More than 700 people raised $226,714 for Jewish Family & Career ServicesZimmerman-Horowitz Independent Living Program at The Tasting on Thursday, May 17.

It was a record night for the 19th annual fundraiser for the nonsectarian JF&CS program, which serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities so they can work, live and thrive in their communities.

“We hope to allow others the opportunity to be self-sufficient and experience a better quality of life,” said JF&CS board President Michael Levy, a partner in the transaction advisory service practice at Aprio.

Donald and Joan Brown, The Tasting’s original sponsors, pose with Elyse and Warren Zindler and fine libations.

The event returned to the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead, where it all started when Joan and Donald Brown held a low-key wine tasting for 130 people.

Hilly Blondheim of High Roller Sushi sponsored the pre-event hour, including a colorful sushi display in the ballroom.

Les Retter and Hilly Blondheim bring efficient High Roller Sushi chefs to The Tasting.

The room was spacious enough to fit all the attendees with minimal lines for the innovative food.

Twenty-three vendors served fabulous and creative dishes, from wild mushroom gnocchi with truffle oil (Davio’s) to fresh spring pea salad with watermelon radish (Lure). Cibo e Beve made a clever statement with matzah ball soup.

First-time participant Peter Kaiser prepares yellow-fin tuna with son Christian.

Restaurateur Peter Kaiser, a first-year participant, and son Christian served up a vivid purple yellow-fin tuna with avocado and leche de tigre on tortilla chips. He was impressed with the ILP, learning about the program from his customers in the Horowitz family.

Stuart Fierman, serving an English pea salad from the Fifth Group’s Lure, said: “Jerry Horowitz (whose daughter, Michelle, is a participant in the program) introduced me to this great organization. I wouldn’t miss it for anything.”

More important, the warm crowd conveyed well wishes for those participants in the program who mingled at The Tasting while dressed in their snazziest outfits.

ILP participant Marla Rosenberg socializes with her mother, Rachael, and with fellow ILP client Linda Danzig.

Rachael Rosenberg, mother of program participant Marla Rosenberg, said: “We trust this program where Marla has thrived over the past 16 years. I know they will always take care of her and look out for her well-being.”

No one left hungry — the desserts were all fluffy and gooey in the lobby on the way out.

“This year was a tremendous success — more sponsors, more vendors, more funds raised,” event coordinator Caryn Kroll said. “We are right on track!”

 

Laura Weiss, Michael Rosenberg, Betsy Levy, board President Michael Levy and Amy Fingerhut enjoy High Roller Sushi during the pre-event cocktail hour.