Friday night at the Epicurean Charitable Foundation of Las Vegas’ (www.ecflv.org) 11th annual scholarship fundraiser, M.E.N.U.S. (Mentoring & Educating Nevada’s Upcoming Students), at the M Resort Spa & Casino’s upscale Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza, some of the city’s top restaurants participated in a “dine around” followed by a live private concert by Counting Crows.

Counting Crows lead  singer, Adam Duritz, addressed a group of about 20 ECF scholarship recipients from the stage and said, “We’re happy to be here supporting such a great cause!” Along with other members of the band, Duritz took time to pose for pictures with the ECF students while they chanted, “We love Counting Crows.”

Philanthropic leader, Jim E. Rogers, was named this year’s honoree during the event for his dedication to education and the Las Vegas community.

Celebrity chef Kerry Simon served up Dungeness crab BLT sliders and breakfast cereal cupcakes at his booth for KGB: Kerry’s Gourmet Burgers at Harrah’s Las Vegas, while Chef Saul Ortiz from Tacos &Tequila served up chilorio tacos, tres leches with passion fruit and watermelon cooler specialty cocktails.

Barmasa at ARIA Resort & Casino, the contemporary Japanese eatery by Chef Masa Takayama, served assorted sashimi and salmon oshizushi. The lovely Chef Carla Pellegrino brought delicious penne alla vodka from Bratalian. The new Gordon Ramsay Steakhouse serviced smoked beef tartare topped with Guinness-infused mustard with seeds and lemon zest. The popular downtown eatery Bar + Bistro at the Arts Factory, a Spanish tapas restaurant, Chef Beni Velazquez served Bristol Bay scallops.

Sponsor and donor of ECF, Larry Ruvo, the Senior Managing Partner of Southern Wine & Spirits, also attended the annual event. Southern Wine & Spirits featured festive event cocktails including the M.E.N.U.S. Martini,  The Hospitality and The Mentor Margarita among many others.

ECF’s annual M.E.N.U.S. event raises money towards awarding scholarships in the hospitality industry for students who demonstrate strong academic performance and financial need.

About Epicurean Charitable Foundation:
ECF works to change the lives of Nevada’s students and positively impact the community, but couldn’t accomplish this without the generous contributions from donors including Southern Wine & Spirits, Wirtz Beverage Nevada, Diageo, Fiji Water, Coca-Cola, Johnson Brothers, MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and more. Future donors can support ECF with a monetary or in-kind donation, matching a gift, gift and estate planning or become a scholarship or M.E.N.U.S sponsor. For more information please contact the Epicurean Charitable Foundation office at 702.932.5098 or visit the ECF website at www.ECFLV.org.

Comprised of more than 25 of Las Vegas’ top food and beverage executives, the Epicurean Charitable Foundation not only awards students with scholarship funds to attend any four-year accredited university of their choice, it also provides mentorship throughout each student’s college career and helps to place the students in internships and jobs.  2012 marked the eleventh year of the Epicurean Charitable Foundation and in its tenure the foundation has provided more than one million dollars to local scholars and also more than one million in charitable community grants to such organizations as Make-A-Wish Foundation, Lied Discovery Children’s Museum, UNLV Rebel Athletic Foundation, Nevada Blind Children’s Foundation, Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Latin Chamber of Commerce. The Epicurean Charitable Foundation Las Vegas can be reached at 702-932-5098 or by visiting www.ECFLV.org.Become a friend on Facebook: www.facebook.com/epicureanlv or follow ECFLV on Twitter: www.twitter.com/epicureanlv.

Photo Credit: David Becker