Gourmet & Grapes returns with most successful event yet, raising almost $1.3M for Hollings Cancer Center

March 27, 2023
a group of people in chefs uniforms stand on a stage and clap while one in the middle triumphantly holds aloft a plaque with a gold fork attached
Chef Kalen Fortuna of Peninsula Grill holds aloft the "Golden Fork" during the 2023 Gourmet & Grapes. Award-winning chefs showcase their skills during the four-day fundraising event. Photos by Justin Falk

While the ballroom was abuzz with lively conversation and the clinking of glasses, it quickly grew silent as Bill Lacey, general manager of The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort, cleared his throat. The moment had arrived for him to reveal the fundraising total for the 15th annual Gourmet & Grapes.

“ONE MILLION, TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS!” he announced exuberantly.

The room once again exploded with sound as every person in the room cheered or clapped, sharing in the celebration of the record-breaking amount. In its 15 years of existence, The Sanctuary’s signature event, Gourmet & Grapes, has raised a total of $6.2 million for cancer research and patient care – with every dollar going to benefit MUSC Hollings Cancer Center.

Hollings’ event manager, Megan Baker, was ecstatic when she heard the total.

“We haven’t been able to hold this event in person since 2020, and we broke the record that year by raising $1 million. I’m incredibly grateful for every person that made this event possible and absolutely thrilled that we were able to break the record again and raise almost $1.3 million for our patients,” said Baker.

Gourmet & Grapes, held over four days at The Sanctuary, is an unparalleled gastronomic fundraising event that pairs the inspired food offerings of award-winning chefs with exquisite wines from around the world.

This year, donations were also sought to support lifesaving cancer prevention programs at Hollings. To emphasize its importance, Hollings supporters Charlie Patrick and Hart Wrangle shared testimonials during Saturday evening’s Wine Odyssey Gala. Patrick’s late wife and Wrangle’s best friend, Hamida Ravenel Patrick, passed away at 33 years old in July of 2021, after battling cervical cancer. Patrick spoke of his wife and her fight and the importance of donating to Hollings.

“We toured the country looking for options, and everyone said, ‘Nothing we can do will be as good as what MUSC is giving you right now,’” Patrick shared. “One of the most powerful things was everyone telling us – MUSC is the best you can get for what she’s got.”

Wrangle got straight to the point when she spoke of her dear friend and implored the audience to donate in Hamida’s memory. “You each have a number in your mind that you are willing to give tonight. Double it.”

Their heartfelt messages were among the highlights of the entire weekend and inspired guests to rise to the challenge and donate over $300,000 in just a matter of minutes.

“It is a wonderous thing to watch,” said Debbie Bordeau, director of development at Hollings Cancer Center. “Gourmet & Grapes is truly an invaluable event for our cancer center; each year, it brings in critical funding to support novel cancer research that will save lives.”

This year’s event, held Feb. 2 through 5, also included Gourmet & Grain, a relaxed BBQ and bourbon mashup; An Epicurean Affair, an exclusive black-tie dinner; Biking & Bubbles, a bike ride on the beach; the Caviar & Champagne Brunch; and finally, Saturday evening’s Wine Odyssey Gala.

Every year, Hollings Cancer Center and The Sanctuary work together to create a fantastic experience that their guests will never forget.

“I’m overwhelmed by the generosity of our guests,” said Lacey. “Gourmet & Grapes has a very special way of bringing the entire community together in this fight against cancer."

Follow Gourmet & Grapes on Facebook for event photos and forthcoming information on next year’s event.