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Akshaya Patra Annual Boston Gala

Press Release
02/09/2017

American Idol finalist Sonika Vaid will entertain at the Akshaya Patra Foundation’s 2017 Boston Benefit Gala on Friday, April 28th at the Cambridge Marriott Boston.  Chef Sanjeev Kapoor will be the event’s keynote speaker.  HGTV and Food Network interior designer Taniya Nayak will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.

Massachusetts-native Sonika Vaid finished in 5th place on the 15th Season of American Idol. She is of Indian descent and her parents immigrated to the U.S. when she was a child. She began singing at the age of three. She graduated from Weston High School in 2013. Prior to entering Idol, she was studying biology and a regular performer at a local park near her home for special events.  Vaid sang "Look at Me" by Carrie Underwood at her audition in Denver, Colorado and received high praises from the judges, earning a golden ticket to Hollywood. Since American Idol, Sonika Vaid has opened at festivals and concerts across Massachusetts, and sang the opening National Anthem at a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. 

Sanjeev Kapoor is inarguably one of the most recognized faces of Indian television. He has been in people’s living rooms for almost two decades introducing them to the delights of Indian and international cuisine. His show Khana Khazana was a trailblazing cooking show on Zee TV.  He has the proud distinction of being the only chef in the world to have his own channel – FoodFood. He has been conferred the ‘Best Chef of India’ award by the Government of India. Chef Kapoor represented India in the World Association of Chefs’ Societies (WACS) in South Korea and brought Indian Ayurvedic cooking to a world stage. He was the Indian ambassador for the United Nation’s Clean Cook Stoves campaign for the underprivileged of developing countries. He represented India as a Food Ambassador in Spain under the Spanish Government’s Indian Future Leaders Program (IFLP). He has also cooked for many dignitaries, including the Honorable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. Sanjeev Kapoor’s restaurants—Khazana, The Yellow Chilli, Signature, Hong Kong and Options—are considered the best in their categories in India and abroad. 

Taniya Nayak is one of the nation’s foremost interior designers. She became a household name as a design expert member on HGTV and Food Network. Taniya has served as host and designer for a variety of HGTV mainstays like Designed to Sell, Billion Dollar Block, House Hunters on Vacation, and throughout HGTV.com. Taniya can also be seen on Robert Irvine’s Food Network series, Restaurant: Impossible, where she utilizes her design prowess and professional experience to rescue and transform suffering restaurants. Taniya owns a successful, Boston-based interior design firm, Taniya Nayak Design LLC., where she adds a fresh, clean look to both commercial and residential spaces.

The event will be held at the Cambridge Marriott Boston in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and will begin with a welcome reception. Over 500 business, non-profit, government, and philanthropic leaders from around the region are expected to attend and support the organization’s dual mission of addressing childhood hunger and malnutrition and to promote education for underserved children in India.    

The event is sponsored by: Ravindra Mahadev at Ameriprise, Pushpa Karna, Dr. Meena Mehta, Ashoo and Rajeev Jain, Amit Gupta of Kabloom, Pramod Kalyanasun and Rekha Gopalan, Drs. Atul and Ajita Bhat, Kishore and Madhu Patel, Anu and Rama Chitrapu, Girija and Sanjeev Verma, Rama Neti, Lalit and Suzanne Sudan, Venkat Kolluri, Nidhi and Ashwani Singhal, Neeru Oberoi, Apurv and Anupama Gupta, Rakesh and Deval Kamdar, Jack Clancy at Enterprise Bank, Bela Chandhok and Vinay Kumar, Megha Joshi and Phil Scarff, and Santhana Krishnan at Asian Art Gallery.

Established in 2000, Akshaya Patra began by serving 1,500 in 5 schools in Bangalore. Today Akshaya Patra is the largest NGO-run school meal programs in the world and serves over 1.6 million children daily in over 11,501 schools through 27 kitchens in eleven states in India.  Akshaya Patra USA is the US branch of Akshaya Patra and raises funds and awareness for the school meal program in India.

Akshaya Patra has received international recognition for its life-changing mission.  In 2016, Akshaya Patra’s Founder Madhu Pandit Dasa received the Padma Shri Award, India’s fourth highest civilian award, for his work with Akshaya Patra.  Shridhar Venkat, CEO of Akshaya Patra India, was recognized as being among the 50 Most Impactful Social Innovators in the world. Akshaya Patra was recently awarded the Nikkei Asia Prize, an award established to recognize an organization’s outstanding achievements that contribute to the region’s sustainable development. For more information about Akshaya Patra, please visit www.foodforeducation.org.

This year’s event will feature an evening of networking, entertainment, and dinner.

For more information: Ankita@apusa.org  or 781-454-7247

To register: Piyali@apusa.org or 781-462-8454

To register or purchase tickets: www.foodforeducation.org/2017-boston-gala



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