The Emeril Lagasse Foundation presented the annual Chi Chi Miguel Weekend April 7 – 9 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, and raised over $1 million carrying out the vision of founders and co-chairs Mike "Chi Chi Miguel" and Valerie Thompson, this year's funding focus is to further the Emeril Lagasse Foundation's mission to inspire, mentor, and enable youth to reach their full potential through culinary, nutrition, and arts education. The event benefited the Emeril Lagasse Foundation support of Alaqua Animal Refuge, Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Food for Thought, and Sinfonia Gulf Coast.
The three-day golf and culinary event commenced on Thursday, April 7, with a wine dinner hosted at Emeril's Coastal. "I'm proud to continue the vision of Mike & Val with the Chi Chi Miguel weekend this year and support four local organizations doing great things for kids,” said Emeril Lagasse. “It is our hope that we can reach more children every year, bringing them hope for a better future. With the help of our amazing sponsors and patrons we are well on our way to the goal.”
A charity golf tournament teed off from the Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort on Friday morning. Following golf, guests enjoyed a seated lunch, during the awards program, with selections from the wine bar featuring weekend wine sponsors AldenAlli Winery, Arista Winery, Bricoleur Vineyards, Frias Family Vineyard, Macauley Vineyard, Mauritson Wines, Red Stitch, Riverain Vineyards, Thompson 31Fifty Wines, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, and Tormaresca Calafuria.
Capping the weekend was the Chi Chi Miguel Throwdown BBQ and benefit auction at the Churchill Oaks Clubhouse and grounds on Saturday evening. The theme for this year’s barbeque competition was “Battle of the Bands,” and teams donned festive rock n’ roll attire. Porktail hour kicked off the evening of competition, followed by a spectacular live auction, and BBQ Awards. The once-in-a-lifetime auction lots included an evening in the Big Easy with country artist Luke Bryan, a trip to Las Vegas to see Bruno Mars in concert and a luxury helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, an original piece of art from coastal fine artist Allison Wickey, a multicourse private dinner for 12 with award-winning Chef Hugh Acheson, the opportunity to write and record a song with legendary artist Jonathan Cain, along with other trips, artwork, and tickets to future Emeril Lagasse Foundation events.
"We are proud that this event has grown from a backyard barbeque to one of the most successful fundraising events along the Gulf Coast,," said Brian Kish, Emeril Lagasse Foundation president. “We are grateful for the support of Mike and Valerie Thompson and their continual dedication to our mission."
Sponsors for the 2022 Chi Chi Miguel event were Setco, FNF Family of Companies, Tammy & Jim Pierce, Grand Bay Construction. JM Phelps Construction, RJH & Associates, Inc., Peachtree Development & Investments, LLC, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, Serenity by the Sea Spa at Hilton Sandestin Beach, Seagar’s Prime Steaks & Seafood, Beans and Rice, Emerald Coast Luxury Transportation, My Vacation Haven, South Walton Florida, Churchill Oaks, Emeril’s Coastal Italian, and Burnt Pine Golf Club.