Appetites are welcome at the YMCA.
On Wednesday, September 15, Bronx businesses and foodies will be flocking to the Bon Appetit at the Bronx YMCA on Castle Hill Avenue to get a bit of Bronx flavor.
About 32 restaurants have signed up so far for the event, which features tasting and networking opportunities for businesses throughout the Bronx and beyond.
“This is a really good event where people get to taste some of the best food the Bronx has to offer, along with musical entertainment and a silent auction,” said Sharlene Brown, executive director of the YMCA. “Restaurants and businesses that have a stake in the Bronx, they bring their best dishes and people get to taste them and do some socializing and newtowrking as well. It’s all the best dishes and desserts, and people get a chance to try some foods they normally wouldn’t have the to opportunity to try.”
The annual YMCA fundraiser, in its fourth year, runs from 6 until 9 p.m.
According to Brown, it was started as an innovative way to raise funds for the facility, and to get the community involved in the YMCA’s programs.
All of the proceeds will go to support the dozens of YMCA services that are offered to the roughly 9,000 youth members across the borough.
“This helps out the swimming lessons, teen programs, family events and activities. And it goes to our scholarship fund so we can provide programs and services to those who are unable to afford the YMCA, so it gives them the opportunity to get more involved,” Brown said. “We have about 300 members at the Castle Hill location and about 13 other locations around the borough, so this also helps support those facilities as well.”
The food that selection ranges from southern barbecue and creole, to classic Italian and American cuisines.
This year’s event will be hosted by Baron Ambrosia, the self-proclaimed ‘quaffer of culinary consciousness’ and host of ‘Bronx Flavor’ on the BronxNet channel. YMCA Tae Kwon Do instructor, Master George; Carmela Lucciola, of Egidio Pastry Shop; chef and author Elsie Ramos, and Jimmy Rodriguez, of Don Coqui, will be honored at the event as well.
While most of the restaurants will be from the Bronx, the event is open to restaurants and people from all the boroughs, Brown said.
Last year about 150 people enjoyed the foods of 34 restaurants, and Brown is hoping this year’s event will be even bigger.
“It’s always been well attended, with a good number of sponsors and participation from restaurants and vendors, and it’s been growing ever since the former director, Elizabeth Toledo, started it,” Brown said.