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Night of Promise lives up to its name

By: BuffaloGroveCountryside A Chicago Sun-Times Publication

June 30, 2011

Guests at the Cradle Foundation's sixth annual Night of Promise April 30 sampled creations from 15 Chicago area chefs who set up tasting stations in demonstration kitchens at Abt Electronics. The Glenview-based electronics and home appliance superstore has hosted Night of Promise since its inception.

Besides offering attendees a delicious experience, Night of Promise promotes adoption awareness and raises vital funds for the Cradle's programs and services. Co-chaired by Cradle adoptive parents Amy Novicki (Tommy 2004 and Anna 2006) and Robin Schachtel (Halle 2004), this year's event drew close to 200 guests and generated nearly $55,000 for the Cradle.

The Chicago Cuatro Orchestra Ensemble, featuring 13-year-old guitarist and Cradle "baby" Diego Gonzales, serenaded guests with lively Latin music. Diego, his parents and sister were featured in a video in which several Cradle adoptive families and a Cradle birthmother discussed their adoption experiences.

Paul Fehribach, executive chef and co-owner of Big Jones in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood, served his signature shrimp and grits. Elvia Granados, pastry chef at Francesca's Restaurants, offered an array of tempting sweets such as chocolate-caramel truffles and mini Key lime pies. Other notable chefs included Sarah Stegner from Prairie Fire and Prairie Grass Café, and the Hearty Boys' Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh, who adopted their son, Nate, through the Cradle in 2005.

Between tastings, guests shopped at Abt (and received a discount), placed bids on items in the silent auction and purchased raffle tickets for a chance to win $1,000 cash. The evening's live auction included prizes such as a four-night stay at the Boulders Resort and Spa in Carefree, Ariz., and a signed script and CD from "Glee."

Founded in Evanston in 1923, the Cradle is a licensed, accredited, not-for-profit, nonsectarian adoption and child welfare agency.

© 2011 Sun-Times Media, LLC.