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1001 Exotic Spices and Flavors to Entice Food and Wine Aficionados to Gala and Benefit


TUSTIN, CA - What a party, and what a great reason to celebrate! Homegrown celebrity chef Zov Karamardian will commemorate 20 remarkable years at the forefront of Orange County’s culinary scene on Sunday, May 6 with “An Enchanted Evening of 1001 Mediterranean Spices & Flavors,” a gala to benefit Serving People in Need (SPIN) and the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine.

Food and wine aficionados are invited to celebrate with Zov and family and indulge in this remarkable, black tie-optional benefit, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Zov’s Bistro in Tustin. Guests will spend an enchanted evening meandering among lavish food stations featuring Zov’s trademark Mediterranean dishes and decadent desserts, sipping wine selections from a dozen superb vintners, sampling signature SKYY vodka martinis from a martini luge, and participating in the Tustin version of “dancing with the stars.”

“We invite all of the friends and supporters of Zov’s Bistro during our 20-year history to join us in celebrating our success and giving back to the community we love,” Karamardian says. “An Enchanted Evening of 1001 Mediterranean Spices & Flavors gives us the opportunity to say thank you to everyone who contributed to our amazing 20 years in Orange County. We will be able to provide many thousands of dollars of support to two very worthwhile organizations while we enjoy an unforgettable evening.”

Celebrity Chef Jamie Gwen, whose popular Food & Wine Show airs Saturday mornings on KABC-AM, will be the mistress of ceremonies for the evening. Cuban harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz will welcome guests, and later in the evening, the pulsing Mediterranean sounds of Dark Eyes Band may well prove irresistible when Zov and her family introduce their honored guests to the lively art of traditional Armenian dance.

A magnificent silent auction featuring such opportunities as a Tiffany’s necklace, two-night stays at both the Montage and Ritz Carlton, Ducks hockey box tickets, and a priceless “Zov Cooks at Your Home” dinner for eight will also raise funds for the two philanthropies. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the auctions and the entire $100 ticket price will benefit the charities.

SPIN is a non-profit organization that provides programs to assist low-income and homeless families and individuals with permanent housing and substance abuse recovery, moving them toward self-sufficiency. In 2006 SPIN assisted more than 4,600 individuals, with 85 percent of its clients becoming self-sufficient. More than 7,000 volunteer hours were donated to its life-saving programs.

The Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine promotes complementary healing practices through rigorous fundamental and clinical research; educating medical students, professionals and the public about these practices and creating a model of clinical care focused on healing the whole person.

For the first time in her 20-year history, Karamardian is stoking the fires in a new kitchen. Wanting to share with still more guests the exotic, yet healthy, time-honored recipes she learned from her Middle European mother -- with signature twists, Karamardian recently opened Zov’s in Newport Coast and is tempting local patrons with delectable aromas of spices and innovative dishes. A third restaurant is scheduled to open in north Irvine in the fall of this year.

An Orange County institution, Zov’s Bistro serves the finest Mediterranean and Eastern cuisine in a chic, yet oh-so-comfortable environment. Karamardian has shared her kitchen with culinary legends, including Julia Child, and “kick it up a notch” Emeril Lagasse. She has received numerous accolades from bellwether institutions, including Chef of the Year by the California Governor’s Office, Restaurateur of the Year by the California Restaurant Writers, and the James Beard Angel Award for her significant contributions to the culinary world. Karamardian is also a frequent guest on the Food Network. Her cookbook, titled “Zov: Recipes and Memories from the Heart,” was an instant success and is currently in its second printing.


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