“Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers” Annual Benefit

On Saturday October 13th WGBH hosted the “Helpings Hands: Monkey Helpers” Food Festivale, sponsored by a dozen Boston restaurants including MistralSorellinaMooo, Teatro, and L’Andana. This non-profit organization raises and trains capuchin monkeys to provide daily in-home assistance to the mobility impaired. While it costs nearly $40,000 to train and prepare each monkey, they are placed with their recipients free of charge thanks to generous donors and annual fund-raising events. Throughout the process of establishing a healthy relationship between monkey and human, Helpings Hands provides participants with mentoring and supervision so they can monitor the monkey’s behavior, nutrition, and interaction with their human.

Saturday’s event began with a short film documenting 3 recipients and their stories. Home videos showed their daily lives and need for a Helping Hands monkey helper, while personal interviews with the filmmakers allowed viewers to see how the relationship and bond with their monkeys not only provides each human with assistance but also hope and companionship. It was truly uplifting and a great display of how the donations were changing and improving lives.

After the film guests were able to enjoy the evening with live music, a silent auction, raffle prizes, a Grey Goose bar, and treats & small bites from favorite Boston restaurants. Columbus Hospitality Group was represented in full force with each restaurant offering 5-star quality tastings.


L’Andana was among the first tables I stopped at and featured one of my favorite ingredients, fresh figs! Placed on a crostini with a soft cheese, this was a very popular table and my favorite of the evening.

Moving down the line, Mooo’s table featured an army Beef Sirloin Sliders with Mooo Sauce & caramelized onions on a homemade roll. A great representation of Mooo’s quality of beef served over on 15 Beacon Street.

My next visit was to Sorellina which had perfect bite sized Parfait of Hudson Valley foie gras on a toasted brioche and topped with a Concord grape. A small bite packed with major flavor!

Mistral by far offered the most rich and impressive plate: Duck Confit with Wild Mushroom Cous Cous “Risotto”, Parmesan & White Truffle Oil. Serving an almost full appetizer portion, I went back for seconds even though I was stuffed to the brim!

Teatro provided a sweeter option with Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta and fresh berries.

Other vendors included Rialto, Trade, Basho, Eastern Standard, Masa, The Catered Affair, Zocalo, Market, Green Mountain, Konditor Meister, Harpoon and Grey Goose. Uber also offered complimentary transportation to and from the event that evening, providing a convenient and safe way for guests to get home.

For more information about Helping Hands or ways to donate to the organization please visit their website: http://www.monkeyhelpers.org/

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