Toys for Tots at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills

Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari with Marines & Sophie Gayot
Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari with Marines & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


To celebrate the start of the holiday season, the Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills invited some 300 guests last night. The reception was actually a very good excuse to collect toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The foundation then distributes them as Christmas gifts to needy children. The Marines left with more than 500 presents!


Hotel general manager Mehdi Eftekari is behind this good cause. He started getting involved with the Marines’ organization sixteen years ago, when he was at the Newport Beach Four Seasons, and then brought it with him when he moved to the Los Angeles location eight years ago.

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Project by Project, Plate by Plate

Chefs from The French Culinary Institute
Chefs from The French Culinary Institute

by Michelle Kwan


The thirteenth annual Project by Project-sponsored Plate by Plate event benefiting the Chinatown Youth Initiatives showcased the culinary talents of a group of distinguished chefs, among them Chris Jaeckle of Ai Fiori. Guests at the October 14 happening in New York City sampled specialties from participating restaurants, including a traditional Korean spicy welk salad with buckwheat noodles from Danji, Iberico ham from Bar Basque, and braised beef cheek from Macao Trading Co. Wineries like Southern California-based Monte De Oro and Bedell of North Fork, Long Island, served up tastings of their finest reds and whites, while Hakkaisan, Joto and Tengumai acquainted visitors with the subtleties of saké. Spirits distributors Zyr Vodka, Speyburn Scotch and Caorunn Gin, and designer water purveyor Voss, were also on hand. One of the highlights of the evening was the Quickfire Challenge with last year’s winner Jaeckle and former Top Chef contestant Lee Anne Wong as competitors, with each chef preparing dishes centered around one main ingredient: salmon. Kudos went to Jaeckle’s various salmon-inspired crudos, but ultimately, the title went to Wong’s salmon prepared three ways.
 

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Glitter Everywhere

Hasty Torres, Madame Chocolat; Actress Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives); with Sophie Gayot
Hasty Torres, Madame Chocolat; Actress Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives); with Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


By the end of yesterday’s reception at the French Consulate in Beverly Hills, the guests were covered with glitter. Had we gotten too close to the models, who were wearing fine French jewels? No, the glitter was coming from the Madame Chocolat truffles! For the fifth edition of “The Jewels of France” event, chocolatier Hasty Torres was offering edible glitter truffles.


We had a few. Or maybe a lot, I’m not sure; when it comes to chocolate, we make all these excuses. We had to choose from the dark chocolate espresso covered in gold and silver, the white chocolate lime in blue or green, and the red and fuchsia filled with milk chocolate raspberry (my favorite).

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Krug & Train

Nobu Matsuhisa, his chefs & Sophie Gayot
Nobu Matsuhisa, his chefs & Sophie Gayot

by Sophie Gayot


Just so you’re not confused by the headline, this blog is not about a train powered by Krug Champagne or even drinking Krug while riding on a train. It’s about listening to the group Train performing live while drinking Krug Champagne during Saturday night’s Los Angeles Food & Wine event, which left quite an unforgettable memory.


Earlier that tasty night, many top chefs served their food to the appreciative crowd. The choices of food (and wines) were vast and very different, as were the participating toques: Joachim Splichal & Tony Esnault (Patina, GAYOT.com Top 40 Restaurant in the US), Paul Prudhomme (K-Paul Louisiana Kitchen, GAYOT 2011 Top 10 Insider Picks in the US), Christopher Kostow (The Restaurant at Meadowood, GAYOT.com Top 40 Restaurant in the US), Hugo Bolanos (CUT, GAYOT.com 2011 Top 10 Steakhouses in the US), and 2011 Top Chef on Top Chef Masters Floyd Cardoz (North End Grill). Lines were very long in front of Lydia Shire (Towne Stove & Spirits); and Akasha Richmond (Akasha), who served a delicious braised American lamb (word spread fast). Also popular was Drew Nieporent & Stephen Lewandowski’s choucroute (Tribeca Grill, Alsatian chefs should be jealous of the recipe). Chef Ben Ford (Ford’s Filling Station) got help serving from his son Eaton.

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Food & Wine at L.A. LIVE

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sophie Gayot, Wolfgang Puck and his guest, Randy Jackson at the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Food & Wine
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Sophie Gayot, Wolfgang Puck and his guest, Randy Jackson at the opening ceremony of the Los Angeles Food & Wine

by Sophie Gayot


Last night was the opening of the first Los Angeles Food & Wine which was held at L.A. LIVE. To celebrate the evening, mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Randy Jackson took the stage. They are both food lovers, and are great supporters of restaurants and the hard working people they employ.


The event was truly red carpet, as the entire area where the chefs and wineries had their booths was completely covered with it, which was great for those wearing high heels. It made the setting quite elegant for sampling Daniel Boulud’s charcuterie, Kerry Simon and Nona Sivley’s tuna tartare with caviar (SIMON L.A.), Lissa Doumani’s savory Japanese pancakes (Terra) and Michael Ginor’s escargots, to name just a few. Kristen Schaefer, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ mixologist, was serving “The Alameda cocktail” (Hangar One blueberry vodka, green Chartreuse, blueberry and pomegranate juice, fresh lemon, and thyme-infused honey), and not too far away, Maison Marques & Domaines was pouring Louis Roederer Cristal 2004.

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