A mouth-watering dinner, a delicious assortment of wine and scrumptious prizes will all be on tap for the Seventh Annual Passions of the Palette event set for Monday, April 11 at the Hattiesburg Lake Terrace Convention Center.
Festivities begin with a silent auction at 5:30 p.m., followed by the tasting dinner at 7 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Department of Casino, Hospitality & Tourism Management (CHTM) at The University of Southern Mississippi. Approximately 20 CHTM seniors help organize and coordinate the logistics of the annual event under the direction of department chair Dr. Catherine Price.
“This event has just gotten bigger and better every year,” said Price. “There’s no way we could have envisioned it becoming this popular and important to our department. It has become our primary fundraiser and something our students eagerly anticipate every year.”
Price noted that CHTM students benefit from the event in two distinctive ways – by obtaining real-world management experience and through funds raised via the silent auction.
“These students are part of the Advanced Convention Management course I teach,” said Price. “From the time they arrive to begin the spring semester in mid-January they are actively involved in organizing Passions of the Palette. And the money we make is used to assist in scholarship needs, cover expenses for scholastic conferences and other student-related activities.”
Last year the event raised approximately $10,000. More than 100 items have been donated for the silent auction with prizes ranging from full-course meals at area restaurants to weekend getaways at resorts as far away as California.
Each year the event includes a celebrity chef who will prepare the evening’s meal and presentation of the Industry Partnership of the Year Award. The 2011 chef is Jerry Edwards, who owns and serves as corporate chef of Chef’s Expressions, a specialty catering company in Baltimore, Md. Larry Gregory, executive director of the Mississippi Gaming Commission, will be recognized as the Industry Partnership Award winner.
Tickets are $50 and limited seating is available. For information call the Ferlise Ticket Center at 601.266.5418 or the Department of Casino, Hospitality & Tourism Management at 601.266.6762.