Delicious soups – and funding – cooked up at SE Works event

Discover how a soup- (not wine) tasting is paired up with a dinner and auctions in support of this organization that helps folks get off welfare by preparing them for good jobs …

Richard Kiely, past SE Works board member and owner of Home Run Graphics, tastes the Apple Cheddar Cheese Soup (winner of a Celebrity’s Choice Award) made by Patty Park of Portland Specialty Banking Co., at the organization’s 10th Annual Celebration and 7th annual Soup Cook-off event.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
For a decade, an organization called SE Works has been strengthening the economic health and well being of the diverse southeast Portland community by connecting between job seekers with employers.

Their efforts have been successful: In the last ten years, the organization has helped more than 10,000 people get living-wage jobs by providing them with targeted training programs.

Sarah Keeney of Benson Shed Garden Café offers a taste of her Candied Yam Bisque – as does Heather Ficht, Worksystems Inc., with her Hungarian Mushroom Soup (later named the Golden Ladle Winner) – to Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams.

The celebrities on hand to decide the Celebrities’ Choice Award Soup Cook-off Award are Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, Kerry DeBuse of Genoa, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, and David Machado of Vindalho.

Again celebrating with soup
On October 19th, 285 guests attended “Recipes for Success: SE Works’ Ten Year Celebration, Soup Cook-Off, and Auction”.

The gala featured their seventh-annual soup-tasting competition. Guests voted for their favorite soups with dollar bills. The “Hungarian Mushroom Soup” cooked up by Heather Ficht, of Worksystems, Inc., earned the most donations, and was given the 2007 Golden Ladle Award.

John Jeska, buying balloons from Rekita Barron. Each balloon contains a gift certificate to an area restaurant.

SE Works Board Chair Denise Walton and Executive Director Heidi Soderberg get the evening’s formal program underway.

Celebrity judges, including Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, Kerry DeBuse of Genoa, and David Machado of Vindalho, voted for their favorites. The judging ended in a three-way tie: Laura Bock, Job Developers Network; Pam Butterworth, SE Works; and Patty Park of Portland Specialty Baking each earned the Celebrities’ Choice Award.

Between tastes, guests bid on a wide array of silent auction items featured on three tables. Master of Ceremonies David F. Ashton, of East PDX News, whipped up excitement as the silent auctions closed and guided guests through the evening’s activities.

The soup chefs line up as the “cream of the crop” winning entries are about to be awarded for the “Recipes for Success Soup Cook-off”.

The Celebrities’ Choice Award ended in a three-way tie! The co-winners are soup chefs Pam Butterworth of SE Works, Patty Park of Portland Specialty Baking, and Laura Bock of the Job Developers Network.

Winner of the 2007 Golden Ladle Award – chosen by a vote of attendees – goes to Heather Ficht from Worksystems, Inc. The award is presented by SE Works Executive Director Heidi Soderberg as well as staff member (and this year’s Soup Chef Host) Gwen Nothwang.

Then, while guests enjoyed a full-course Pacific salmon dinner, SE Works clients shared their success stories.

Master auctioneer Mitch Lambley stepped up and got the guests to open their checkbooks and bid on outstanding live auction packages. In all, $41,000 was raised to support SE Works’ programs.

David F. Ashton, Master of Ceremonies for the event pauses between closing the silent auctions. (Sue Eastman photo) Auctioneer Mitch Lambley gets a good price for another outstanding prize package during the live auction.

A sell-out crowd of nearly 300 showed up for the 10th Anniversary Celebration and Recipes for Success Soup Cook-off held in Southeast Portland on October 19.

Sponsors for the event included: ON Semiconductor; PCC Structurals; Portland Development Commission; Bank of the West; CMTS, Inc.; Gunderson, Inc.; IITR Truck School; Kraft Foods/Nabisco; Lumber Products; Pacific Natural Foods; Pam Olson Farmers Insurance Agency; Portland Community College; Vancouver Iron & Steel, Inc.; Alotto Gelato; Cascade Medical School; and Kern & Thompson, LLC.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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