And the Battle winner was…you. As a member, you directly benefit from the $50,000-plus raised for lifelong learning at our Battle of the Chefs. Chefs Mike Anastacio (Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish), Paul Desiano (Ridgefield Academy) and Germano Minin (The Village Tavern) each donated precious time and incredible talent so you can enjoy Founders Hall with no membership fee, minimal class fees, and many free events. Each chef gamely participated in pre-event publicity sessions. They created 200 specialty appetizers and signature desserts for Battle guests. In front of a cheering crowd, they opened baskets of surprise ingredients including Allen Brothers boneless ribeye steak, baby octopus, 72% dark chocolate bars and sunchoke. Then, in just 60 short minutes, they and their quick-thinking sous chefs whipped up delectable entrees and expertly plated them for judging. Mike Anastacio edged out his competition to take home the trophy, but these chefs are all winners at Founders Hall.

The chefs may have taken center stage, but many others collaborated to make this the best Battle yet. We are indebted to sponsors Fairfield County Bank and The Chefs’ Warehouse; to the many local businesses that donated money, services and goods; to our knowledgeable judges and notable emcee; and to our hard-working committee and staff. How can you thank them for all they’ve done for you? Eat in their restaurants, support their businesses and sing their praises. And, if you didn’t attend the Battle, don’t just read about it. Join next year’s Battle so you can enjoy lifelong learning all year long.

Seminar: The Mongolia Incident, Letters of a WWI Nurse, Friday, June 16, 1 p.m.