Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.






Barbara Lazaroff - Sophie Gayot

Barbara Lazaroff & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


UPDATE 7/10/13: This year’s event will be on August 1, 2013. For more information, visit the Los Angeles Culinary Events calendar

UPDATE 7/23/12: This year’s event will be on July 26th. To buy tickets, go to


For the past few summers, event manager Joan Wrede has been gathering Los Angeles chefs for “An Evening on the Beach.” The toques bring their barbecue grills right on the sand at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica. The evening finished around a huge bonfire where the attendees roasted marshmallows which no less than pastry chef Sherry Yard of Spago combined with graham crackers and chocolate to make s’mores.

We were also able to enjoy the cuisine of:
Celestino Drago, Drago Centro
Michael Fiorelli of mar’sel at Terranea
Mark Gold, Eva
– Tim Guiltinan, The Raymond
– Michael McCarty, Michael’s
– Joe Miller, Joe’s
– Mark Peel, Campanile
Piero Selvaggio, Valentino
– Mako Tanaka of Robata-Ya

Continue reading “Barbecue on the Beach for Charity” »



Savore Catering team: Daniel Elkins, Richard Lauther, Michael Morisette with Sophie Gayot
Savore Catering team: Daniel Elkins, Richard Lauther, Michael Morisette with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

On Saturday, July 9th, over 4,000 people partied on the backlot of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles at the 37th Annual Block Party of the Concern Foundation. The event was so successful that it was packed like the Paris métro at 6 p.m. A record was broken with the amount of money raised that evening with the ticket sales, plus the live and silent auctions: a million and half dollars. Among the lots sold was dinner with me while I review a restaurant!

Because of the crowds, I couldn’t get to most of the 80 restaurants that participated, along with pastry shops, wineries, and bars. To see some of the participants, look at the photos in the gallery below. One of the most memorable displays was put on by Savore Catering, which cooked more than 1,000 eggs for 58 minutes in a 147-degree-Fahrenheit water bath to prepare their “farm egg on baked heirloom beans with béarnaise” to the hungry hordes.

Continue reading “So Crowded, It Was Hard to Walk” »

Tasting At Sunset

on June 17th, 2011
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Brendan Collins of Waterloo & City with Sophie Gayot

Brendan Collins of Waterloo & City with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Last Saturday was the third time I attended Vintage Hollywood’s Annual Wine & Food Tasting Event. It’s always a special night, in that the fundraiser is held on the grounds of a Los Angeles mansion.

As the two hundred guests were arriving at the sold-out evening, the sun was setting through the branches of gorgeous trees, adding elegance to the ambience at the Westside LA location. I was excited by the diversity of the tasting bites and wines offered by the restaurants and vintners. From the oysters of Oyster Gourmet and Blue Plate Oysterette to the caramel fleur de sel toffee of Valerie Confections via the Mediterranean sandwich of Tavern, the panini of Bar Toscana, the steak tartare of Bouchon, the foie gras chicken liver mousse of Waterloo & City (that everybody was raving about, including me), the braised pork leg from Jar, the scallops and rabbit rillettes of On Sunset, the burrata from Mozza, the grilled cheese sandwich from The Foundry on Melrose, the tuna wonton tacos of Zengo, the La Quierca proscuito from Akasha and the shrimp ceviche from La Sandia, I had quite enough for the evening (though I was able to sneak into my stomach a banana foster from Florentino Ice Cream). Apologies to Whist restaurant at the Viceroy and Simple Things Sandwich & Pie Shop, but I simply had no more room, even for a coffee from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Continue reading “Tasting At Sunset” »



Chefs Celestino Drago & Ian Gresik with Sophie Gayot

Chefs Celestino Drago (left) & Ian Gresik (right) with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

The 22nd Annual Culinary Evening with the California Winemasters held on May 14th in the “Midwest Street” backlot of Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California, was a huge success. At the sold-out event, more than 1,400 guests enjoyed food prepared by 45 top chefs paired with wines from more than 70 California wineries. Chefs and winemakers were all in attendance to give partygoers all the explanations they needed.

Every year, the event benefits the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The money raised, $23,000,000 over 22 years, including $1,667,500 this year, is used for vital research and care centers. Thanks to the new treatments, people with cystic fibrosis are now living one year longer for every year of research. When this event began, patients were living into their teenage years. Now, the median age is approaching 40.

Continue reading “I am Sold to the Highest Bidder” »

Cochon 555 2011 LA Winner Chad Colby, chef at Osteria Mozza, with his team and Sophie Gayot

Cochon 555 2011 LA Winner Chad Colby, chef at Osteria Mozza, with his team and Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

UPDATE 5/01/11 : The winner is Chad Colby (Osteria Mozza). See photos from the event below.



This Sunday, May 1, five top LA chefs will each prepare a 175-pound, heritage-breed hog from head to toe for a friendly competition called Cochon 555. This ten-city touring event is the only culinary competition of its kind in the country, and will help family farms sustain and expand their businesses. Competing in the LA stop will be Octavio Becerra (Palate Food + Wine), Chad Colby (Osteria Mozza), Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station), Tim Goodell (Public Kitchen & Bar) and Joshua Whigham (The Bazaar). To support the event and its worthy cause, I will be there with other local judges to determine a winner based on presentation, utilization and overall best flavor.



