The 2014 God of Fire Charity Dinner for the Better World
       
2014 God of Fire Dinner: A Great L.A. Tradition Returns to Celebrate an Outstanding American and Three 10th Anniversaries

by Brent Butterworth (photos by J.J. Williams)

Lovers of great cigars, wine, spirits, food and camaraderie were thrilled to hear that the God of Fire Charity Dinner in Los Angeles would be returning after a five-year hiatus. What they might not have expected is that this year’s event proved to be the most exciting and spectacular yet. On September 20th, a sold-out crowd of 100 passionate cigar enthusiasts from around the world gathered around the fifth-floor pool deck at the Peninsula Beverly Hills, enjoying some of the world’s finest cigars, wine, spirits and cuisine while surrounded by the brilliant lights of Century City’s dramatic skyscrapers.

The dinner began just as the sun was setting over the Pacific, starting with hors d’oeuvres, wines from Cambria Estate Winery, and single-malt scotches from Bruichladdich. As the sun went down and a cool evening breeze began, the guests moved into the pool area, where they were seated at two long tables to enjoy exquisite locally sourced dishes created by Peninsula executive chef David Codney.
 
 
 
Celebrities who attended the dinner included (from left) producer Frank Mancuso Jr. (Friday the 13th series, Ronin, the Lost City); Latin jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval; singer/bassist Glenn Hughes (Deep Purple); Joe Mantegna; actor Clifton Collins (Star Trek, Pacific Rim, Transcendence, Crank: High Voltage); director/producer Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat); actor Richard Gilliland (Designing Women, Desperate Housewives, Dexter); former chairman/CEO of Paramount Pictures and MGM Frank Mancuso Sr.; actor Vincent Guastaferro (NYPD Blue); actor/comedian Jim Belushi who shared the role of M.C. with Joe Mantegna; actor Dennis Franz (NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues); and Sylvester Stallone (not pictured)
 
 
Keith K. Park, Founder and CEO of Prometheus and God of Fire, quoted Nelson Mandela to inspire the attendees: “We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference.” Park ended his welcome speech by saying, "Tonight, I can feel tremendous positive energy and have no doubt that we can truly make this happen." The dinner and the auction that followed raised more than $100,000 for two worthy charities: New Directions for Veterans, a program that helps homeless military veterans in the greater Los Angeles area, and Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which provides education and health care for the children from impoverished families in the Dominican Republic. Since its inaugural dinner in 2005, the God of Fire Charity Dinner has raised more than $1,000,000 for deserving charities.
 
  
The highlight and focus of this year’s dinner was the awarding of the 2014 God of Fire Man of the Year to actor, producer, writer and director Joe Mantegna, in appreciation on of his work on behalf of military veterans. The dinner also celebrated three 10th anniversaries. It has been 10 years since the launch of the God of Fire cigar brand; 10 years since the making of The Lost City, a film by 2009 God of Fire Man of the Year Andy Garcia and the inspiration behind the Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City cigars; and 10 years since the Cigar Family Complex was constructed.

THE 2014 GOD OF FIRE MAN OF THE YEAR: JOE MANTEGNA

Frank Mancuso, Sr. presented the God of Fire Man of the Year award to Mantegna, who has been a strong supporter of U.S. military veterans. Mantegna has been especially active with New Directions, and also served as spokesperson for ACT Today for Military Families, led the fundraising campaign to build the National Museum of the United States Army, and participated the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington DC for the last 10 years.

 
 
Joe Mantegna holding the 2014 God of Fire Man of the Year Award with Keith K. Park and Frank Mancuso, Sr. As Joe Mantegna walked up to the stage to receive his award, he received standing ovation from the attendees.
   
 
Actor Gary Sinise, the 2007 God of Fire Man of the Year, appeared in a special video tribute to Mantegna. During the tribute to Mantegna, guests received the Angelenos Robusto Gordo JM, a cigar created to commemorate Mantegna’s receipt of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.“We’re all sitting around enjoying cigars and wines and scotch, which some might consider vices,” Mantegna said. “But when you consider how much the proceeds of this dinner will do to help homeless and drug-addicted veterans … well, let’s just say you can’t judge a cigar by its band.”
 

   
THE CHARITIES

The proceeds from the God of Fire dinner and auction went to benefit two charities: New Directions for Veterans, which helps homeless military veterans, and Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, which provides education and health care for impoverished families and their children in the Dominican Republic.

