This past Sunday on a unseasonably sultry afternoon in Studio City, over 800 foodies gathered to enjoy the fall/winter fixings from some of our city's hottest chefs at the 23rd Annual Great Chefs of L.A., a benefit hosted by comedian George Lopez which raised $150,000 for the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. But with the event under a blazing sun on the CBS lot, everyone — chefs to guests — found themselves battling with the heat. Chefs Ben Ford (Ford's Filling Station) and Govind Armstrong (8 oz.) ducked under a breezy porch with their wine glasses in tow.
It looked slow-going for Tanino Ristorante's Zuppa di funghi while The Bazaar couldn't make its liquid nitrogen caipirinhas — cocktail slushies — fast enough. At one point, Michael Gillet, exec pastry chef of The Bazaar, quickly gave out handfuls of his Earl Grey and saffron truffles before they melted.
We passed up the hearty meat dishes — short rib sandwiches, barbecue spare ribs and hanger steak. But cooling crowd favorites were Ford's Filling Station's persimmon salad with goat cheese, candied pecans and a sherry vinaigrette and East Restaurant and Lounge's chilled scallops and Hawaiian Walu.
Fortunately the “Get Green Get Hip” tented bar/lounge area, complete with a visually soothing ice sculpture, offered respite from the sun as well as Veev acai cocktails. And despite the variety of high-end wineries at the event, we cooled ourselves on a tall cold one courtesy of Fireman's Brew Brewnette Beer, as well as Lupicia's mango rooibos iced tea and SmartWaters galore. Note to self: Next year bring a parasol.