Celebrity chef Mario Batali to lead Saint Martin’s 2011 Gala

LACEY, WASHINGTON — Saint Martin’s University will welcome world-renowned chef Mario Batali for its 2011 Gala, an annual black-tie affair benefitting student scholarships.

Mario BataliBatali — critically acclaimed and award-winning chef, restaurateur, author, television personality and philanthropist — will take center stage at the Saint Martin’s University Gala, Saturday, Nov. 5, 2011, 5:30 p.m., at Marcus Pavilion on the University’s Lacey campus.

Gala attendees will enjoy an entertaining culinary demonstration by Batali, whose five-course dinner will be served with specially selected wine and accompanied by an exciting live and silent auction. Auction items include the opportunity to join Batali on stage as he prepares the evening’s cuisine. Tickets for the event are $200, and both event and table sponsorships are currently available.

The theme of this year’s Gala, “La Festa di San Martino,” reflects the Italian flavor of the event. “La Festa di San Martino” refers to the feast day of the University’s namesake, Saint Martin of Tours, celebrated November 11.

This year’s Gala co-chairs are Dick '64 and Karen Roney and Batali’s parents, Armandino '59 and Marilyn Batali.

In addition to headlining the Gala, Batali will join guests of the University’s Meet the Chef event, also held Saturday, Nov. 5. At Meet the Chef, Batali will mix and mingle with the crowd over wine and hors d’ouevres. Designed for a limited audience of 150, this epicurean event will provide an opportunity to get “up close and personal” with the celebrated chef. Meet the Chef will take place at 4:15 p.m. on the Saint Martin’s campus (building to be determined). Tickets (separate from Gala tickets) are $200, and event sponsorships are currently available.

Proceeds of both the Gala and Meet the Chef support scholarship funds for Saint Martin’s University students. Since it began in 2006, the Gala has raised more than $500,000 for programs, recreational facilities, and science and engineering equipment, as well as for scholarships.

“The Saint Martin’s community is very eager to host Mario Batali on our campus,” says Saint Martin’s University President Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D. “Over the years, the Gala has grown into a premier event for the region. With Mario leading the celebration, this year’s Gala promises to be the best one yet.”

“We can’t think of a better guest for our Gala than Mario,” Heynderickx adds. “Mario’s passion for his profession is rooted in creativity, entrepreneurship and commitment to excellence — everything we aim to cultivate in our students. His spirit of hospitality and his enthusiastic generosity reflect the Benedictine values upon which Saint Martin’s was founded. In a very meaningful way, Mario connects to the University’s philosophy of learning and living.”

For additional details about both events, including ticket and sponsorship information, contact the Saint Martin’s University Office of Institutional Advancement at 360-486-8885 or gala@stmartin.edu, or visit the event website at www.stmartin.edu/gala. For more about Mario Batali, visit www.mariobatali.com.

Saint Martin’s University is an independent four-year, Catholic, coeducational university located on a 380-acre wooded campus in Lacey, Washington. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 18 Benedictine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 22 majors and six graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes 1,250 students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its main campus, and 650 more to its extension campuses located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Everett College, Centralia College and Tacoma Community College.