Detroit's celebrated chefs unite for breast cancer research fundraiser

Chuck Bennett
Special to The Detroit News
Anthony Lombardo, left, from SheWolf, Uncork founder Flora Migyanka, and Luciano DelSignore from Bacco and Pernoi.

The first Uncork for a Cure was launched in 2016 at Bacco Ristorante as a fundraiser for breast cancer research. It was phenomenal. Since then, the annual event has grown tenfold, incorporating the city's award-winning chefs, sommeliers, and artists all uniting for one cause: breast cancer research and awareness.  

Friday night, the 6th annual Uncork for a Cure took place at Cauley Ferrari in West Bloomfield Township, where guests enjoyed a collection of delectable Italian dishes prepared by Detroit's most celebrated chefs, including Luciano DelSignore from Bacco and Pernoi, James Rigato from Mabel Grey, Anthony Lombardo from She Wolf, John Vermiglio and Joe Giacomino from Grey Ghost, and Thomas Lents and Rebecca LaMalfa from the Apparatus Room. It did not disappoint. The finest Uncork wines were served and paired by the first female Master Sommelier in the U.S., Detroit’s own Madeline Triffon of Plum Market. 

Maddalena Pistillo and Cauley Ferrari owner Jeff Cauley.

The event started with a VIP reception prior to general admission for the curated Italian dinner. The more than 350 guests were given access to the entire slickly designed Cauley Ferrari facility, including the garage and a very cool cigar lounge set up outside at the entrance complete with carpet, sofas, and fiery heaters. 

Flora Migyanka, the founder and president of The Dynami Foundation and Uncork for a Cure, started the program with remarks along with Renee Janovsky, general manager at Neiman Marcus, who is a breast cancer survivor, Cassandra Callaghan, a long-time friend and supporter of Migyanka, and  Jacqueline Jeruss, Ph.D., M.D., University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center. 

Migyanka got everyone’s attention with an impactful statement about breast cancer. “Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer. I timed my speech tonight. It is 8 minutes long. That means that 4 women were diagnosed during my speech.” 

Maurice Richardson, Rayford Jackson, and Josh Landon at Uncork for a Cure

As she shared her breast cancer story, her passion was apparent to the entire crowd. Aside from hosting Uncork for a Cure, Migyanka volunteers her time teaching yoga to cancer survivors for the Cancer Support Community. She is on the Breast Cancer Patient Advisory Board at the University of Michigan, and the National Steering Committee for the Lobular Breast Cancer Alliance. She resides in Plymouth with her husband and two children. Besides advocating for breast cancer, Flora is an account executive at a global biotech company. 

Keeping with this year's Italian theme, the dress code was Après Ski cocktail chic. There were lots of fur vests, tight jeans, and funky boots. The evening also included a raffle for the classic 1997 Ferrari F355 Spider. Raffle tickets were $250 each. 

Luanne Thomas Ewald, COO of Mott Children's Hospital, and Renee Janovsky, general manager of Neiman Marcus, Troy.

Through sponsors, Triffon provided rare wines from Italy for tasting and there was a live auction. A bottle of Screaming Eagle Cabernet 2006 auctioned for $12K. It was generously donated by Sam and Nada Simon. 

Tickets to the event started at $300. Prior to this event, Uncork for a Cure has raised over 1 million dollars, supporting physicians and scientists at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center to initiate a survivorship program, a breast surgical oncology training program, multiple research efforts, and to research Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer (ILC), a disease subtype that is under-researched and in critical need of new treatment options. Friday’s event raised nearly $590,000. 

Chuck Bennett is a freelance writer and the Style Ambassador for Fox 2 News.