Once again, Philadelphia’s more thoughtful foodies gathered in support of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. With more than 1,200 hundred guests joining 50+ celebrity chefs, the melancholy weather of June 12th would not dismay the positive atmosphere. So positive, in fact, that the Vetri Foundation and Alex’s Lemonade Foundation announced that they have surpassed their goal of raising $1 million dollars in support of cancer research.
“It’s a lot of fun and all for a good cause,” Iron Chef Jose Garces tells me as I sample one of his mouthwatering carnitas. “I have been doing this for a few years now and it gets more exciting each time.”
The lineup of participating chefs read like a who’s who of culinary all stars. From Tom Colicchio to Masaharu Morimoto, the attendees were afforded the opportunity to sample some of the world’s most sought after fair. “You have to try the cod,” Chef and restaurateur Drew Nieporent remarks as he hands me a small plate. Delicately placed in the center of the dish is a sample of what made Nieporent’s restaurant Nobu one of the most famous in New York City, miso glazed black cod.
A little more than half way through the evening, the crowd gathered for a live auction. The high energy bidding war was highlighted by one particular item: a 4 night gastro-tour of Piemonte Italy for 6 with award winning chefs Jeff Michaud & Marc Vetri. That lot sold for a jaw-dropping $35,000.
When the main event ended at 9pm, those that could afford the $500 VIP tickets attended the after party at Marc Vetri’s restaurant Amis. Catered by the season 7 winner of Top Chef, Kevin Sbraga, the after party managed to continue the high culinary expectation set from earlier that evening. Featuring veal sweetbreads on a lettuce bed with pickled onions and siracha aioli, Sbraga’s kitchen cut no corners.
With all funds, including the tips the bartenders received, going to charity, all in attendance could be certain that their next day hangovers were well worth it.
Follow James Boney on Twitter @otherminds.