I was lucky enough to attend the 27th Annual James Beard Foundation’s Annual Chefs & Champagne event at the Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack on July 29th. Legendary James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef, author and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson was toasted by more than 1,000 guests, who grazed from table to table of 35 NYC area chefs’ greatest creations–many which were new dishes created just for this event. (When you have a table at a JBF event, you always make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward because you are feeding some of the biggest gourmands in the world!) The Champagne Barons de Rothschild kept flowing throughout the event but guests were able to samples wines and ciders from Wölffer Estate Vineyard itself!
This JBF event also always features a huge silent auction consisting of one-of-a-kind lifestyle experiences, from fine wines and spirits to luxury cookware to food-centered travel packages. Each year, the silent auction raises over $100,000 to support the JBF scholarship fund and Impact Programs, which includes the highly acclaimed annual Food Summit and Leadership Awards.
The highlight of Chefs & Champagne is the annual parade across the stage. Of course, it was led by Chef Samuelsson, who mingled and took photos with guests before and after receiving his award during the event’s main ceremony.
Being a foodie but not having the most sophisticated palette, I have to say that I gravitated towards a few of the wonderful Mexican-influenced vegan options at the tasting tables and was happy to see my local boys from Citarella serving dessert including tiramisu (just a stone’s throw from my Yorkville apartment). One of the most beloved dishes of the evening was the simple and savory Deviled Eggs with Country Ham Salad prepared by Matt Abdoo of Pig Beach and Pig Bleecker (you can see it in one of the gallery photos above). I realize that $375 might sound like a steep ticket price but if you consider that you get served limitless champagne and wine of fine vintages (some of which are not commercially available) as well as truly unique unlimited cuisine, it is well worth it. Don’t forget the great goodie bag for all attendees featuring at least 15 items from the attending restaurants and brands affiliated with the James Beard House.
For more info on this and other great James Beard events (including wonderful events inside the James Beard House on West 12th Street in the West Village), go to www.jamesbeardfoundation.com. On Saturday, July 29, the James Beard Foundation (JBF) honored multiple James Beard Foundation Award–winning chef, author and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson at its 27th annual Chefs & Champagne summer fundraiser. Samuelsson was toasted by more than 1,000 guests, who attended the sumptuous benefit at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, New York. The Foundation’s tasting party featured flowing Champagne Barons de Rothschild, wines and ciders from Wölffer Estate Vineyard, and delicious and generous “small plates” from a select group of over 35 chefs.
The James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne is considered the East End’s premier culinary summertime event. A silent auction consisting of one-of-a-kind dining experiences, wines and spirits, cookware, and culinary travel packages raised over $100,000 to support the JBF’s mission, scholarship, education and JBF Impact Programs, which include the annual Food Summit and Leadership Awards that help promote a better food system. For more info on JBF events, go to www.jamesbeardfoundation.com. The intimate events (for 70 or less) inside the James Beard House on West 12th Street in the West Village are amongst my favorites! As it was once said by a famous foodie, “When a chef gets to cook inside the James Beard House, it’s like a musician getting to play in Beethoven’s house!”
(All photos are by Mark Von Holden for Invision/Courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.)