Chef’s tasting events are a dime a dozen in Washington. Call me cynical, but it’s true! Nearly every large-scale charitable event these days involves tables and tables of miniature dishes from the same old subjects.
I’m trying my hardest not to get bored of the morsels of steak or the tiny spoonfuls of ceviche, as most of these events are organized for some very worthy causes. However, there is one tasting event of which I will never tire.
It is the mother of all tasting events. The biggest, the grandest, and the most gourmet of them all: Chef’s Best to benefit Food & Friends, an extraordinary organization that delivered more than 1.2 million meals this year to more than 3,000 children and adults facing life’s most challenging illnesses.
I’ve attended this event for a few years now, and it never disappoints. The foyer of the Washington Hilton is chock full of gorgeous people, amazing chefs, great food, and delicious wine. You immediately get a little wrapped up in it all. The silent auction tables that line the long, narrow room also offer some of the most unique lots I’ve seen in Washington.
But the beautiful thing about this event is that the first room is only the beginning. After an hour of cocktails and mingling, you head downstairs to the grand ballroom, which is completely packed with guests and chefs—and some of the most delicious food tastings. Celebrity Chef Chair Massimo Fabbri of Ristorante Tosca and Posto, along with 50 other celebrity chefs, truly wowed the crowd.
This year’s event honored the M.A.C AIDS Fund for its support of HIV/AIDS programming. And the live auction lots that followed that special presentation were truly astounding. My favorites? A private cooking class and dinner for six with Chef Patrick O’Connell at The Inn at Little Washington, a week in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, generously donated by Neil Griffin, owner of JAM Communications, and seven nights at Jepun Bali Villas in Amed, Bali.
The event was a smashing success. It raised more than $765,000 for the organization, thanks to ticket sales, the silent and live auction, and even a raffle (I sadly didn’t win the fabulous trip to the Caribbean this year, but I tried!).
The event was also a success because of the generous support of the sponsors, including Presenting Sponsor, Walmart, Featured Sponsors AT&T, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation, and the Goshen Hill Foundation.
Here’s to more tasting events like this one!