Celebrity Chefs Reunite for OFRF 25th Anniversary Luncheon at Expo West

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Chef Donna Prizgintas, who presided over OFRF’s very first Annual Luncheon at the Natural Products Expo West trade show in 1998, is re-uniting with longtime colleague du cuisine Chris Blobaum to help celebrate our Foundation’s 25th anniversary year.

This year’s luncheon, the 18th we have celebrated at Expo West, takes place March 5th 2015, outdoors on the sunny Grand Plaza of the Anaheim Convention Center. This landmark celebration is being co-sponsored by a number of OFRF's generous supporters, including New Hope Media, Aramark, Amy's Kitchen, Lundberg Family Farms, Santa Cruz Organics, and Nature's Path.

Chef Donna, a 15-year volunteer for OFRF, will be flying in from her home in Ames, Iowa, where she co-hosts the DonnaLonna Kitchen cooking show on public radio, and creates sumptuous all-organic menus for special events. Chef Chris, a nationally-known executive chef who has volunteered in the Expo West kitchen for about 14 years, will be making the trip from Atlanta, where he currently runs ten restaurants in five upscale hotels.

“Chris and I have done this event together for years and years, and I’m really looking forward to working with him again,” Prizgintas said. “It’s going to be a great reunion. We’re both Midwestern farm kids at heart, and we really understand each other.”

Prizgintas is a master chef specializing in all-organic cuisine for private clients and special events. She returned to the Midwest to be near extended family, and enjoys being an advocate for organic food and farming in the region. Blobaum’s interest in organics began with childhood visits to his grandfather’s biodynamic farm in Iowa, and his father’s career as an international organic farming consultant.

“As a chef, a big part of my inspiration was growing up with good, wholesome food, fresh from the farm,” Blobaum said.

“Certainly, agribusiness is prevalent throughout the Midwest, but there is also a growing movement supporting small family farmers, and organic farming,” Blobaum said. “I have great relationships in the OFRF community, my dad was on the board for years, and I learn something new every time I’m there.”

OFRF’s Expo West culinary team promise this year’s feast will be lavish, seasonal, and of course, completely organic.

“A big event like this requires some planning, but the best way to cook, I think, is to go to the market with some ideas, but to come home with the freshest and most beautiful seasonal food,” Blobaum mused. “There’s usually quite a bit to choose from in Sothern California, in March. We will have a plan, but I can’t promise we’ll stick to it.”

Donations from OFRF’s farm and industry partners are also central to the success of our annual celebration. Everything from organic spices, to estate-bottled olive oil from individual growers, are woven into the luncheon buffet. 

“I have had the luxury of making any menu we wanted over the years, thanks to the generous support of the organic foods industry and our donors,” Prizgintas said. “We feel very supported by our community. It’s kind of magical, really.”

Tickets for the OFRF 18th Annual Luncheon at Expo West are now available! Click here for more information about tickets, tables and sponsorship opportunities, or contact Doreen Luke at doreen@ofrf.org , or by calling (831) 426-6606.