The Highlights of Great Chefs of LA

Riso al Salto con Midollo | Saffron Risotto Cake, Braised Beef Marrow, Mustard Greens

We got there kind of late, but there were great hits to be had at Great Chefs of LA. It was overcast and we had just come from another culinary extravaganza – still determined to conquer. The range of bite options varied more than ever – right on down to those Sushi Popper People – but those that showed up at the top of the available selection did a really good job doing so.

Burrata, Housemade Pink Lady Apple Gelato and Parma Prosciutto

What the heavyweights brought to the event often came in pairs. Like Lago’s Bone Marrow and a Burrata dish paired with Housemade Pink Lady Apple Gelato and Parma Prosciutto. I have a hard time arguing with either bone marrow or burrata, but the application of especially the burrata made for a refreshing, mildly-sweet take on the fresh, wet cheese. Autumn savory notes were alive and well in Studio City.

I was also happy to see Michael Shearin and Ian Gresik of Drago Centro there. They presented Michael’s Smitten With Britain – with Tanqueray gin, chives, limes and fever tree tonic – and Ian’s Celery Root Panna Cotta, Pancetta with Basil Crouton. It wasn’t coincidence that they went together so well. I grabbed another Smitten With Britain to wash the rest of my panna cotta down.

Sashimi Plate

Another “solid” was the super generous sashimi plate from Sushi House Unico from the (yes, Italian) Giacomino Drago group. I opted for no rice, though you could have ordered sushi as well. The fish was fresh and though I was full from another food event, I just couldn’t leave the pieces down on the plate.

La Grande Orange was on hand to showcase pizzas (including a truffle topped variety) from their newly-opened The Luggage Room in Pasadena. The Border Grill truck returned this year for another stop. Stefan Richter’s L.A. Farm had hand-dipped liquid nitrogen orange ice cream popsicles.

The Beer Chicks curated the mini beer garden, and invited the individual brewers to Great Chefs, which made it one of the best places to consume beer that weekend. The Bruery, Deschutes, TAPS (Pumpkin Ale!), Duvel and Ommegang were all there to represent – and boy was I happy.

There were tons of food event options this particular day (forget about the weekend, period) – but Great Chefs again proved that they were a contender for your time, money and appetite.

Held last Sunday, November 7, 2010

12 – 3:30 PM

CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Dr.
Studio City, CA 91604

Great Chefs of LA Goes Gargantuan

Scallops on the half-shell with lemon grass sambal, wasaby créme fraîche, shiso dust & micro cilantro

We call this, “November in Southern California.” Sunny and mid-seventies. Of all four, enabling seasons in SoCal – I would pick Fall to have the most misses. Tree leaves wilt to brown with no color in between and … well, who am I kidding? I really don’t think any of that is a big deal – let’s be honest. The weather here is mild in the Fall and we love it. We can be outside and sweating our makeup and deodorant off as the walls of our cavity cave with the weight of braised meats and three-cheese recipes, with a side of yams, beets and potatoes in four different forms (at least when they first went into your mouth). You’re also still going to see that girl walking around wearing a shag fur vest and 5-inch platform suede boots, seasons be damned.

So – barring gargantuan intake – it’s easy to see why the stand singularly serving as the raw oyster bar in the whole of the event won out. Named simply East, the seafood spot is glamorously outposted on that stretch of Hollywood Blvd. – their scene decidedly more Hollywood than seasonal. This actually paid off for them at Great Chefs of LA in terms of standing out on that hot November Sunday.

Of course, those of us with internal clocks triggered by daytime temps “dropping” to the 60s are used to this. We eat the slow-cooked meats and we enjoy it. And the paninis…and the polentas…ahhh, caprese with burrata…relief. California. Bring it on. We can hang.

We hung around Bottega Louie. And we hung around Dakota, Akasha and Saddle Peak Lodge. And there was Bazaar with caipirinhas made with liquid nitrogen, folks – forever reminding us that if it’s theirs then it is très chic. The truck of the moment was Border Grill’s. The libation? Champagne – lest anyone forget the real battle of the day was not to race from outpost to outpost but to prevent passing out. Nothing like cold, refreshing bubbly to the rescue!

See Great Chefs of LA Flickr Set

It was a collaborative showing of some of the best things happening in the L.A. culinary scene right now. One thing’s for sure – I sure wish I were the best friend of the winner of the Neal Fraser-cooked (BLD, Grace) dinner for 10. As much as $10,000 was raised for the Kidney Foundation with George Lopez and Candice Kumai hosting – and Jennie Garth and Chef Marcel Vigneron making their appearances for a delicious cause.

