Local Temecula artisan chef and owner of E.A.T. Marketplace www.eatmarketplace.comLeah Delyte Di Bernardo won Charity 4 Charity’s prestigious “Food Network Star” (aka Chef of the Year) honors at the February 8 Gala event- Stars of the Valley 2013.
The stiff completion included several other local chefs. When asked what this award meant to her, Chef Leah said, “This award stands for 12 years of staying true to what I believe in- good, local seasonal foods- the farmers who grow it, workers who pick it and the vast connection of families that this style of cooking supports. It’s all about family, conviviality and community. The core of this award exemplifies supporting others- first and foremost- giving back selflessly. And I am honored that my peers think this way of me!”
Chef Leah was a community star long before she earned this award. E.A.T. is just one of three businesses she operates in the Temecula area under the Di Bernardo’s umbrella company, Cultivating Good Inc. The other two are Primal Cravings and Harvest 2 U. She also introduced the Slow Food Movement to the Temecula Valley community. A life-long foodie, she fiercely advocates natural, preservative-free, hormone-free food grown by local producers and has been instrumental in supporting academic resources for agricultural education through the creation of edible, organic gardens in local schools.
Charity for Charity is a non-profit organization whose mission statement is to make a significant difference in the lives of others in our community and inspire others to accomplish incredible things.The board of directors is made up of friends, all volunteering their time. The Board includes Charity Presifilippo, Jennifer Hughes, Karen LaPoint, Gina Vitamanti and Brenda Bentivengo. The ladies came up with a dynamic fundraiser and known as “Stars of the Valley Awards Party and Benefit. The event, now in its seventh year gathers locals for a Golden Globe awards style event where they are involved as presenters, nominees and winners. Over 330 attended this year’s event. The event raises funds to grant wishes to Temecula Valley residents.
There are seven award categories. Nominations and voting are done online. According to organizer Charity Presifilippo, “It was wonderful that Leah won. She certainly deserved the award. I loved the way the community got involved and got behind their favorite in each category. We had over 1000 votes.”