published Friday, April 8th, 2011

Bella Sera: A beautiful evening in Chattanooga

Foodies come out this Saturday for Bella Sera.

Now in its eighth year, the event celebrating local cuisine for a good cause is taking place for the first time at the Tennessee Aquarium.

Tim Dempsey of Chattanooga Endeavors, a nonprofit that helps to reintroduce former offenders to work and society, said Bella Sera is an opportunity for Chattanoogans to become aware of the organization in a fun way. This year, they will be joined by Miracles for Moms, which raises money for families of mothers with cancer.

“It is at least one day out of the year where people can go and have a good time around our mission,” Dempsey said. “Preventing crime and helping mothers with cancer, these are not happy missions. They’re missions around a lot of pain and sorrow. So having fun around them once a year and celebrating the mission becomes an additional benefit of the event.”

The evening will include unlimited tapas from local restaurants. Specialty food and desserts will be served with selected wine pairings.

“The food is a real attraction,” said Dempsey. “People routinely rate the food as being one of the principal attractions for the event. We look around for the [restaurants] that are really popular in town. They’re the ones who have been brought to our attention.”

While he said there might be more efficient or lower-cost ways to raise money, an event like Bella Sera helps garner exposure to Chattanooga Endeavors and brings in those who might not otherwise be aware of its missions.

“People who are in the habit of going out and having a good time can do that, and a portion of what they spend also comes back and funds a social mission in the community.”

Local musicians, including the Ben Friberg Trio, Ogya and the New Binkley Brothers, will perform.

IF YOU GO

* What: Bella Sera.

* When: 6-10 p.m. Saturday.

* Where: Tennessee Aquarium, 1 Broad St.

* Admission: $70-$100.

* Phone: 266-1888.

* Website: www.bellaseraevent.com

PARTICIPATING FOOD VENDORS

* 212 Market

* Alleia

* Bluewater Grille

* Blue Orleans

* Chattz

* Earth Fare

* Greenlife Grocery

* Lupi’s Pizza Pies

* Niedlov’s Breadworks

* Niko’s Southside Grille

* Porter’s Steak House

* Table 2

* Whipped Cupcakes

about Holly Leber ...

Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...

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