside by one of the 44 acclaimed chefs in attendance. The March 1st event raised nearly $1.2 million. 

As advocates of change, the Illumination Foundation’s sole purpose is to end the cycle of homelessness for those within our communities.  

Last year’s event was a tremendous success and helped raise over $1 million that went toward the renovation of emergency homeless shelters in communities that desperately needed it. The Bob Murphy House opened in fall 2019 and was instrumental in the Illumination Foundation’s efforts to help families permanently recover from homelessness.

“We were able to take the funds raised from our OC Chef’s Table event and create a new solution for homeless families in just eight months,” says Illumination Foundation co-founder Paul Leon. 

It is not just Leon and his team that had high hopes for the evening’s proceedings. All 46 chefs who head various restaurants throughout the LA and OC areas competed for major bragging rights. Each table was decorated in excess—various themes were elegant, wild, dazzling and unique in their own way and reflective of the chef’s menu, personality and taste.  

“This was the first big [charity] event in my culinary career, and the cause is near and dear to my heart. I am close to people who have gone through [homelessness], so it means so much to be able to give back,” says Paige Riordan, chef and owner of the newly opened Scarlet Kitchen and Lounge in Rancho Mission Viejo.

After its seventh year, OC Chef’s Table continues to grow, continuously selling out and providing necessary funding for Illumination Foundation’s vital outreach programs.

“We hope to exceed $1 million again next year and to continue to educate our guests and be advocates for all our homeless clients,” says Leon.

Illumination Foundation
1091 N Batavia St
Orange, CA 92867 7th Annual OC Chef’s Table
949.273.0555 7th Annual OC Chef’s Table