California Spirit XXI - A Gourmet Gala.

On Sunday July 24, California Spirit presented their 21st Gourmet Gala at the Ken Roberts Ranch in Brentwood. Raising $950,000 for cancer programs benefiting the American Cancer Society.

California Spirit, hosted by master chef Wolfgang Puck, Sherry Lansing and Barbara Lazaroff and chaired by Glenda Grant and Shelley Reid.

This year's garden party had more than 800 guests who dined al fresco and sampled fares from some of California's most renowned wineries. The guest of Honor was Herb Nadel who is this year's recipient of the "Spirit of Life Awards". The Master of Ceremonies was radio talk show host, Michael Jackson.

Guests enjoyed live entertainment, three silent auctions as well as one live auction conducted by Inside Edition senior correspondent Jim Moret. The auctions were filled with spectacular prizes such as romantic vacations to London and Australia.

Also auctioned off were; a seven-day cruise to Bora Bora, a trip to Chicago to see Oprah, walk-on roles on network shows including NBC's Thursday night hit "Scrubs". If that wasn't enough they had an impressive raffle prize of a 2005 Toyota Prius.

Wolfgang Puck gathered internationally renowned chefs to prepare a feast that pleased the eye and palate. The invited chefs were from the following restaurants: Gino Angelini - Angelini Osteria, Sean Hardy and Bill Bracken - the Belvedere at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, Mark Peel - Campanile, Luis Diaz - Chinois on Main, Jennifer Naylor - Granita, Josie Le Balch - Josie, Nobu Matsuhisa - Matsuhisa, Josiah Citrin - Melisse, Lee Hefter, Sherry Yard, Thomas Boyce - Spago, Govind Armstrong - Table 8 and Matt Bencivenga from Vert.

Gourmet food, fine wines and liquors were everywhere. The immaculately kept estate grounds were scattered with canopied tables beautifully decorated with centerpieces from the Hidden Garden. Each restaurant brought different delicacies to tempt your taste buds. Whether you were a meat or fish eater, a vegetarian or just into deserts, there was something for everyone and no one left hungry.

Cancer has had a profound affect on the rags-to-riches life of this year's honoree Herb Nadel, FAIA, founder and CEO of Nadel Architects, Inc. Nadel grew up in South Central Los Angeles and Venice, California, and went on to found what is now the largest Los Angeles-based architecture firm. Nadel experienced the greatest loss a parent can when his beloved daughter, Julie, died at age 30 just three years after she had been diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of breast cancer.

Even before his daughters' death. Nadel was no stranger to cancer. When he was 15, his six-year-old sister, Donna, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. The tumor was lodged near her pituitary gland, so she did not grow normally. She was blind by age 17 and died at age 28.

Nadel has joined the American Cancer Society in their goals of reducing cancer deaths by 50%, reducing cancer incidence by 25% and improving the quality of life for cancer patients and their families by the year 2015.

Funds raised at California Spirit will help the Society reach those goals. Among the many uses of their donated funds are ongoing research, education, advocacy and free patient service programs. To date the American Cancer Society has funded the early research of 38 Nobel Laureates.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.

Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 14 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information on cancer, free services and programs, call the American Cancer Society anytime at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the Web site at

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