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    Champagne Wishes for the James Beard Foundation

    by Meha Desai with Evan Leventhal
    Photos courtesy of the James Beard Foundation
    July 2013

    The James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne summer tasting brought together more than 30 chefs for an evening of food, fundraising, and Hamptons-style reverie. Held at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, New York, a group of industry leaders, including the likes of Masaharu Morimoto (Morimoto) and Rising Stars Chefs Evan Hanczor (Parish Hall) and Franklin Becker (Little Beet), helped to raise funds for initiatives, such as culinary student scholarships and the organization’s annual food conference on sustainability, public health, and nutrition. The free flowingChampagne helped to raise spirits.

    Chef Franklin Becker's Striped Bass with Fennel, Mint, Oranges, Chiles, and Lemon Agrumato

    Chef Franklin Becker's Striped Bass with Fennel, Mint, Oranges, Chiles, and Lemon Agrumato

    JBF Award winner Andrew Zimmern with Chef Masuharu Morimoto

    JBF Award winner Andrew Zimmern with Chef Masuharu Morimoto

    Over 30 chefs provided food for the James Beard summer tasting

    Over 30 chefs provided food for the James Beard summer tasting

    The James Beard Foundation's Chefs & Champagne Fundraising Event

    The James Beard Foundation's Chefs & Champagne Fundraising Event

    Rising Star Chef Dan Kluger summed it up simply, “JBF is a huge supporter of chefs and the industry and has really helped to put so many chefs and restaurants from all over theUnited States on the map throughout the years.”

    Festive small plates came from local chefs like Hanczor. “I wanted to do something that made sense, being in Long Island, and scallops seemed to be the perfect choice,” said Hanczor, who served Montauk sea scallops and roe. Hanczor will be a presenter at this year’s StarChefs.com 8th International Chef’s Congress. Franklin Becker, who also will present at ICC, served local striped bass with fennel, mint, oranges, chiles, and lemon agrumato. “I wanted to prepare something fresh and local. Since it’s summertime, local striped bass seemed logically to be the best choice. Fennel, orange, mint, and chile with lemon-infused olive oil enhances the fish and plays into some of the characteristic notes in Champagne.” Chef Hayan Hi of Laura Maniec’s Corkbuzz prepared hamachi with pickled plums and scallions, which was the crowd favorite. And for dessert, StarChefs.com’s Rising Star Ron Paprocki presented peach, raspberry, and lemon-thyme melba, a twist on Escoffier’s early 20th century recipe that balanced nicely with the event’s wine and bubbles.

    Additional funds were raised through a silent auction of wines and spirits, cookware, and culinary travel packages to Maui, San Francisco, and London, as well as dining experiences at L’Apicio, Bar Boulud, and Aldea. The evening also honored Andrew Zimmern, host and co-producer of Travel Channel’s “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” and “Bizarre Foods America.” “We’re thrilled to honor him for all of the work he’s done to enlighten eaters around the world, broadening our culinary spectrum and assisting us in making more informed choices for the future,” said Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation.