Todd English Comes to Pittsburgh

Todd Enlglish_Pittsburgh


On December 3, 2013, when the sun peeked through the cloudy skies for the first time in days, and melted the remnants of snow that covered Pittsburgh’s streets, it seemed like a promise that hearts would be melted that night also. And indeed, the first of a series of culinary fundraisers around the US featuring celebrity chefs, by the Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation, was a heartwarming and successful event.


Approximately 70 guests gathered at the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. Claude and Laura Kronk, for a “One Night Only” exclusive experience organized and elegantly put together by Bonnie Walker Events.


As guests were seated at their tables, they each found an autographed charger by celebrity chef and TV personality Todd English, who was invited by Troy and Theodora Polamalu to design a five course menu for their guests. Wines were graciously donated by Mr. Hardy, owner of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and selected by Sommelier and Director of Fine Dining, Wine and Spirits, Ms. Holly Smith.


The evening started with a two song serenade by the children’s choir of Center of Life from Hazelwood. These talented young performers slowly descended the double staircase in the dining room and made their way down to accompany the musicians of the Gary Racan band, our stellar entertainers for this evening- in harmony and chorus as they performed “One Love” by Bob Marley, one of Troy Polamalu’s favorite songs and indeed a fitting theme to this night of giving.


The limited amount of guests allowed for an intimate dinner as the backdrop for the most giving and charitable people of Pittsburgh to come together to not only support the Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation and the causes it supported with this event, but to also meet and mingle with likeminded people and to be an advocate for the organizations they represent themselves. On this particular night, everybody had a voice.


With only 70 guests and no headline sponsors, the Troy and Theodora Polamalu Foundation successfully raised over $300,000 in one night, benefitting Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Division of Hematology/Oncology, FOCUS Pittsburgh’s Back Pack Feeding program which provides meals to underserved children in Pittsburgh over the weekend and the Fa’a American Samoa camp, a sports camp in American Samoa with an academic component, that was founded by Troy Polamalu.


Included in the night’s fundraiser was a live auction with only three auction items, graciously secured by Mrs. Cindy Citrone, which alone raised over $100,000. The items were an elegant, limited edition Louis Vuitton Capucines bag and a welcome tour with champagne at Louis Vuitton’s New York store; a dazzling Atlas (TM) diamond bracelet by Tiffany and an invitation-only breakfast at Tiffany in the Tiffany Salon at the jeweler’s famous Fifth Avenue store, followed by a tour of Tiffany’s jewelry workshop; and finally a private dinner with Troy and Theodora Polamalu in a private room of the bidder’s restaurant of choice.


Professional boxer Roy Jones Jr., who left his mark in boxing history when he won the WBA Heavy Weight title as a former middle weight champion and who is currently in training for an upcoming fight, freed his busy schedule and flew to Pittsburgh from Pensacola, FL to support the Polamalus for their event. Among other guests that were attending were Pittsburgh Steelers Ryan Clark and his wife Yonka, Heath Miller and his wife Katie, and Brett Keisel and his wife Sarah.


Among other guests were Mr. and Mrs. Robert and Cindy Citrone, Mrs. Dorothy Pollon and her son Benjamin, Mrs. Dana Harris, Ms. Rosey Park, Mr. Hardy, Ms. Debi Wheeler, Mr. Fran Azur and his wife Mrs. Melanie Geffert, Mr. and Mrs. Greg Barrett (President and Executive Director of the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation), Mr. John Jacobs, Mrs. Denise Pampena, Mrs. Barbara Chait, Mr. and Mrs. Shaina and Joshua Schachter, Mr. and Mrs. John and Cathy Miclot, Mrs. Clare Meehan, Mrs. Barbara Barry, Mr. and Mrs. Sarris, and Mr. and Mrs.Tim and Audrey Fisher (guest list pasted below).


Mr. Larry Richert from KDKA-TV served as the night’s MC and the speakers that took the podium were Mr. Chris Gessner, President of Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Mr. Nick Chakos, Executive Director of FOCUS North America and Troy and Theodora Polamalu as representatives of the Fa’a American Samoa Camp.


As guests departed home after a wonderfully elegant evening, they each received a gift bag that included a Todd English autographed charger and cookbook, a football autographed by Troy Polamalu, exquisite Sarris Candies and mouthwatering Bella Christie baked goods.


Should your readers want to donate to these deserving causes, they can do so by visiting


For more information about Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, please visit To learn more about FOCUS North America, please visit