Monday, February 7, 2011

LEAP dinners feature quite a cast of speakers

NEW HAVEN — Controversial parent/author Amy Chua, Frank Sinatra biographer Tom Santopietro, SeeClickFix co-founder Ben Berkowitz and the Professors of Bluegrass are among speakers listed for the annual LEAP dinners Feb. 24.

The 7:30 p.m. dinners will be preceded by a cocktail reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Heath Commons of Hopkins School. Both events are fundraisers for LEAP (Leadership, Education & Athletics in Partnership), which provides enrichment programs for New Haven youths.

This marks the 16th year in which LEAP supporters of the New Haven area have opened their doors to hold dinner parties. A guest of honor appears at each dinner. A few of the dinners are held at restaurants or other public sites.

Yale Law School Professor Chua, whose strict parenting techniques are described in her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” will be the guest of honor at a house in Woodbridge.

Five additional dinners will be held at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26.

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The cost for the reception and dinner is $150 per ticket. Those attending the reception only will pay $50 per ticket; people under 30 and LEAP alumni will pay $25. Reservations must be made by Feb. 14. Call the LEAP office at 203-773-0770.

Organizers say dinners with the most popular speakers often sell out early.

Miya’s Sushi chef Bun Lai will hold a gathering at his restaurant. Other food experts at the dinners will include: Claire Criscuolo of Claire’s Corner Copia; PBS “Everyday Food” host John W. Barricelli; Melissa Pelligrino and Matthew Scialabbo; and Rob Leighton.

Other speakers: Mary Lou Aleskie, executive director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas; HigherOne entrepreneur Miles Lasater; New Haven Ballet Artistic Director Jared Redick; and Derek Briggs, director of Yale’s Peabody Museum.

Story is by Randall Beach

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