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Brigid Collins and Jim Stewart, founders of Katy’s Courage. (Photo courtesy of Love Bites)

Don’t fret! Love Bites, the annual fundraiser aimed at eradicating cancer, is back and better than ever — just a little later than usual this year. 

Created over two decades ago by chef Peter Ambrose and Linda Shapiro, this year’s event will be held this Saturday, March 23 from 7 to 9 p.m. at The Clubhouse (14 Daniel Hole Road, East Hampton), with well over a dozen chefs and restaurants cooking up a bounty of crave-able dishes for the cause.

Over the years, not-for-profits like the Ellen Hermanson Foundation and Heart of the Hamptons have been the recipients of event founders Peter Ambrose and Linda Shapiro’s Love Bites love, but for the past eight or so, says Ambrose, Katy’s Courage has been the focus, as much for the friendship he holds with Katy’s parents, former Sag Harbor residents Jim Stewart and Brigid Collins, as for the sincere desire to eradicate children’s cancer. 

DJ Mike Variale of East End Entertainment will provide the music for this weekend’s Love Bites fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of Love Bites)

Founded in 2012 by Stewart and Collins, Katy’s Courage honors the memory of Katy Stewart, who succumbed to a rare form of liver cancer at the tender age of 12. Today, Katy’s Courage raises funds through multiple annual events to benefit pediatric cancer research, as well as helping kids and their families move through the grieving process through art, dance and music via Katy’s Kids at the Children’s Museum of the East End, as well as provide four-year college scholarships for Pierson high school seniors displaying the same strength and innate kindness that was the hallmark of Katy’s short but bright life.  

“I enjoy and look forward to this every year as I get to keep moving forward with an event that is so important to [me and] founder Linda Shapiro, and organize it with one of my best friends, Michael Variale,” says Ambrose. “We both are in the event business for a living and to plan and organize this event that is so important and so many other really puts a smile on our faces.” 

Expected to draw over 300 guests, the 2024 Love Bites event will honor three local women who have battled breast cancer: Marianne Ward, Cheryl Lynn McMahon and Juliette Logie. 

“All three of these women have been very public with their battle and I feel have been a great inspiration for so many, including my mother who just four years ago had her second battle with breast cancer while also dealing with the passing of my father and Covid,” Ambrose says. “These women along with others were there for my mother and I felt it was important to honor each of them, who all are inspirations, have been active in fundraising themselves and deserve a night like this.” 

The ticket price for the line-up of unlimited tastings of fab food dropped this year to a more pocket-friendly $75, with dishes from Ambrose and the Clubhouse, of course, as well as the Art of Eating, Bell and Anchor, Union Burger Bar, Grace and Grit Events, the Golden Pear, Dreeson’s Catering and Donuts, Bonefire Coffee House, East Hampton Kitchen, Robyn’s Kitchen, Hampton Cofee, Sen Sag Harbor, Silver Spoon Specialists, the Sea Bean, and Veg on Board, with speciality drinks from ChampionZ Gin and Royal Mash. 

Dreesen’s Donuts are a popular table at Love Bites. (Photo courtesy of Love Bites)

There’s more than just eating at Love Bites—Ambrose’s musically minded co-organizer Variale of East End Entertainment will be spinning dance-worthy tunes, the silent auction promises all sorts of goodies and the annual golf raffle is easily worth the price of admission to play and putt on some of the greatest greens around, including the Maidstone, the Bridge, Westhampton, Pine Hollow, East Hampton Golf Club, Winged Foot, Gardiners Bay and many more. 

“The event has flourished for close to 20 years now with only a couple years missed,” says Ambrose. “Since Katy’s Courage became our not-for-profit, we’ve raised money for the event which has really taken on a grassroots, local feel.” 

For more information and tickets, click here.