The recent Opportunity Enterprises Gala presented a great, unique opportunity for Lakeside Wealth Management CEO, Mark Chamberlain, to give back to an organization that means so much to the Northwest Indiana community. In donating to the silent auction, an exclusive dinner hosted at Lakeside’s incredible cafe, Chamberlain got the chance to show off his cooking skills by preparing a delicious meal for the highest bidder.
“Mark Chamberlain Presents - An Evening at Lakeside” took place on September 25th and the event proved to be a resounding success for Chamberlain, and an enjoyable evening for his guests.
“It went so well and we had so much fun with it that I just donated another one to the Duneland YMCA for their Dancing Like the Stars event in November,” said Chamberlain.
“I’ve been cooking for most of my life, probably around 45 years, I’d say. My dad loved to cook and so he made it okay for me, a boy at an early age, and guys to be in the kitchen.”
Having the amazing kitchen and an expansive dining area that Lakeside Wealth Management boasts provided the perfect setting for Chamberlain to host this unique and exclusive evening event.
“I’m a bit of an empty-nester now and I’ve downsized so, for me to entertain eight would’ve been a bigger deal so [the location] definitely made a difference,” described Chamberlain.
Ahead of the event, Chamberlain worked to craft the ‘Evening at Lakeside’ menu and the dishes he would be featuring to get things just right for his guests. Much practice went into not only Chamberlain’s menu, but also the timing to ensure that his dishes were being served hot and fresh.
“I practiced the menu and I’ve been cooking food for 40-plus years, but nobody’s ever paid me before!” said Chamberlain. “It was a different kind of pressure and there’s expectations, but the guests weren’t like that at all. They were super nice but I felt obligated to put a great product out there.”
“I practiced for probably a month on various things and there were eight people so we worked around what they could or could not eat. I prepared as much as possible ahead of time and just like on the cooking shows where they have everything prepped and ready to go, that was how we had things setup so that I could whip things up just like we were doing a cooking show.”
Chamberlain’s menu included four courses that featured Green Gazpacho, a Microgreen Salad, a main course of Sweet Asian Marinated Chicken, and a Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich for dessert. The dinner also featured award-winning wines by Dave Matthews’ Dreaming Tree Vineyard. Always entertaining, Chamberlain also provided some magic for the enjoyment of his guests.
The setting of Lakeside, the culture of the company, as well as his love for cooking played a big part in prompting Chamberlain to initiate the idea, and donate the dinner.
“The idea came from the great amount of enjoyment that I get from cooking,” he said. “Often, I, and a lot of our employees do this too; bring something in or cook something at the office that we share with everyone. It kind of came as an extension of that and I thought, ‘Let’s see if I can donate something like that to help raise money.’”
“It came from the culture that Lakeside has inside where our employees become family, and cooking is a big part of that,” concluded Chamberlain. “It was just a great night with very gracious company!”