 
 
Gregory Scott, president of New Directions for Veterans, spoke to thank Mantegna for his involvement in the organization, and for publicizing the issue of homeless veterans through two episodes of Criminal Minds featuring the late Meshach Taylor as a homeless former Marine sergeant. “We’re honored to be here for Joe, who’s been an amazing supporter of New Directions for the last 10 years, and we’re thankful to be one of the charities benefiting through tonight’s dinner,” Scott said.

Since 1992, New Directions has provided a wide array of services to thousands of veterans in Los Angeles County. These include substance abuse treatment, counseling, remedial education, job training and placement, as well as parenting and money management classes. Veterans leave New Directions with a savings account, housing, a job or other income, computer skills, renewed self-confidence and the support of mentors and peers.
 

 
In 2001, the Fuente and Newman families, longtime business partners in the cigar industry, founded Cigar Family Charitable Foundation to improve children’s lives in the Bonao region of the Dominican Republic. Since then, the Foundation has built primary and high schools, a health center, sports and recreation facilities and an organic farming area, serving well over 5,000 families and their children. Because the Fuente and Newman families pay all administrative expenses, 100% of donations to CFCF benefit the children and their families.
 
In his speech about Cigar Family Charitable Foundation, Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. recalled, “When we got there, there was no water, no electricity and no schools." "The kids went to work on the farms or in the mines. They never got an education, never had a chance. Now 90 percent of them move on to university after high school. They’re becoming doctors, engineers and building businesses.” Pictured below: Sylvester Stallone with Carlos “Carlito” Fuente Jr. and Tim Noonan.
 
 
In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the making of The Lost City movie, the Lost City Scholarship Fund for Cigar Family Charitable Foundation was established by Prometheus and God of Fire. When recounting the history of the Lost City Scholarship Fund which has been established by a portion of the sales proceed from the Fuente Fuente OpusX the Lost City cigars, Keith K. Park, Founder and CEO of Prometheus and God of Fire, remembered a moment when the Fuentes were forced to choose between the charity and business. “They were about to start shipping the Fuente Fuente OpusX The Lost City cigars,” Park said. “But they had a shortage of boxes due to the fire at the box supplier. ‘If I ship FFOX Lost City cigars, I can’t ship my cigars,’ Carlito told me. But they went ahead and shipped the FFOX The Lost City cigars first, sacrificing the finances of their business for the benefit of the children." Pictured below: In appreciation of making the establishment of the Lost City Scholarship Fund for CFCF possible, Carlos Fuente Sr. and Jr. presented Johnny Lopez, executive producer of the Lost City, and Frank Mancuso Jr., producer, with the Lost City cigar boxes signed by the celebrities who attended the event. Andy Garcia, who is the director of the Lost City, could not attend the event due to scheduling conflict. Pictured below: Keith K. Park (left), Carlos "Carlito" Fuente Jr., Frank Mancuso Jr. (producer ), Johnny Lopez (executive producer) and Carlos Fuente Sr.
 
  
THE CHARITY AUCTION

After the dinner, Joe Mantegna and Jim Belushi began the charity auction, which included numerous exclusive items: rare Bruichladdich “The Black Art” scotch; 2013 Cambria Pinot Noir Julia's Vineyard Double Magnum signed by winemaker Dennis Shurtleff; a couples getaway from Cambria Estate Winery; vacation and dinner packages from the Peninsula Beverly Hills; a day on the set of the TV show Criminal Minds; and humidors and cigars from Prometheus and God of Fire.

The event raised more than $100,000 for New Directions and the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation. Since its inaugural event in 2005, the God of Fire charity dinner has raised over $1,000,000 for deserving charities.

  
 
Tim Noonan (center) winning the Prometheus 20th Anniversary humidor with Keith K. Park and Jim Belushi
 
Brent Butterworth (left), Pedro and Enrique Carvajal, Duke Maltin
 
 
Frank Mancuso Sr. and Carlos Fuente Sr.
   
Johnny Lopez (left, executive producer of the Lost City and partner of Platinum Equity), Craig Weiss, Joe Mantegna, Keith K. Park and Dennis Franz
 
Dawn and Pete Feranini (left), Bill Singer, proprietor of Smoke Shop in Miami, with Michelle Park
 
Offer Nissenbaum, managing director of the Peninsula Beverly Hills, with Goddesses of Fire
      
 
Jim Belushi inspiring the attendees to bid higher for the charity auction items
  
Paul Feig winning an auction item. He is an actor, director and producer. His directing work includes Bridesmaids, The Heat, and I Am David.
    
