From late April to September, a few of L.A.'s most acclaimed restaurants will offer a six-course tasting menu at $150 per person, not including wine pairings. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Special Olympics. If you're so inclined, stop reading and sigh. What else could be so bo-ring and typical, in these days of food fandom.
But sometimes, behind a seemingly average event is a terrific gimmick. So here's the twist: Behind the kitchen door you'll find not one, not two, but five extraordinary chefs working together, each contributing a dish to the meal. Josiah Citrin (Mélisse), Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Gino Angelini (Angelini Osteria), Rory Herrmann (Bouchon) and Michael Voltaggio (Ink.) comprise the main group. (Hence the event's name, 5X5.)
Then, one extra chef will join each dinner. For the April 29 meal at Mélisse, Ludo Lefebvre (LudoBites) will step in. May 21 at Providence, Jeremy Fox (formerly of Ubuntu in Napa) adds a course. Angeleni Osteria will host the dinner on July 16, bringing in Michael Tusk Quince in San Francisco) as guest chef. 5X5 travels to Bouchon on Aug. 20 with an extra chef who has yet to be named. The run ends at Ink. on Sept. 16, with Chris Cosentino (Pigg at Umamicatessen) adding his own touch.
The last time 5X5 happened in L.A. was in 2009. Cimarusti tells us that the chefs enjoy the camaraderie of sharing a kitchen. (Just stay out of each other's soups, no?) “There's a sense of collaboration but also a sense of place for each of the chefs,” says the chef-owner of Providence. “As an experienced diner, even without reading the menu you could know who's cooking what.”
He says the restaurants should be able to tell you what's on the menu a week or so before the event. Reservations are recommended.