Chefs & Champagne is a stellar event–and not just because it’s in the Hamptons where the standards for fete fare is high or because its an official event f the James Beard Foundation. This event held starting at 6 PM on the last Saturday of every July at Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, NY, features dozens of the tristate’s best eateries and even a few from out of state–and the best of the best is featured! There is a built in bonus as well–an afterparty in a white tent behind the tent where the actual Chefs & Champagne takes place. There is always a wonderful gift bag full of foodie-centric products and discounts or gift cards from the restaurants on hand! Best of all, all proceeds go to the James Beard Foundation’s Impact, Women’s Leadership and Scholarship programs.
This year’s date is July 28th and the VIP hour gets kickin’ at 6 PM. Every year, a famous chef is honored and given an award, and superstar chef Marcus Samuelsson from The Rooster in Harlem and many others was the honoree last year. This year Padma Lakshmi is being honored and she has already gotten a lot of press over this. The James Beard Foundation really picks the most innovative chefs for this award and in the past Thomas Keller, Wolfgang Puck and Bobby Flay have been winners.
The chefs and eateries presenting their wares for the gourmand guests to savor and taste this year are: Alex Baker, Yves, NYC; Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit, NYC; Stephan Bogardus, The North Fork Table & Inn, Southhold, NY; Janine Booth and Jeff McInnis, Root & Bone, NYC and Stiltsville Fish Bar, Miami Beach; Peter Botros, The Stone House at Clove Lakes, Staten Island, NY; PJ Calapa, Scampi, NYC; Adrienne Cheatham, SundayBest Dinner Series, NYC; Abe Conlon*, Fat Rice, Chicago by Chefs Club New York; Michael Corvino, Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room, Kansas City, MO; Pastry Chef Jessica Craig, L’Artusi, NYC; Suzanne Cupps, Untitled at the Whitney, NYC; Georgette Farkas, Rotisserie Georgette, NYC; Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming*, The North Fork Table & Inn, Southold, NY; Tom Fraker, Melissa’s Produce, CA; Nicole Gajadhar, Saxon + Parole, NYC; Gregory Gourdet, Sage Restaurant Group, Portland, OR; Joseph Gurrera, Citarella, Bridgehampton, East Hampton, and Southampton, NY, Greenwich, CT; and NYC; Patti Jackson, Delaware and Hudson, Brooklyn, NY; Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, Shuko, NYC; Mina Newman, Sen Sakana, NYC; Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shuka, NYC; Chintan Pandya, Rahi, NYC; Pastry Chef Deborah Racicot, Locanda Verde, NYC; Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Don Angie, NYC; Laëtitia Rouabah, Benoit Restaurant and Wine Bar, NYC; Surbhi Sahni, Saar Indian Bistro, NYC; Barbara Sibley, La Palapa, NYC; Joseph Smith, Wölffer Kitchen, Sag Harbor, NY; Roxanne Spruance, Kingsley, NYC; Chris Starkus, Urban Farmer, Denver, CO; Nick Stefanelli, Masseria, Washington D.C.; Hilary Sterling, Vic’s, NYC; Audrey Villegas, 2 Spring, Oyster Bay, NY; Jason Weiner, Almond, Bridgehampton, NY and NYC; Mathew Woolf, The Rainbow Room, Bar SixtyFive, NYC; Emily Yuen, Bessou, NYC.
So I can honestly tell you that there is no better place to head on July 28th if you’re a true foodie and want to “party with a purpose.” The Wolffer Estate Vineyard is at 139 Sagg Road in Sagaponack and is only about a 15 or 20 minute drive from the Water Mill stop of the Hampton Jitney if you are coming out from the city. The ticket price of $300 for non James Beard Foundation members (and $225 for members) is well worth it and be sure to check any diets at the door. For more information and to buy tickets, go to https://www.jamesbeard.org/events/chefs-champagne.