David Allegra (left), Jenny and George Skiadas, Jerry Gross and Morgan King
 
Lenny Fodemski, winner of Fuente Fuente OpusX Destino al Siglo cufflinks, with Jim Belushi, Joe Mantegna, Manny Iriarte and Carlito Fuente
 
Jimmy Previti winning the final auction item of the evening
 
 
During the tribute to Mantegna, guests received the Angelenos Robusto Gordo JM, a cigar created to commemorate Mantegna’s receipt of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.“We’re all sitting around enjoying cigars and wines and scotch, which some might consider vices,” Mantegna said. “But when you consider how much the proceeds of this dinner will do to help homeless and drug-addicted veterans … well, let’s just say you can’t judge a cigar by its band.”
      
 
Joe Mantegna with Carlito Fuente Jr. and Keith K. Park
 
Dennis Franz with Matt Lanford, proprietor of Santa Barbara Cigars (photo by Derrick Won)
 
Shafi Hai, proprietor of Scottish Tobacco in Atlanta, and Bill Singer, proprietor of Smoke Shop in Miami, with Goddesses of Fire
 
Carlos Fuente Sr. (left), Juan Lopez, Frank Mancuso Sr. and Luis Garcia
   
Liana Fuente with her father, Carlos "Carlito" Fuente Jr. (photo by Derrick Won)
 
Sean and Sharon Tabibian (photo by Derrick Won)
 
Kevin Griner and Dan Ramm
 
Amy and Nicholas Karyotakis (photo by Derrick Won)
 
Morgan and Eliany King (photo by Derrick Won)
 
Vincent Guastaferro, Craig Weiss and Jim Belushi
 
Alex and Rafael Alvarez
 
 
CLICK THE BELOW LINK TO VIEW MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT

MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT   
   
   
SPECIAL APPRECIATION

God of Fire and Prometheus would like to thank the following individuals and companies (in alphabetical order) for their support and generosity:

Rafael Alvarez
Carlos Fuente Sr. and Jr.
Matt Lanford
Johnny Lopez
Bobby and Eric Newman
Frank Mancuso Sr. and Jr.
Offer Nissenbaum
Tim Noonan
James Overbaugh
George Skiadas
Michael Tenner
  
Arturo Fuente Cigar Company
Bruichladdich / Remy USA
Cambria Estate Winery
JC Newman Cigar Company
The Peninsula Beverly Hills
Platinum Equity
    
      
Joe Mantegna, Alex Pichel (winner of the God of Fire 10th Anniversary Humidor), Harry Koulouzian (proprietor of Harry's Tobacco in Burbank), Jim Belushi and Jimmy Previti.  MORE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT
 
 
2014 marks the 10th anniversary of the God of Fire brand.  Prometheus stole fire from Zeus, the king of Olympian Gods, to give it to mankind. Enraged Zeus ordered Prometheus to be bound to a desolate rock and attacked by an eagle. Prometheus was punished for his love of mortals. The painting, Prometheus Bound, on the cigar band portrays his unwavering endurance of suffering. Prometheus is a courageous hero for mankind, and also known as God of Fire.  Copyright © Prometheus
 
 
 
 
 
 
   
 

COCKTAIL RECEPTION

Passed Hors d'Ouevres
Smoked Salmon-Potato Pancake with Caviar
Truffle Artichoke Crostini with Parmesan and Tomato
Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail
Miniature Beef Sliders with Arugula and Taleggio Cheese

Premium Open Bar: You can order beverages of your choice throughout the event.

Featured Beverage
Strawberry Basil Gin Cocktail and Classic Tom Collins.  Both are made with The Botanist Gin.
Bruichladdich Islay Barley Rockside


DINNER MENU

First
Lobster Risotto with Grilled Lobster Tail
Fennel Fronds, Fennel Pollen Lobster Roe
Wine: Cambria 2012 Bench Break Chardonnay 

Second
Fall Harvest Beets
Duck Croquette and Smoked Duck Breast
Arugula with Balsamic Reduction
Wine: Cambria 2012 Bench Break Pinot Noir 

Entrée
Grilled 28 Day Dry Aged Rib Eye
Wild Local Mushrooms
Potato Rôsti, Whole Grain-Confit Garlic Jus
Wine: Cambria 2012 Clone 23 Pinot Noir 

Cheese
Krystal Cave Aged Cheddar
Stilton, Cremulon
House-made Conserves, Honeycomb
Fig and Nut Toast
Whiskey: Bruichladdich Port Charlotte

Dessert
Warm Valrhona Chocolate and
Caramel Cake Drambuie Ice Cream Almond Brittle
Whiskey: Bruichladdich Classic Scottish Barley

 
   

Copyright © God of Fire, Inc. All Rights Reserved.