Chefs & Champagne 2018


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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.



Chefs & Champagne 2016

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This past Saturday, July 23th I attended the 26th annual James Beard Foundation’s Chefs and Champagne Summer tasting party. The event which raises funds for the philanthropic work of the Foundation, featured over 40 Chefs serving food many from JBF awarding winning restaurants. This years honoree was New Orleans Chef and restaurateur John Besh.

This event was held under the big tents at Wöllfer Estate Vineyards on 183 Sagg Road in Sagaponick, Long Island, just East of the town of Bridgehampton.

This year the free-flowing Champagne was sponsored by Baron de Rothschild which poured a NV Rosé, a NV Brut and a NV Blanc de Blanc. The wines were provided by Wöllfer Vineyards, beer from Goose Island and the Long Island Beer Co., and spirits by Tito’s Vodka.

It was a brutally hot day that cooled off nicely when the sun set, and my Kudos to the cooks that were manning the grills in all that heat. It was also a day of competing social events with several parties being held on this Saturday afternoon including Dan’s Taste of Two Forks which I felt took a little of the thunder out of this event. Still, it was an enjoyable afternoon of Champagne and tasty bites.


Some of what I sampled:

Roxanne Spruance: Fossil Farms Pork Belly with Nasturtium, Black Sesame and Cocoa Nibs

Christopher Cipollone: Madai Snapper Crudo with Avocado, Flowers and Farro

Angie Mar: Tomahawk Rib-Eye with Cherry-Garlic Compote

Cédric Vongerichten: Chilled Peekytoe Crab with Sesame Emulsion, Dukkah Spice, Avocado and Basil

Jonah Miller: Basque Dog, Chistorra Sausage with Piquillo Mostardo and Aioli

Dean Jones Max: Nantucket Oysters with Uni Vinaigrette

Julian Medina: Tacos de Pato; Fossil Farms Duck Carnitos with Charred Habanero-Tamarind Salsa and Micro Greens

Alex Bois: Smoke and Wood Bread; Local Flours with Whole Grains, Applewood Smoke Barley Malt, Roasted Shagbark Hickory

Tim Cushman: Kanpachi Sashimi with Vietnamese Mignonette, Fried Shallots, Thai Basil

Paul Kahan, Perry Hendrix: Grilled Octopus with Sumac

Damien O’Donnell: Montauk Fluke Crudo with Tomatillo Relish, Blue Corn Chips and Avocado Crema

Glenn Olsson, Marcus Widell: Shrimp Skagen 2.0

Anthony Lamas: Tuna “Old Fashioned” with Bluegrass Soy Bourbon Broth, Ginger, Pineapple and Orange

Eric Gabrynowicz: Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon with Gold Bar Squash. Tarragon, Tomato Confit and Corn

Brian Cheewing: Local Spicy Octopus and Corn Salad with Calabrian Chiles and Micro Cilantro

Maille Mustard: Watermelon-Feta Salad with Maille Mustard

Jiho Kim: “Ants On A Log”, Pumpernickel Cake with Rum-Raison Reduction and Peanut Butter Custard

Pichet Ong: Valrhona Chocolate with Cherry, Honey and Saffron

Alina Martell: Profiteroles with Strawberries and Cream