Throw a local celebrity chef and a generous yoga instructor into the mix, and you could have a reality show -- or an unforgettable fundraising night at
"I can just hear her now, looking down from heaven, saying, 'See? You should've stayed in dancing."
Rotellini is the owner of
The celebrity chef is
The Dish event will feature Mediterranean cuisine prepared by Chef Galal. Dr.
But -- in perhaps the crowning moment of the night -- Rotellini and Caperton will make their dance debut Thursday.
Dish customers may make donations to the United Way Dancing with the Stars "Team Michelle & Austin" at the show.
"We'll perform the salsa on the 29th for a donation, not just because we're nice people -- only for votes for the
Rotellini acknowledged that -- unless you count her Zumba classes -- she isn't a dancer. Yet.
But dropping out of
She and Caperton plan to give a stellar performance in front of an estimated 700 friends and strangers at the
Their assigned choreographer,
But while Blankenship's at her day job, Rotellini and Caperton will be pulling out YouTube videos to learn to salsa in time for Thursday. They've also enlisted the help of Rotellini's Zumba instructor,
"We just really need to know what we're working with here, how bad is this going to be," Rotellini said. "We actually had an hour and a half dance practice today, just Austin, me and
"We watched the videos, and it actually worked."
Rotellini didn't sign up for Dancing with the Stars because of a secret wish to salsa publicly. She signed up, she admitted, because
"(Margaret) called me into her office for (an unrelated) meeting, and during that meeting, she suddenly pushes this blue folder across the desk to me and places it right in front of where I was sitting," reported Rotellini. "I looked down and saw the Dancing with the Stars logo.
"I said, 'Oh, no, Margaret.'
"She said, 'Oh yes.'
"And, so it began."
Rotellini said that while it's "nerve-racking" to think of dancing onstage "when you're not even sure you know how to dance," she wants to raise money to help support the many community organizations that get funding from
"I'm the type of person, I'm going to go big, or go home," said Rotellini. "So if I'm going to be challenged to raise money for
"I want to be first."
Dinner starts at
A silent auction will be held at The Dish all day Thursday, and the winners will be announced Thursday at
Items up for bid include cooking lessons from Galal, jewelry, Whitfield's yoga sessions, Shear Style gift certificates, concert tickets, fly fishing and interior design services and wine from the personal collection of Rotellini's husband, Mark.
Rotellini said The Dish routinely hosts community fundraisers.
Proceeds will benefit a local charity, said Rotellini.
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