The annual James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne took place this past Saturday, July 28th at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. This was my first year in attendance and was extraordinarily impressed with not only the turnout but the sumptuous array of award-winning cuisine and beverages. I tried some of my favorite bites of the season at the event, which I cannot wait to share with you!
Padma Lakshmi was this year’s James Beard Foundation Chefs & Champagne guest of honor. Lakshmi is the host and executive producer of Bravo’s James Beard Award-winning and Emmy awarding-winning Top Chef. Over 35 chefs from around the country created delectable dishes for the celebration, which also featured flowing Champagne Boizel, and wines and ciders from Wölffer Estate Vineyard.
Chefs & Champagne participating chefs included: 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, FL; Peter Botros, The Stone House at Clove Lakes, Staten Island, NY; PJ Calapa, Scampi, NYC; Adrienne Cheatham, Sunday Best Dinner Series, NYC; 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; JBF Award Winning-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; Jimmy Lau, Shuko, NYC; Mina Newman, Sen Sakana, NYC; Ayesha Nurdjaja, Shuka, NYC; Chintan Pandya, Rahi, NYC;; Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Don Angie, NYC; Michael Ronzino, Wölffer Kitchen, Sag Harbor, NY; Laëtitia Rouabah, Benoit Restaurant and Wine Bar, NYC; Surbhi Sahni, Saar Indian Bistro, NYC; Barbara Sibley, La Palapa, NYC; Roxanne Spruance, Kingsley, NYC; Chris Starkus, Urban Farmer, Denver; Nick Stefanelli, Masseria, Washington, D.C.; Hillary 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.
*James Beard Award winner
For easy navigation, there is a floor plan at the entrance so guests are easily able to tour and taste at the event.
My favorite dishes from the event included the Sweet Corn Sabayon: Blackberry Reduction, Cornmeal Crumble by The North Fork Table & Inn’s Owner and Pastry Chef Claudia Fleming; Lobster Crostini Pumpernickel Crouton, Maine Lobster, Saffron-Mustard Espuma by Chef Peter Botros of The Stone House at Clove Lakes and Violette’s Cellar; Mussels Provencal with Cherry Tomatoes, Garlic Croutons, and Parsley by Chef Alex Baker of Yve’s; Olive Oil-Poached Chinook Salmon with Charred Leek Emulsion, Jersey Corn Puree, Black Garlic, and Corn Cracklings by Chef Matthew Woolf of Rainbow Room and Bar Sixtyfive; Duck Bratwurst with Spiced Peach Mustard, Chowchow, and Turnip Sauerkraut on Pretzel Roll by Chef Patti Jackson of Delaware and Hudson; and the Red Velvet Macarons with Foie Gras Mousse and Aged Balsamic by Chef Adrienne Cheatham of SundayBest Pop-Up Series.
Sponsors for the event included Audi; Big Green Egg; Calvisius Caviar; Hamptons.com; Hamptons Magazine; Heineken®, Lakhani Coaching; Loaker; Melissa’s Produce; Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company; Royal Cup Coffee and Tea; Saratoga Spring Water Company; Seedlip Drinks; Tito’s Handmade Vodka, VerTerra Dinnerware, Windstar Cruises; WEHM; WVVH.
A silent auction, including one-of-a-kind dining experiences, wines and spirits, cookware, and culinary travel packages, raised over $100,000 to help support JBF’s mission, scholarship, education and JBF Impact Programs, which include the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, Women in Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Smart Catch.