Around 138, 575 people are homeless in the city of Chicago facing much larger problems than a broken laptop cord. We may have seen them near the train stations or at the various bus stops, not giving a second thought to their situation. We may make assumptions that they are on drugs or they did something terrible to get themselves in that predicament. Therefore, we believe it is not our duty or our job to give them a helping hand. When I attended Clout 5’s Haute Experience, I received a first-hand account from someone who has experienced the perils of homelessness. That individual was Marilyn. Marilyn did not become homeless because of a drug-riddled past or questionable decisions. Instead, she fell prey to homelessness because she was taking care of her ill mother while struggling to raise 4 children as a single parent. One thing I’ve come to understand very early in life is that we aren’t all dealt the same cards. We may see someone and think how could that happen or they just didn’t work hard enough. When in reality, that is simply not the case as I learned from the story of Marilyn. Because of the inequalities in our circumstances, it is our duty to help those who are less fortunate. I appreciate Marilyn sharing her story with me, and I’m glad she was able to share it with others as well.
Having the opportunity to hear the story of Marilyn, is exactly why I was more than thrilled to attend Clout 5’s Haute Experience. When attending their events, expect a truly remarkable evening to be had. For the first part of the series, Clout 5 put on a culinary showcase where the creations of Chef Frank Whittaker would be put on display. While it does sound like quite the fancy shindig, Haute Experience is more than meets the eye. They have a unique goal of raising awareness to homelessness in Chicago while putting on lavish experiences for their guests.
However, this is not just simply an awareness seeking organization. Haute Experience extends the involvement further while allowing their members to be active crusaders against homelessness. If you are looking for an organization where you can just write a check and be on your merry way, there are plenty of organizations for that but Clout 5’s Haute Experience is not the one. This is your opportunity to do more than write a check. You are given the opportunity to actively make a difference in someone’s life. For the first installment of the series, guests delivered and served meals to local Chicago homeless shelter, San Jose Obrero Mission. The guests were transported to and fro the shelter in luxury Acura SUV’s courtesy of McGrath Acura.
To ensure that everyone had the opportunity to experience the Haute Experience, the meals that were served were prepared by the same chef of the evening who would later prepare the meals of party goers. They didn’t receive scraps, leftovers, or unappealing food. Instead, they received a fine dining experience. The meal featured a central theme of Spanish style food. I’ve always been taught to give your best, so it felt incredibly rewarding to give someone a meal that you are more than proud to give. The experience didn’t stop with the cuisine, to really transport our guests to a lavish evening, white linen tablecloths and floral centerpieces decorated the table. As guests enjoyed their meal, they were able to listen to the soothing sounds of a live guitarist. While it may have been for one night, I’m sure they will all remember their Haute Experience.
After the meals were served, it was then time to have a Haute Experience of our own at Soho House. The theme of the evening was Speakeasy, so various guests came out in their 1920’s best complete with flapper dresses and feather headpieces. Rose petals courtesy of Flowers for Dreams and white candles were gently scattered throughout the space. As guests entered into the experience, each guest had a red string tied around their wrist. This string symbolized how as citizens of the world we are all connected.
Once we were initiated into the space, it was then time to embark on a culinary experience. This culinary experience was going to allow the guests to personally mix and mingle with the chef of the evening Frank Whittaker. Whittaker throughout the evening prepared a variety of dishes that appealed to a wide range of palates. As guests mingled with fellow diners in the posh Penthouse level of Soho House, a plethora of delectable bites was served tapas style. From the sweet to the savory, the meal alone proved to be quite the Haute Experience.
As guests sipped on various libations and sampled the dishes being passed around, Bordel brought the live entertainment. Partygoers marveled at the gorgeous art of Flamenco dancing. The elaborate costumes, as well as the intricate footwork of the tap dance, was put on display for all to see. This portion of the evening allowed guests to go on a quick Spanish getaway.
While there was plenty of fun to be had at Haute Experience, it makes it all the more worthwhile that it supports a great cause. Remember when I briefly told you about the story of Marilyn? Well, Marilyn had dreams and aspirations of becoming a chef and not only did she go on to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu, she also had the opportunity to whip up her own magic in the kitchen alongside Chef Frank Whittaker.
Moments like the moment I shared with Marilyn is exactly why I am honored to have been in attendance at Haute Experience. Since this was the first round of events expect many more. In the future, Haute Experience will become a membership program where your donation will feed Chicago’s homeless while giving you exclusive deals throughout the city. You will also have the opportunity to have many more Haute Experiences like the one I had. Just so you know the type of impact Haute Experience has, that evening over 100 meals were served. 🙂