'Jay's Dinner' raises $5,400 for Just Food

Jay's Dinner, a six-course meal held last month in honor of the late Lawrence chef Juan Carlos "Jay" Tovar-Ballagh, raised $5,400 for Just Food.

Inspired by the notebooks of Tovar-Ballagh, who served as chef de cuisine at Hank Charcuterie until his death at age 27 last November, the dinner brought together a group of the late chef's friends and colleagues to re-create a handful of Tovar-Ballagh's recipe ideas.

Elizabeth Keever, interim executive director of Just Food, said Jay's Dinner marked a slight decline in revenue from the food bank's last fundraiser. She noted that tickets for food-industry professionals were marked down, however, in an effort to make the event more accessible to those who worked alongside Tovar-Ballagh.

The sold-out event was Feb. 4 at Sarah's Upstairs, 927 1/2 Massachusetts St.

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