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James Beard Foundation Chefs and Champagne® New York 2013 – In a Word – Yumm

Submitted by on July 23, 2013 – 7:08 amNo Comment
CC 2013 Photo 19: Participating chefs with honoree Andrew Zimmern and James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro at the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne® New York fundraiser held at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons on July 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.

CC 2013 Photo 19: Participating chefs with honoree Andrew Zimmern and James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro at the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne® New York fundraiser held at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons on July 20, 2013. Photo courtesy of the James Beard Foundation.

The James Beard Foundation Chefs and Champagne® New York 2013 held Saturday at Wolffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack has become a destination like Woodstock for foodies but with much better behaved attendees.  It’s an all-star lineup of 35 of the top chefs of New York, the East End and beyond, and for the devoted tasters they wish it would go on for days.

Libations included Champagne Charles de Cazanova Brut NV, Wolffer Estate Vineyard Wines, and beers at the Taste of Belgium Café from Stella Artois®.

CC 2013 Photo 0: 2013 Honoree Andrew Zimmern with James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro at the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne® New York fundraiser honoring Andrew Zimmern at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons on July 20, 2013. Photo by Mark Von Holden.

CC 2013 Photo 0: 2013 Honoree Andrew Zimmern with James Beard Foundation President Susan Ungaro at the James Beard Foundation’s Chefs & Champagne® New York fundraiser honoring Andrew Zimmern at Wölffer Estate Vineyard in the Hamptons on July 20, 2013. Photo by Mark Von Holden.

While a delicious taste only lasts only a minute, the event reminds us that in a lifetime we ultimately are what we eat.  Honoree Andrew Zimmern the host and co-executive producer of Travel Channel’s hit series, Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Bizarre Foods America stated, “If you have a platform of any kind and you don’t do something good with it, you are wasting your time on this planet.  I want to salute the James Beard Foundation for their events and conferences.  They are working 365 days a year to enrich our nation’s culture by promoting the idea of an American food life.  What’s most important with food insecurity and hunger and health and wellness and our damaged food system is the people who are going to solve that problem like the scholarship recipients.  These young people are going to get into a food life because of opportunities like the JBF affords them.”

Stefan Karlsson

Stefan Karlsson

James Beard Foundation president Susan Ungaro also thanked Andrew for his contributions saying, “Your generosity has no boundaries.” As this year’s guest of honor, Zimmern has graciously announced a charitable partnership with eyebobs, a leading U.S. eyewear company specializing in reading glasses. A portion of the proceeds from “The Zimm,” Zimmern’s new style of limited-edition eyeglass frames, will be dedicated to furthering the James Beard Foundation’s mission and programs.

Jhonel Faelnar, Collen Grapes, Christina Cassel

Jhonel Faelnar, Collen Grapes, Christina Cassel

Jhonel Faelnar of Jamaica, NY was this year’s Christian Wolffer Scholarship recipient, and he will begin the Intensive Sommelier Program at the International Culinary Center this fall.  Jhonel said, “It feels good to know there’s an organization that wants to make my dream come true as much as I do.”

Also in attendance was multiple James Beard Foundation Scholarship recipient Christina Cassel, who is pursuing an advanced degree from Johnson & Wales University with the goal of teaching.  Christina who is from Sagaponack said, “I’m on to grad school and the Foundation has helped me to get this far so one day I can hopefully teach younger kids to go from the garden to the kitchen and learn about the local food system.”

A Few Standouts From the Chefs:

Stefan Karlsson's Salmon Tartare

Stefan Karlsson's Salmon Tartare

Stefan Karlsson of Fond Restaurant in Gothenburg, Sweden made a Salmon Tartare and Swedish Anchovies with Kalix Caviar, Potato Cream, Onion Emulsion, and Crispy Cheese and Potatoes which was mouth-watering delicious.  How do we say, “More please,” in Swedish?

Marciel Presilla

Marciel Presilla

Good chefs know that it is not only great ingredients but innovative combinations which excite the palate.  Marciel Presilla of Cucharamama and Zafra in Hoboken, NJ created a Creamy Cuban Style Fresh Corn Polenta in Roasted Slab Bacon and Chile-Guava Adobo.  Not only was there the salt and the heat, but she topped it with pure cacao nibs which added just a bit of sweet.

Hayan Yi of Corkbuzz Wine Bar in New York City presented a Hamachi With Pickled Plums and Scallions which was superb.  You can only imagine how fun it would be to pair it with one of the restaurant’s extensive choices of wine.

Colleen Grapes

Colleen Grapes

Being from Connecticut I learned a bit more about drinking than baking so whenever I find a dessert which adds wine as a component I am delighted. Colleen Grapes, the pastry chef at The Harrison in New York City combined Wolffer Estate Rosé-Poached Apricots with Lemon Cake, Dulcey Panna Cotta, and Pistachios which proved the perfect summer confection.  Grapes commented that with the love affair everyone has with the Wolffer Rosé, it was the perfect nectar in which to bathe fresh apricots.

And with the heat, the great question was, “How will 2013 fare as the next vintage?”  Winemaker Roman Roth said, “The grapes are poised for greatness” this year.  It seems wine grapes and air conditioner salesmen are the only ones pleased by the heat.

One of the great moments is when the chefs go rogue and leave their own post to taste each other’s delights.  It’s a true sharing of the culinary minds.

Blue Print Juice

Blue Print Juice

And in a bit of forethought brilliance, Blue Print Cleanse was even on hand with their cold pressed, raw and organic juices.  A great benefit to your system.  Maybe just wait a few days after Chefs & Champagne® before starting their cleanse.

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