We attended this highly successful event Saturday night at the Annenberg Building at the Calif. Science Center where a handful of L.A.'s top chefs were well spotlighted. First, let me say that it continues to inspire how the restaurant industry gives of itself at a growing number of these affairs. It may not amount to a Bill Gates or Warren Buffet windfall but when you figure in the labor and time for operators on a Saturday night, not to mention whatever food inventory is involved (let's not forget the beverage vendors either) it is still sizeable.
Food standouts included Water Grill's David Lefevre's poached sturgeon with olive tapenade with eggplant puree (his efusiveness alone could have sold that dish), Max's Jason Mattick's chilled strawberry and shrimp ceviche (someone was thinking how hot it was going to be), Napa Valley Grille's Anne Conness's Ahi Tartar with nice a nice spicy sesame sauce, Cafe Del Rey's Frank Fronda's tender pork belly; and what may have been the surprise hit of the evening Max and The Oinkster's Andre Guerrero's preview of his peppery pastrami and Belgium fries. Was that L.A. police chief Bill Bratton and his wife downing a second helping?
Panna cotta fans could rejoice in no less than three different versions including Jan Purdy's sour cream with blueberries from Max, Red Pearl Kitchen's coconut milk with passion fruit, and Terri Buzzard of the Getty's creamy cinnamon with yellow peaches.
Off in one corner a radiant Michelle Myers of Boule offered what may have been the coup of the evening: mini macaroon ice cream sandwiches.
The event was given extra buzz by the particpation of Bravo's Top Chef show filming an episode during the proceedings which added the right kind of fun and star power (although a tumbling light pole almost severing the Water Grill's booth early on may have been a little too much excitement). However, not even celebrity chefs like Alfred Portale and Ming Tsi wandering about commenting on the goings on could steal the real focus of the evening: L.A. chefs doing what they do best for a great cause. Nice.