Last year's Chefs of Long Island raised $50,000 for charity

Dozens of Long Island chefs are firing up their grills for a tasting event to raise funds for the nonprofit Life’s WORC’s Family Center for Autism, which helps people with developmental disabilities.

The second annual Chefs of Long Island Tasting Event, scheduled for Monday, March 12 at The Carltun in East Meadow, will be packed with supporters sampling food and beverages from more than 45 local restaurants, breweries, vineyards and caterers — all to help the agency continue its mission.

“It’s part friendraiser, part fundraiser, and it’s the least costly of our special events,” says Matt Zebatto, assistant executive director of development and public affairs for Life’s WORC. “So this is a way for us to connect to just about every person in a very participant-friendly price point.”

He said that last year, the event raised $50,000. This year he has set a fundraising goal of $75,000.

Services that Life’s WORC provides include community habilitation, customized employment, family support, and much more. The nonprofit agency has 41 homes and 12 nonresidential programs located throughout Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Manhattan, providing support to about 2,200 individuals.

Besides raising money for a good cause, the fundraiser also helps get exposure for participating chefs.

“The chef‘s event is great because we get a lot of restaurateurs and chefs who come and showcase their food and their menus,” says Rick Ritacco, owner of Wings Plus in Port Washington. “They attract a great crowd — over 400 people came last year. We’re really happy with it and we’re hoping to have the same success this year.”

Attendees can also expect to sample food from Allie’s Gluten Free Goodies, a unique and specialized bakery dedicated to providing allergen-free treats. Owner Allison Luckman plans to bring her most popular item, her vegan cookie dough bites, as well as her completely allergen-free donuts.

Bon appétit!

The Chefs of Long Island Tasting Event will be held 6:30-10 p.m. Monday, Mar. 12 at The Cartun in Eisenhower Park. Tickets are $75. For more information, visit

Editor’s note: Life’s WORC was founded by Long Island Press co-publisher Victoria Schneps-Yunis.