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An Evening of Culinary Excellence

Signature Chefs Gala in support of

The Children’s Dyslexia Centers

Lehigh Valley ⇔ Philadelphia

DATE: May 9, 2019  |  Time: 6:00 PM
LOCATION: Valley Forge Casino Resort
ADDRESS: 1160 First Avenue, King of Prussia, PA 19406.

Thank you to everyone who donated to this marvelous charity event.  Click here to see a few pictures from it.

You can help!

Millions of school children with dyslexia endure frustration and demoralization on a daily basis as they struggle to acquire skills that many of us take for granted. While dyslexia is not curable, it can be overcome successfully. Dyslexia Centers tackle the challenge of dyslexia head-on, both by providing free tutoring for children with dyslexia and by training a growing cadre of highly skilled and dedicated tutors.

2018 Honorees


Daphne Uliana

Daphne Uliana’s passion for Dyslexia education derives from her life experiences, being diagnosed as a dyslexic in 1982, her life-long struggles with reading and being the mother of three dyslexic children. Despite her learning difference, Uliana built a highly successful, 25-year career in state government and state politics. She has been an aide to the Pennsylvania House Majority Leader, the Pennsylvania Speaker of the House and has managed or been an aide for numerous campaigns for state Senate, state House and statewide office.

In 2014, she used her knowledge of state government and her passion for dyslexia issues to work with Senator Pat Browne, Representative Ed Neilsen and other advocates to help pass Act 69, which established the first Pennsylvania program to screen children entering kindergarten in certain Pennsylvania school districts for reading issues, so that those identified as having reading problems can get the support and help needed to address their reading problems. This pilot program is presently being implemented in eight Pennsylvania districts. It has shown tremendous promise to help children who are struggling to read.  She currently serves on a board advising the Pennsylvania Department of Education on the pilot program.

In 2016, Uliana, along with other advocates, successfully lobbied the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles to have an audio version of the Pennsylvania Drivers Manual available online. Pennsylvania joined many states that provide online, audio versions of important government information.

In late 2107, Uliana co-founded the Literacy Coalition, a nonprofit that guides schools wishing to establish an early literacy screening program and the Dyslexia and Literacy Coalition a non-profit that provides resources to parents of dyslexic children and advocates for laws at the state and local level that help dyslexic children.

Daphne Uliana is presently a member of the Board of Trustees of The Gow School in South Wales, NY. The Gow School is a college-prep boarding and day school for students, grades 6-12, with dyslexia and similar language-based learning disabilities. Gow’s excellent reputation attracts young adults with dyslexia from across the country and around the world.  She is also a member of the Steering Committee of the United Ways, Lehigh Valley Reads Committee.

Uliana is a past Board member of the Hillside School, an independent school in the Lehigh Valley for students in kindergarten through 8th grade with language-based learning disabilities and a past member of the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association.

Uliana is married to former Pennsylvania State Senator Joe Uliana. They have three children, Nicholas 22, Samuel 20 and Lauren 14.   They live in Bethlehem, PA and are active members of Notre Dame of Bethlehem Church where they were the Honorary Co-Chairs of the parish’s highly successful building and campus expansion project.

 
Robert W. Bennett, Executive Chef

Robert Bennett joined Classic Cake in December 2005 as Executive Chef.  In this role, Robert is the creative driving force behind the company’s product offerings and introduces unique, customized breads and desserts to the commercial market.  Robert’s oversight also involves the daily operations of the bakery and is responsible for ensuring the company’s high quality product and service standards.