The chefs who participated in the 4th Annual Gala of Flavors with Honorary Chair Sophie Gayot

The chefs who participated in the 4th Annual Gala of Flavors with Honorary Chair Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

The fifth annual Flavors Culinary Gala of the Los Angeles Division of the American Liver Foundation will be part of the Dinner Series as it was last year. The fundraiser will be held on May 22nd at the Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel, starting at 5:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception and a silent auction, followed by a sit-down dinner.

The participating chefs are: Jeremy Berlin, Church & State; Collin Crannell, The Lobster; Calvin Holladay, Flemings LA Live; Kevin Meehan, Café Pinot; Jean-François Meteigner, La Cachette Bistro; Larry Nicola, Nic’s Beverly Hills; Mirko Paderno, Oliverio; Keith Roberts, Ocean & Vine; John Sedlar, Rivera and Playa; Paul Shoemaker, Savory; and Shigefumi Tachibe, Chaya.

Women in Film & Champagne

on February 28th, 2011
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Actress Halle Berry & Sophie Gayot

Actress Halle Berry & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot

Bubbles of Perrier-Jouët Champagne were floating in glasses during the 4th Annual Women in Film pre-Oscar reception hosted by Academy Award® Winners Halle Berry and Cathy Schulman. The star-studded event was held at the Soho House’s garden rooftop in West Hollywood on Friday, February 25th.

The few men who attended the party, including Halle’s new flame Olivier Martinez, were happy to mingle with Amy Adams, Kate Walsh, Gillian Jacobs, Melissa Leo, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Jennifer Morrison, Hailee Steinfeld and Malika Sherawat, among others.

WIF President Cathy Schulman reiterated the night’s theme when she said, “This organization is about women supporting women.” Halle also briefly greeted the crowd, speaking about how, as women, it is important to support each other and lift each other up.

Continue reading “Women in Film & Champagne” »



Chefs Mark Peel, Susan Feniger and Govind Armstrong with Sophie Gayot

Chefs Mark Peel, Susan Feniger and Govind Armstrong with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


Despite the threat of rain, which became the reality of rain, zebras, llamas, dromedary camels and horses were out to welcome the more than 2,000 hungry guests who attended Los Angeles Magazine’s The Food Event 2010. It was once again held at the beautiful Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu, home to Malibu Family Wines, which produces Saddlerock and Semler Wines.


Some 80 restaurants and wineries came together for the 5th edition of the event, which donated  proceeds to the Kids Courage Foundation. I sampled quite a few dishes. Chef Warren Schwartz from Westside Tavern in West Los Angeles will be happy to learn that he was the winner of the day. He had prepared a delicious braised short rib crostini on caramelized onions accompanied with a horseradish/chive cream. After talking with Michael McCarty from Michael’s restaurant about his 2007 Pinot Noir from his own winery The Malibu Vineyard (watch my exclusive video), I indulged in white truffle pizza from Tra di Noi Ristorante in Malibu from chef Francesco Velasco (another video to watch). A stop at the new The Capital Grille in West Hollywood confirmed the impression I had from a previous tasting: the combinations of ingredients don’t match. The Indian spices mixed with the mustard oil on the Wagyu beef carpaccio are not a fit; neither are the black pepper mascarpone, lemon oil, and fig essence with King salmon cured with fennel pollen. My suggestion is to keep it simple.

  Continue reading “Good Food & Wines Win Over the Rain” »

The sale of Fishermans' products from the Gulf of Mexico have gone down significantly since the BP oil spill

The sale of Fishermans’ products from the Gulf of Mexico have gone down significantly since the BP oil spill

by Sophie Gayot

For months, the world has watched with horror the oil spill caused by the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drill rig in the Gulf of Mexico that killed eleven people. We are all very sad for the families of the men who left us.

Even though the well has been sealed, another drama is now unfolding concerning the area’s fishermen. The sales of their products — shrimp, oysters, crabs, crawfish and over 167 varieties of fin fish — have gone down. If they stay at that reduced level, most of them will not have enough income to support their families and businesses. Imagine the chain reaction on the economy in the region. Thousands and thousands will be affected. After Hurricane Katrina, they certainly do NOT need this.

After conducting many tests, the experts definitely agree that seafood from the Gulf is safe. If you are like me, so far, you’ve done nothing to actually support the population, besides almost cry when looking, powerlessly, at the images during the long ordeal, and curse at BP. Now, as foodies, we can do something.

Continue reading “America’s Night Out for Gulf Seafood” »



The Chop Stix Restaurant of NYC booth at the Plate By Plate Tasting Benefit at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City

The Chop Stix Restaurant of NYC booth at the Plate By Plate Tasting Benefit at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City

by Michelle Kwan  

Attendees raised their glasses, not to mention their forks, spoons and chopsticks, in support of healthcare and social services to the Asian community at the Project By Project annual Plate By Plate Tasting Benefit held October 1 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. The Tasting Benefit featured over 40 participants from some of New York City’s finest restaurants and bakeries coming together to showcase their culinary skills with samplings of their signature creations, along with a host of wine and spirit purveyors, brewers, tea and coffee companies, all ready to do their part to keep the evening festive for the approximately 650 guests in attendance.

Continue reading “Serving the Community Plate by Plate” »

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