By Dawn Watson
The people who knew Katy Stewart remember her as a brave young girl who, despite battling cancer, managed to bring sunshine and positivity into the lives of those who met her.
Though she succumbed to hepatoblastoma at the age of 12 in 2010, her spirit lives on through the good works of Katy’s Courage, founded by her parents, Jim Stewart and Brigid Collins. The non-profit organization raises funds for pediatric cancer research, provides scholarship opportunities to local children, and a supportive environment for families facing pediatric cancer.
Always smiling, Katy was a beacon of hope for those around her. In addition to her strength and kindness, she was also a regular girl who enjoyed her favorite treats, including her paternal grandmother Elizabeth Stewart’s homemade macaroni and cheese and Espresso’s Farm Salad sandwiches. In her honor, both will be among the plentiful food served at the fourth annual Love Bites fundraiser on Saturday, January 21, at The Muses in Southampton, according to her father.
The culinary event, which benefits Katy’s Courage and The Scarlett Fund—a Bridgehampton-based not-for-profit created by Robert and Jennifer James to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research, named for their daughter, Scarlett James, a survivor of T cell lymphoma—brought in more than 400 people last year, despite a serious winter storm, and raised over $50,000. Hosted this year by Honorary Lead Chef Rocco DiSpirito, a healthy diet advocate and cookbook author, the fundraiser will again feature the food of many local chefs and restaurants, as well as those from surrounding areas.
Participants this year include: Conca D’oro, Dopo La Spiaggia, Golden Pear, Sag Harbor Baking Company, Page at 63 Main, Bareburger, Cait’s Bakes, Chef Peter Ambrose, Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake, Dreesen’s, Edgewater, Hampton Foodie, Hampton Jam Company, Ketcham’s Seafarm, Manna, Old Stove Pub, Red Catering, Saaz Indian Restaurant, Salt & Bone, Sausages Pizza & Pastabilities, The Service Station, Silver Spoon Specialties, Simply Sublime, Smokin’ Wolf BBQ and More, Southampton Social Club, Union Cantina, Hampton Coffee Company, Montauk Brewery, Martha Clara Vineyards, Mezcal Kiembock, Montauk Hard Label, Saratoga Water, Keith’s Nervous Breakdown, Ubons Bloody Mary Mix and At Your Service Wait Staff. Coordinated by Linda Shapiro, Peter Ambrose and Marla Schwenk, this year’s honorary chairpersons are Mark and Marianne Epley and the event chair is Nina Landi.
The honoree this year will be Sag Harbor Elementary School Principal Matthew Malone. The educator and community leader is most definitely deserving of the recognition, says Mr. Stewart.
“He’s done so much, and much of that behind the scenes,” he says. “It will be great to honor him for all that he does for others.”
Giving back to those in need, and in keeping his daughter’s legacy alive through the works of Katy’s Courage and Katy’s Kids, is a gift, adds Mr. Stewart. And having Katy’s Courage selected as the recipient of the Love Bites benefit again is an honor of which he’s especially grateful to the event organizers, participating restaurants and chefs, and the East End community as a whole.
Those involved in the fundraising event return that feeling, they say. Mimi Yardley and Margaret Brooks of Sag Harbor Baking Company, who will be making chocolate cups filled with dark chocolate mousse especially for the event, are thrilled to donate their time and efforts.
“We are happy to support the event and this year’s beneficiaries,” say the baking partners. “It’s rewarding to know that our work is helping to benefit such deserving causes.”
The Sag Harbor-based owners of Service Station are similarly excited to join in this year. They will be serving the restaurant’s “famous fish tacos, as well as maybe some other street tacos homemade tortillas from the Calle de Noche,” according to Michael Gluckman, who co-owns the East Hampton restaurant with Shane Dyckman.
Keith Davis from the Golden Pear and Keith’s Nervous Breakdown reports that his businesses’ philanthropic efforts to the deserving cause will include contributions of Lobster Mac & Cheese and Nervous Breakdown Margaritas.
And Alexa and Arthur Wolf, owners of Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More in East Hampton, will be serving BBQ Winter Brisket over Corn and Potato Hash, as well as their unwavering support.
“It is important to us to be involved in Love Bites because we want to help raise as much money as we can to help children with cancer as well as help children heal from the death of those around them who have passed away from cancer,” they say. “We hope that our involvement can help to raise money each year that this event continues.”
Love Bites will be held on Saturday, January 21, from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at The Muses Southampton. Proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Katy’s Courage and The Scarlett Fund. Ticket prices range from $125 to $750 and can be purchase at www.katyscourage.org.