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Chocolates Galore & More - February 17th | Events

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Chocolates Galore & More - February 17th
Chocolates Galore & More - February 17th

Loudoun County, Va.  The Loudoun County YMCA is pleased to announce its line-up of celebrity judges for the 25th year of its premier fundraiser, Chocolates Galore & More! on Friday, February 17, 2012. This year, six judges along with an expected 700 attendees, will enter the ballroom at the National Conference Center in Lansdowne, Va. to find it filled with the most spectacular chocolate, desserts, and savory hors d'oeuvres awaiting their tasting pleasure. Guests will sample delectable creations presented by favorite local restaurants and bakers, who will offer some of their most creative culinary delights. The judges vote for Best Taste and Best Presentation in both the dessert and hors d'oeuvre categories. There’s also People’s Choice awards given for the same categories. The event also features an extraordinary silent and live auction, music, dancing, and champagne. All proceeds benefit the YMCA Loudoun County's Building Bridges Program, which provides essential support to local families in need.


Mary Beth Albright

Finishing in the Final Four of the highly competitive The Next Food Network Star Season 7, Mary Beth wowed the judges with her “wit, humor, and intelligence” and by “describing food so well, she makes us fall in love more with food.” Mary Beth’s wit and culinary savvy bring diners to the table. With her can-do spirit and optimistic message that eating fresh meals brings people together, Mary Beth is a passionate proponent for living deliciously.

Mary Beth specializes in sharing the joy of food with all audiences. As a food writer and DC Magazine’s food critic for four years, she covers the Washington dining scene, from soup to nuts. In her local radio and television appearances, she helps her hungry audience connect with family and community through a daily local feast. 

Sue Ann Gleason is a Washington, DC-based culinary nutritionist, dynamic eating psychology coach, speaker, and writer. Her entertaining, cutting-edge articles on nourishment, the psychology of eating, and the blissful benefits of chocolate have appeared in various publications as well as her own eco-friendly blog: ChocolateforBreakfast.com.

Sue Ann’s recipes and radiant life tips embody the concept: Dancing with Delicious. Her mission is to inspire women to take back their plates, one luscious bite at a time. When not working with private clients or delivering online programs, Sue Ann can be found sampling exotic chocolates or building broccoli forests in her mashed potatoes. Websites: http://consciousbitesnutrition.com and http://www.chocolateforbreakfast.com.

Steve Mannino

As Executive Chef of Rustico restaurants in Alexandria and Arlington, Steve Mannino brings an innovative brand of cooking that is equal parts rustic and refined. His honest and passionate cooking is short on shortcuts, long on character and defines the heart of Rustico. Before leading the kitchens at Rustico, Mannino held posts in some of the top restaurants across the country including New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. Mannino spent eight years working with acclaimed chef Todd English during which he opened and served as Executive Chef at both Olives Restaurants in Las Vegas and in Washington, DC. Under his leadership, Food & Wine named Olives in Washington, DC “Best New Restaurant” in 2000. Mannino is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York. www.rusticorestaurant.com

Hilary Phelps

As a decorated athlete, an accomplished baker, and a regular at New York Fashion Week, she applied her diverse experience and interest base to the growing website. www.hilaryphelps.com.

As her online following expanded, so too did her diversity of content, ranging from fashion, to food, to fitness, to geo-cultural issues. She began to delve even deeper into the overarching concept of her website: the well-rounded woman, defined by life experiences, refined by travel and exposure, unafraid of new challenges, recipes, designers or deadlines. It was, in effect, the sheer happiness that comes with being the modern 21st century woman, a concept she describes as "the process of finding genuine joy in all that we do." Now, with readers spanning across four continents, HilaryPhelps.com has seen explosive growth over the last 16 months. As creative director, Hilary remains the trailblazer among the Phelps children, more recently expanding into regular TV pieces covering an array of lifestyle issues including fitness, fashion, and culinary nuances.

Stephanie Holguin, the founder of www.foodie-isms.com, is obsessively interested in all things culinary. Her passion for discovering great food has fueled her wanderlust for traveling the world. From formal cooking classes in France to a day in Busara’s kitchen and herb garden in Thailand, Stephanie has learned from the locals while eating her way through forty-two countries. Stephanie created Foodie-isms to share both her passion and her craft. This is a one-stop-shop for luscious recipes gleaned from her travels, must-have kitchen tools, foodie finds, blog posts, healthy eating tips, restaurant reviews and more. When not traveling, Stephanie is working with chefs in DC-based cooking schools or exploring local foodie finds in the Metro Washington, D.C. area as the Community Food Content Producer for WUSA9.

Leigh McDonald is an attorney, former law professor, and the founder of the website: NiceShoesNoDrama.com. Her first book series is in the works, and she appears regularly as a "style + beauty guru" on local network news broadcasts, including Fox 5 DC, WJLA's Channel 8, and NBC Washington. Leigh also contributes written content to all 53 of WUSA9's hyper-local websites, has interviewed numerous notables, and speaks regularly---about a myriad of things, including shoes, life, and important causes---at events in Northern Virginia and in the District. Leigh lives in Leesburg with her husband and two children, and she has an affinity for beautiful shoes, white chocolate, authentic smiles, and smart girlfriends.

Source: Chocolates Galore & More