Dine 'underground' at secret dinner for Chandler arts - East Valley Tribune: Dining

Dine 'underground' at secret dinner for Chandler arts

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Posted: Thursday, October 3, 2013 6:00 am | Updated: 10:08 am, Fri Oct 4, 2013.

Picture this: Instead of going to dinner and a show, you’re immersed in the dinner and the show — and the dinner is kind of a big deal.

Tuscan-born chef Gabriele Bertaccini will prepare six secret courses Oct. 18 and 19 for “Center Stage: An Underground Dining Experience,” a new event designed to benefit the arts in Chandler. The feast’s menu will be kept under wraps until just before dinner time, as will its location.

“Guests are being told to meet at the (Chandler) center (for the Arts), and then all will be revealed as far as the menu and everything,” says Debbie Rubenstrunk with the Chandler Cultural Foundation.

Bertaccini, who appears regularly on “Arizona Midday” on Channel 12 and “Your Life A to Z” on Channel 3, has produced similar events in Phoenix and other cities under the Culinary Mischief label. Typically limited to 30 guests, Rubenstrunk says the dinners are never held in restaurants but take place in more imaginative or intimate locations.

The Chandler dinners are limited to 40 diners each night and will feature entertainment, but the lineup is also being kept secret. Rubenstrunk says artist Debra Jones will paint each evening’s festivities as they happen.

Tickets for the experience are $175; $50 of that will benefit the Jerry Brooks Legacy Fund, and the donation is tax deductible.

Rubenstrunk says Brooks, a former mayor of Chandler, was instrumental in the founding of the city’s arts center. The fund named for him supports local kids.

“A big chunk of that goes to our youth programming. Chandler Center is a leader in the community when it comes to providing programs for our young people. They have a whole menu of things through their Connecting Kidz programs for children in elementary school up through high school.”

The dinner, which includes silent and live auctions, is hosted by Chandler Cultural Foundation and Culinary Mischief. It’s one of Chandler’s “3 Evenings for the Arts,” special events that raise money for the Jerry Brooks Legacy Fund.

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