By Evan Dawson, Finger Lakes Editor

DebraInBlackSeats still remain for what Red Newt Bistro is billing as "the wine and food event of the season." This Friday, December 2, Red Newt Bistro host a special dinner that will raise funds for the new Debra Whiting Foundation.

The cost to attend is a $100 donation to the foundation.

"Debra was a woman of passion," says Dave Whiting, owner of Red Newt Cellars and Bistro. "We were passionately in love, and she worked, breathed, and lived with a passion. This event is an expression in so many ways of what Debra lived and breathed while she was alive, and for me is a reminder of her legacy that each one of us has the privilege to share."

For the menu, Red Newt Bistro chef Brud Holland is teaming with Samantha Buyskes of Simply Red Events and Culinary Center.

The theme corresponds to one of Deb Whiting's favorites: Five Times Swine. (Each course will have a pork theme, but vegetarian options are available.) 

The money generated by this dinner will help launch the foundation, which has lofty goals. "I can't bear to think of looking at the Finger Lakes as the region that it is becoming without Debra continuing to be a part of it," Dave Whiting explains. "We would have rather had her here in person, but it's essential that the drive and spirit that her life embodied carry on in her absence."

The Debra Whiting Foundation will launch with several initiatives:


Scholarship venues will be offered at local high schools to encourage and fund students who decide to pursue further education in culinary and/or local agriculture programs.


An infrastructure will be built to enable and facilitate rich internship opportunities for students enrolled in college or university level culinary programs. The focus of these opportunities will be to bridge the disconnect that often occurs between what is prepared for the plate and where it came from. Connecting the farm to the table builds the appreciation of local cuisine, farms and families.


Offered to culinary professionals not currently enrolled in other educational programs. This multidisciplinary apprenticeship will focus on the integration of farm, table, farmer, chef and community. Engaging the apprentice in multiple aspects and situations of farm production, food processing and restaurant preparation will build an appreciation of the “what, how and why” of the locavore approach to cuisine and agriculture.

The dinner event begins at 6:30 on Friday, December 2. In lieu of attending this event, the foundation is graciously accepting donations.

Purchase tickets online