It’s a good food event to look forward to next year – weather be damned!

Further reading:

Great Chefs of LA Food Marathon

Great Chefs of LA – MyLastBite

Food Coma Aftermath: Great Chefs of LA – Diglounge

Great Chefs of LA Contribute to Walking Food Coma – FoodGPS

23rd Annual Great Chefs of LA – Caroline on Crack for LA Weekly Squid Ink

Hot Beef Injection at GCLA – Food, She Thought

So Much Food Under the Sun – ShopEatSleep

Heat, Meat, Sweet & Eat – LAist

CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Dr.
Studio City, CA 91604

Great Chefs of LA Ticket Giveaway

Ready for another culinary extravaganza?

On Sunday, November 8 the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California will be holding their 23rd annual Great Chefs of L.A. at CBS Studio Center. The theme this year is “Go Green, Go Organic” and Neal Fraser (BLD, Grace), Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Ciudad) will be the “chefs of honor” for their culinary contributions to the L.A. scene and for their past work with the Kidney Foundation.

Candace Kumai, The Stiletto Chef of TLC’s “Cook Yourself Thin,” will be emcee for this event and will also host the GCLA Webfire Challenge webisode series sponsored by 944 Magazine.

Other “great chefs” at the event include:

  • Adam Horton, Saddlepeak Lodge
  • Benjamin Ford, Ford’s Filling Station
  • Celestino Drago, Drago Restaurant, Enoteca Drago, Il Pastaio, Drago Centro
  • Govind Armstrong, 8 oz.
  • Jason Johnston, Dakota
  • Jorge Chicas, The Bazaar – SLS Hotel
  • Josie Le Balch, Josie Restaurant
  • Roberto Maggioni, Lago
  • Sam Marvin & Christopher Goossen, Bottega Louie Restaurant & Gourmet Market
  • Simon Dolinky, BLVD 16 at Hotel Palomar
  • Steven Fretz, XIV

There will be an eco-conscious lounge serving up eco-conscious cocktails with VeeV Açai Spirit and each guest will receive “SWAG bags” with SWAG worth $250 in value courtesy of 944 Mag and Get Hip Get Green.

So you want me to tell you how to enter to win a pair of tickets valued at $300, already? All right:

  1. Make sure you’re following @greatchefsofla on Twitter or are a fan of them on Facebook
  2. Leave a comment below – level of eloquence and thought completely up to you
  3. Retweet me if you’re on Twitter: “Just entered to win 2 tix to @greatchefsofla by @estarla”

That’s it! Good luck!

Edit: Oops! Forgot to mention that this at-random contest will be closed at noon on Friday, November 6th. I’ll notify the winner that afternoon by email.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

12 – 3:30 PM

$150 per person

CBS Studio Center
4024 Radford Dr.
Studio City, CA 91604

Halftime Hilarity at Henry’s Hat


Photo credit to MetroMix

Henry’s Hat, the new gastropub in Studio City brought to you by the same folks behind the all-favorite and consistent Luna Park are featuring comedy and food “highlights” specials celebrating Monday Night Football – starting tonight.

Five- and six-minute sets during halftime (tonight at 7:15 PM, future Mondays at 5:30 PM) will be performed by notable comics from The Improv, The Comedy Store, Comedy Central and led by Henry’s Hat bartender and doubling stand-up comic Minnie Goode. These performances will occur in the “Den” – a separate room from the screens showing the game.

Specials will rotate weekly, but you can expect to see things on the “hightlights” menu from Executive Chef Nick Cobarruvius following the game such as:

Aggies’ Chili Con Queso with Molten Cheese and Salsa – $4.25

North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork Sandwich with Coleslaw and Chipotle BBQ – $4.50

Banana Split with Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry Ice Cream and housemade Fudge and Strawberry Sauce – $3.50

Pitchers of select draft beers will be also be half-price following the game – or Henry’s Hat isn’t a gastropub.

You’ll have no shortage of laughs or screens as there’s a projector screen as well as fourteen 40″ and 50″ flat screens around the pub. I’ll see you tonight!

Monday Night Football

(Check your local, PST listings for kickoff)

Henry’s Hat
3413 Cahuenga Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90068