An Exceptional Evening at Spago Beverly Hills

By Sophie Gayot

October 9, 2009

Fresh off the plane from Paris, I had only a few minutes to change before heading to Spago Beverly Hills for the 10th Annual Chefs Grand Tasting Dinner, held last night. Benefiting Meals-on-Wheels Programs of Los Angeles, it is one of the most prestigious charity dinners in the country.

Wolfgang Puck, Lee Hefter & Barbara Lazaroff, along with chef de cuisine Thomas Boyce and executive pastry chef Sherry Yard, welcomed six very fine chefs into their kitchen to prepare an elegant six-course dinner.

Thomas Keller, soon to open Bouchon Beverly Hills, started the festivities with a plate of charcuterie, followed by Laurent Gras of L2O, who diced kinmedai seasoned with sudachi lime juice. Nobu Matsuhisa steamed black cod served with brown rice salsa. Oriental flavors are mastered by chef Jereme Leung from Singapore, who prepared a duo of Maine lobster. From the kitchen of Spago came a Wolfe Ranch quail on a bed of wild matsutake mushroom risotto. Dean Fearing showcased his Tex-Mex skills with a crispy butternut squash taquito and jalapeno grits accompanying a buffalo tenderloin. Gina DePalma from Babbo, ended the dinner with her Venetian apple cake, while Sherry Yard sent out confections. Of course, each dish was paired with a different wine.

Robin Leach conducted a live auction which raised over $280,000 for the worthy charity programs, and hundreds of people went home happy. If you’re interested in attending next year’s event, don’t hesitate, as this year’s gathering of top chefs and connoisseurs was a complete sell-out!