Wednesday, November 10, 2010

24th Annual Great Chefs of LA: A Smörgåsbord of Food & Wine

Chefs Jimmy Shaw of Loteria and Jamie Lauren of Beachwood
Sunday was the 24th annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles, a benefit for the National Kidney Foundation held at CBS Studios in the San Fernando Valley.  Dozens of restaurants, winemakers and brewers joined forces to support the cause and several hundred hungry charitable donors descended on the backlot to enjoy the various food and beverages available.

My three favorite bites are below:

Momed served a duck "shawarma" made with shredded duck, figs, and greens all stuffed into a pita.  Rich and savory at the same time, I went back for seconds.

The sushi from S H U (Sushi House Unico) from the Drago Family was also a highlight.  Fresh and clean with good quality sushi rice and served in an appropriate ratio of fish to rice.  Each piece was also one bite, as it should be.

Braised beef bone marrow and and crispy saffron risotto cake from Lago, in Santa Monica, was an ambitious dish to serve at an event like this.  Bravo.  The marrow was sweet due to the preparation.  I'd have preferred a more salty & savory rendition but still enjoyed this and they get bonus points just for serving the marrow.

So many chefs, bartenders, vintners and beer makers came out to serve their creations:

Chef Adam Horton of the Saddle Peak Lodge served a wild boar dish which was the favorite of many attendees. (I didn't sample it, but now want to get to his restaurant even more than before.)

Chef Josie LeBalch (left) of Josie in Santa Monica will be opening a second more casual restaurant next year.

Drago Centro head bartender Jaymee Mandeville was serving Smitten with Britain, a Tanqueray Gin cocktail.

The Drago empire was serving a whole piggy in a dramatic presentation.

One of the highlights of the day was the excellent beer garden curated by the Beer Chicks (Christina Perozzi, left, and Hallie Beaune, right).  They brought in TAPS, the Bruery, Duvel and Fireman's Brew among others.

Benjamin Weiss represented the Bruery with the Orchard White and the Saison Rue.

Brewmaster Victor Novak of TAPS Brewery in Brea brought four types of beer, including the seasonal Pumpkin Ale.

The one disappointment was that co-host Stefan Richter of Top Chef fame was not present, as he was in Finland.

It was a fun event and while sold out did not feel overly crowded, so it was a pleasure to walk amongst the booths and explore the food and wine and the great items up for auction. If you missed out this year, be sure to plan on being there for the 25th Anniversary Edition next fall.

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