Neeley Hatridge and Lisa Kent at the Sterling Silver
If you’ve not been to the Bakersfield College Foundation’s Sterling Silver event – where have you been for the pas six years?!
The Sterling Silver takes place each winter, and brings together fine dining and fine wines for one amazing fundraising event. I attended my first Sterling Silver dinner last year…just weeks into my presidency at Bakersfield College…and was amazed at the talent we have right here at home!
Each year, the Bakersfield College Foundation welcomes Executive Chef from Playboy Mansion West William Bloxsom-Carter to campus, where he works with Bakersfield College Culinary Arts students and Food Services staff to create an amazing meal. Retiring Bakersfield College Foundation executive director Mike Stepanovich selects wines to pair with each course, and the night is finished with a delectable dessert designed by Chef Ray Ingram from the Petroleum Club (and proud Bakersfield College graduate!).
In addition to the amazing meal is a silent and live auction with experiences like no other. The entire event comes together to create a single fundraising experience where the guests are as excited as those students who will eventually receive financial support for their education.
Neeley Hatridge, of Bakersfield College Centennial Gala fame, was the event coordinator. Tarina Perry, our resident facilities and operations guru provided logistics support. Amber Chiang worked the live and silent auctions like she has every year. These three amazing women were supported by a crew, and I want to give special thanks to Lisa Kent, Debbie Zuech, Margaret Head, Miriam Valenzuela, the Agriculture Ambassadors, Sally Sterns, Chef Pat Coyle, Chef Alex Gomez, Chef Suzanne Davis…and the list goes on.
There’s a gallery of photos from Bakersfield College American Sign Language professor and resident photographer Tom Moran. Take a look…you’ll want to attend Sterling Silver next year!
You’ve all heard the saying it takes a village and I can tell you, Sterling Silver takes a village. Let’s hear from the villagers!
Neeley Hatridge – Event Coordinator
Neeley Hatridge late on Friday afternoon before Sterling Silver
The Sterling Silver dinner has become a staple event for Bakersfield College. Our staff has become accustomed to executing quality and our community has come to expect great things. This presented me with some big shoes to fill when Hannah resigned. Coming in as a rookie, I had lots of big ideas and dreams and then the old pros brought me down to reality, such as draping fabric from our cafeteria’s 50 year-old ceiling, which I am still scheming to accomplish one day. However, having so much of the staff familiar with this event really helped prevent potential problems, even with some of my new ideas.
Whether I am designing a space for a home or an event, I take inspiration from everywhere. I do things like visit rental companies and flip through swatches of fabric (i.e. how I chose the linens), or do research online; you’d be surprised how resourceful Google images can be. These things give me ideas and then they need to be tailored to meet our specific needs. One major thing that helped me with this event was to walk around The French Quarter, a local Bakersfield store. I would see items that I knew I had to use and then create a way to incorporate them into the design. For example, the table lamps that were used behind our check-in table. They fit the aesthetic of the event, perfectly, and HAD to be utilized. Of course, the decor and our experienced staff weren’t the only things that made this event possible.
The purpose of the event is to raise money and showcase Bakersfield College’s outstanding Culinary Arts program. To make that happen, we need people to enjoy themselves as guests. BC’s Foundation Director, Mike Stepanovich, and Playboy Mansion’s Executive Chef, William Carter, were essential in accomplishing this. Mike Stepanovich led our committee in securing sponsorships and enticing auction items for our bidders. Chef Carter and our Culinary department orchestrated a dinner that would have mass appeal, without sacrificing quality and originality. The success of this year’s annual Sterling Silver dinner was achieved because each and every player was equipped with expertise, open-mindedness, and was hardworking. Now, we just have to figure out a way to top it next year!
Tarina Perry – Logistics/Planning Coordinator
The event was well planned out and organized. Everyone knew their role and assigned tasks, as well as, the overall vision- so we supported one another as necessary by sharing opinions and picking up additional duties without hesitation. Because of this, it was actually one of the more productive events I have been involved with in years. As far as timeline is concerned, we were always one step ahead, which allowed execution to run safe and cost effective. We also had fun with some of the decorations and were able to express our personalities with them-that was nice.
I would like to mention that I really enjoyed working with the students from Garces Memorial, Highland High School, and Bakersfield College agriculture – they were a HUGE help and it was enjoyable teaching them all about the event history!!!
Thank you for making it possible to have a second Custodial Supervisor on staff. I believe that is one of the reason the event went as well as it did. To have this support when it is needed is invaluable and since that need is constant, it was truly a life saver! Our TEAM will greatly benefit with this improvement.
Amber Chiang – Auctions Coordinator
Sterling Silver is an event I look forward to each year. I have so much fun watching all our guests come in, dressed to the nines, ready to enjoy their evening. I have even more fun watching the quiet little battles play out over the silent auction sheets, particularly with items of popularity. The live auction is even more exciting, and that is when we roll out special experiences that are not often found at special events. My favorite item had to be the “Last Chance Dinner” – or “Last Supper” – as our auctioneer extraordinaire Paul Paveltich called it. This dinner was the last chance to have Bakersfield College’s own celebrity chef, Pat Coyle cook dinner for you and five of your closest friends. As Chef Coyle is retiring this May, this was one of the last opportunities to enjoy his amazing cuisine. Of course, it wouldn’t really be a Bakersfield College special dinner if we didn’t call on our resident wine expert Mike Stepanovich to design pairings for the dinner. As Mike too is retiring this Spring, it will be the last chance for this dynamic duo to match wits.
I have to say thank you to my darling daughter Ming-Li. It was her third year helping me set up for the auction, and she was adamant I wasn’t to leave home without her. Life is much more pleasant when you listen to the 10-year-old who wants to volunteer! I’m so happy to say that the auctions combined raised more than $27,000 for scholarships for Bakersfield College’s deserving students. Thank you to all who attended the event and donated the auction items. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Sonya Christian. Very pleased after a successful Sterling Silver. Feb 2014
Thank you Bakersfield for all your support for our College and our students.