For over 30 years, Robert Bennett has shared his passion for cooking through his work as a creative chef, teacher and owner.  Robert started his career as Executive Pastry Instructor at the New England Culinary Institute (NECI), his alma mater. He quickly catapulted into the worldwide media in January 1985 for being appointed the Honored Pastry Chef for President Reagan’s second Inauguration. He prepared a cake for 44,000 people with a small team of students from N.E.C.I. After which, he took on the position of Executive Pastry Chef/Consultant at the Jumby Bay Resort, Antigua, West Indies. In 1987, Robert was hired as one of four Pastry Chefs at Le Bec-Fin in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he quickly worked his way up to Le Bec-Fin’s Head Pastry Chef. In 2001, Robert stepped out on his own and opened Miel Patisserie, a high end, boutique style pastry shop in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Over the years, Robert Bennett competed in numerous competitions worldwide and in 1989, he represented the United States in the premier World Cup Pastry Championship in Lyon, France. Since retiring from competition, Robert has served as a judge for the United States Pastry Competition in New York.  An active member of the culinary community, Robert Bennett was one of the original members appointed to the Board of Directors of the North American Pastry Chef’s Association. He is also co-founder of the Philadelphia Pastry Society and was honored by NECI with their “Distinguished Graduate Award.” Chef Bennett is also one of the founding chefs of Chef Aid, which has raised millions of dollars in its 13 years existence. In 2003 He was named U.S. Ambassador for the Barry-Callebut Chocolate Company and was the U.S. Judge at the 2005 World Chocolate Master Championships in Paris, France.

Most recently Chef Bennett has appeared on QVC here in the U.S. 5 times selling Classic Cake’s pastries and traveled to Seoul, S.Korea for several appearances on the CJO Shopping Network selling Classic’s own Philadelphia cheesecakes.

Classic Cake will be opening a café/bakery in Center City by Summer of 2018.

Locally, Robert donates his time and dessert specialties to more than 30 charities each year.

Originally from Lynchburg, Virginia, Robert now resides in South Jersey.

Previous Honorees

Meet New York Times Bestselling Author Lisa Scottoline (www.scottoline.com) & Special Education Attorney Franca M. Palumbo (thalheimer.com/franca-m-palumbo)

Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is The New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 28 novels, including her latest work, DAMAGED. She also writes a weekly column with her daughter Francesca Serritella for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chick Wit” which is a witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective. These stories, along with many other never-before-published stories, have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of humorous memoirs including their most recent, I’ve Got Sand in All the Wrong Places, and earlier books, Does This Beach Make Me Look Fat?; Have a Nice Guilt Trip; Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim; Best Friends, Occasional Enemies; My Nest Isn’t Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space; and Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, which has been optioned for TV. Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as President of Mystery Writers of America and has taught a course she developed, “Justice and Fiction” at The University of Pennsylvania Law School, her alma mater. Lisa is a regular and much sought after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Read Lisa’s official biography.

Franca M. Palumbo

Franca has been practicing Special Education Law since 2002 and is a principal of Thalheimer & Palumbo, P.C.. She has represented thousands of special needs children in all of southeastern Pennsylvania. She is frequently asked to speak to parents groups and organizations serving disabled children. Prior to joining the firm, Franca was a litigation associate at the Dechert law firm in Philadelphia. Ms. Palumbo received both her J.D. and a B.A. degree in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania. Franca is a Board Member of the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (PBIDA), the Pathway School and Team Up Philly. She is the parent of two children.

Phillies Legend Larry Christenson

Larry ‘L.C.’ Christenson is an professional baseball pitcher who played his entire career for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1973–1983.

During his high school years, Larry was noted more for his basketball than baseball skill. After graduating from Marysville High School in 1972, Larry began his career with the Philadelphia Phillies as their number one draft pick in June of that year. He was the third pick in the first round of all college and high school players. Larry’s first minor and major league hits were home runs and he is tied with Rick Wise for most home runs (11) by a pitcher in Phillies history.

Larry Christenson is a pillar in our community and we could not be more proud of his ongoing support

Event Details

Philadelphia and Allentown’s premier restaurants and chefs will come together for an evening of fabulous food and fun for the annual Signature Chefs Gala. It is a delicious opportunity to meet the chefs, savor their best dishes, bid on unique auction packages and enjoy a wonderful meal in the company of others who are determined to help children with dyslexia learn to read and reach their full potential.

5:30 PM – Registration & Cocktail Reception
6:00 PM – Tasting and Silent Auction
7:15 PM – Program and Live Auction

Please join us at our Chefs Gala or consider donating so we can continue our mission and help area children reach their full potential.

For more information contact John Wasserman, john.wasserman@gmail.com