Bourbon & Bowties Benefiting Norton Children’s Hospital

As told by Lynnie Meyer, Senior Vice President & Chief Development Officer of Norton Healthcare

Tom Austin, Powell Starks and Danny Tafel at the 2017 Bourbon & Bowties Benefit. Photo by Bill Wine.

How It Started

The inaugural Bourbon & Bowties event was held June 23, 2010, in memory of Charles W. Gant, a loving and energetic eight-year-old boy who passed away from viral encephalitis on June 3, 2009. Family and friends established the event to give back to Norton Children’s Hospital for the wonderful care Charles received during his illness, as well as to ensure other children have access to top-notch medical care. The group teamed up with Chef Dean Corbett to host it at the former Corbett’s: An American Place. With eight chefs, music and a silent auction, the event was enjoyed by more than 600 people and raised more than $105,000.

Eight years later, the event has grown to include 43 chefs and has moved to the Bridgeman residence, Fleur de Lis Farm in Prospect. Five of the original chefs are still participating: Kathy Cary, Lilly’s Bistro; Dean Corbett, Equus & Jack’s Lounge; James Gerhardt, Pendennis Club; Peng S. Looi, August Moon Chinese Bistro; and Daniel Stage, Louisville Country Club. The event sells out within a matter of minutes as 1,200 tickets are made available. The event now also offers a raffle to win $100 in gift cards to 26 Bourbon & Bowties restaurants – a $2,600 value.

This Year’s Honoree

Six-year-old Mya White was born in China and found abandoned in a park as an infant. When doctors discovered a tumor in her pelvis, she was taken to an orphanage. As her tumor grew rapidly, the orphanage sought help from a special care unit. Upon seeing Mya’s story on the website of an international organization that sponsored the special care unit, Shelly and Hal White of Louisville, along with their four children, decided to adopt her, undeterred by her diagnosis of stage four cancer. Norton Children’s Hospital and local pediatric physicians agreed to assume Mya’s medical care, making it possible for her to get a medical visa to come to the United States.

In May 2013, Mya arrived in Louisville and underwent 10 months of intense treatment, including chemotherapy, radiation and two 10-hour surgeries that ultimately removed all the cancer. The Addison Jo Blair Cancer Care Center at Norton Children’s Hospital became a “home away from home” for Mya’s family. Now, four years since the end of her treatment, Mya remains cancer free and is enjoying the life of a typical kindergartner. When the Bourbon & Bowties committee learned of Mya’s story and the team at Norton Children’s Hospital that worked to save her, she was chosen as this year’s Bourbon & Bowties honoree.

This Year’s Hosts

Ryan Bridgeman, president and CEO of Manna Inc., is a member of the Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. His company has sponsored Chili’s Clips for Kids, an event that benefits Norton Children’s Cancer Institute since 2013. When it became known that the foundation was looking for a new venue for Bourbon & Bowties, he volunteered Fleur de Lis Farm. We are grateful to the Bridgeman family for their generosity in opening their beautiful home and grounds to create a spectacular new backdrop for this year’s event.

What to Expect

This year’s event is presented by Northwestern Mutual, which greatly enhances its success. The highlight of the event is definitely the food. A record 43 chefs will create specialty hors d’oeuvres and desserts for guests while Brown-Forman, Four Roses, Heaven Hill and Maker’s Mark will create specialty bourbon drinks. Jeptha Creed and Korbel will also be offering tastings. Each year, Bourbon & Bowties creates a custom-designed bow tie, tie and bangle that is created with the honoree’s passion in mind and sold at the event. This year’s bow tie and tie have a dog theme in keeping with Mya’s love of animals. The items are sponsored by River Road Asset Management.

By the Numbers

Since inception, this event has raised more than $1.5 million to support all areas of Norton Children’s Hospital including the Norton Children’s Heart Institute, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Child Life and Expressive Therapy and the Norton Children’s Cancer Institute. We hope to raise more than $200,000 this year to continue to support the great work of Norton Children’s Hospital. VT

Ninth Annual Bourbon & Bowties

6:30 to 10:30 p.m. June 7

Fleur de Lis Farm

Mya White.

8316 Wolf Pen Branch Road in Prospect


2018 Participating Chefs

• Arkan Bajalani, J. Graham’s Café

• Bobby Benjamin, Butchertown Grocery

• Matthew Bowling, Mercato Italiano

• Keith Bush Jr., Boss Hog’s BBQ

• Seth Butkus, Napa River Grill

• Adrian Caldwell, Citizen 7

• Kathy Cary, Lilly’s Bistro*

• Dean Corbett, Equus & Jack’s Lounge*

• Michael Crouch, Bistro 1860

• Madeleine Dee, Fond

• James Gerhardt, Pendennis Club*

• Patrick Gosden, Brasserie Provence

• Steve Gustafson, Omni Louisville Hotel

• Annie Harlow, Hi-Five Doughnuts

• Geoffrey K. Heyde, Fork & Barrel

• Joseph Horneman, The Exchange Pub & Kitchen

• Allen M. Hubbard Sr., Martini Italian Bistro

• Jason Jones, Ashbourne Farms

• Anthony Lamas, Seviche: A Latin Restaurant

• Richard Lewis, Morrison Healthcare

• Peng S. Looi, August Moon Chinese Bistro*

• Andrew McCabe, Bar Vetti

• Jereme McFarland, Bourbons Bistro

• Newman Miller, Star Hill Provisions

• Josh Moore, Volare Italian Ristorante

• Eric Morris, Gospel Bird

• Ming Hsuan Pu, The 502 Bar and Bistro

• Kelly Ramsey, Art Eatables

• Sarah Rockwell, LouVino

• Tavis Rockwell, LouVino

• Roger Romines, Seviche: A Latin Restaurant

• Patrick Roney, Ashbourne Farms

• Paul Sant, Bob’s Steak & Chop House

• Daniel Stage, Louisville Country Club*

• Rob Temple, Mesh

• Casper Van Drongelen, 8UP Elevated Drinkery & Kitchen

• John Varanese, River House

• Shawn Ward, Ward 426

• Graham Weber, Porch Kitchen & Bar

• Andrew Welenken, La Chasse

• Henry Wesley, The Village Anchor

• Zack Wolf, Artesano

• Leslie Wilson, Hi-Five Doughnuts

*Some chefs will be inside exclusively for the Chefs’ Experience.

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