On Saturday July 28th I attended the 28th annual James Beard Foundation’s Chef & Champagne gala. It’s a huge foodie fest with 35+ Chef tastings washed down with free-flowing wines from Wölffer Estate Vineyards, beer from Heineken and cocktails with Tito’s vodka. This years Champagne sponsor was Boizel which poured their Brut Reserve. At the event they held a silent auction and announced the recipient of the 2018 Christian Wölffer scholarship. The guest host this year was Padma Lakshmi.
The gala is part of JBF’s year-long “rise” celebration; “a salute to the countless ways our food community rises to meet the world’s challenges and make it more delicious, diverse and sustainable place for all”. The foundation was named after cookbook author, teacher and champion of American cuisine, James Beard. They maintain the James Beard House at 167 West 12th Street in Greenwich Village, Manhattan.
The festivities, as usual, were held on the grounds of the Wölffer Estate Vineyards on the South Fork of Long Island just east of the town of Bridgehampton at 183 Sagg Road in Sagaponack.
It was a typically hot and steamy July evening but fortunately the rains stayed away.
Some of what I sampled:
Gregory Goudet SAGE RESTAURANT GROUP: Grilled Oregon Albacore with lemongrass, galangal, chile and lime. (My favorite)
Audrey Villages 2 SPRING: Shrimp Po’Boy with lemon aioli and lettuce cup.
Barbara Sibley LA PALAPA: Tacos de Barbacoa, guajillo braised brisket tacos.
Alex Baker YVE’S: Mussels Provencal with cherry tomatoes, garlic croutons and parsley.
Angie Rito, Scott Tacinelli DON ANGIE: Vitello Tonnato.
Roxanne Spruance KINGSLEY: Grilled Angus Beef short ribs with pecan Barbacoa sauce, heirloom lettuce, buttermilk and goat cheese.
Janice Booth, Jeff Mcinnis ROOT & BONE: Wood grilled oysters with greenneck butter and charred bread.
Ayesha Nurdjaja SHUKA: Whipped Feta with watermelon and pistachio Dukkah.
Patti Jackson DELAWARE & HUDSON: Duck Bratwurst with spiced peaches, mustard, chowchow and turnip sauerkraut on pretzel roll.
Tom Fraker MELISSA’S PRODUCE: Tropical crab crostini with mango jelly.
Emma Bengtsson AQUAVIT: Grilled Isterband sausage sliders.
Stephan Bogardus NORTH FORK TABLE & INN: Corn soup with truffles.
Hillary Sterling VIC’S: Marinated Albacore tuna with harissa, black olives, hazelnuts and mint.
Matthew Woolf RAINBOW ROOM & BAR 65: Olive oil poached King salmon with charred leek emulsion, jersey corn puree, black garlic and corn crackling.
Jessica Craig L’ARTUSI: Blueberry tartlette with lemon thyme and almonds.