Working under one of three massive tents that helped ward off the persistent rain, Chef Erik Martinez of Cibreo Italian Kitchen was among the 50 or so acclaimed chefs and vintners from around the country who prepared and poured gastronomic treats to the delight of 1,600 expected attendees at Five Star Sensation. Locally grown, globally-renowned Michael Symon served once again as Host Chef, bringing his signature enthusiasm and iconic laugh as he pulled barbecue for the long line at the Lola station.

“I am thrilled for my continued participation in this culinary extravaganza in my hometown,” noted Symon. “It raises funds for such an important cause in our community.” Since the event debuted in 1987, the Five Star Sensation has raised more than $20 million for patient care, research and supportive services at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center. As this year’s honorary chair Dr. Theodoros Teknos stated in the program, patrons of the Five Star Sensation help UH deliver on its promise to heal, to teach, and to discover. In return they get to experience such gastronomic feats as black truffle on mac-n-cheese.

This was not your standard-issue macaroni and cheese: Steaming curls of campanelle were poured directly onto a wheel of Parmesan Reggiano, then stirred under a heat lamp so the bell-shaped pasta could soak up the luxurious melting cheese. Just as you walk away with gold on a bamboo plate, you hear “Wait!” And, this being Five Star Sensation, Executive Chef Erik Martinez runs up with a black truffle and a rasp to finish off the dish. STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY PEGGY TURBETT

Peter Whitney with Jill Harrington

Debbie Wert and Kathy Coleman, co-chairs of the 2019 Five Star Sensation

Dr. Daniel Simon with Dr. Marcy Schwartz, Iron Chef Michael Symon, and Pastry Chef Sherry Yard of The Tuck Room in Los Angeles

Seth and Lisa Richardson, Thomas Zenty III, Dr. Theodoros Teknos and Dr. Daniel Simon

Shannon Burke with Lee and Jane Seidman

Cedar-planked salmon from Lindey’s Lake House, Cleveland, pairs well with a glass of Prosecco.

Patti and Ernie Novak