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Chefs Cook Up Competing Charity Events

Philanthropic types should strap on their hungry pants, because two of D.C.’s hospitality heavies are planning to send off June with a bang by hosting dueling dine-arounds featuring signature eats, exotic libations and a slew of talented toques.

A Global Affair

ThinkFoodGroup founder and world traveler José Andrés has pulled together a number of his Penn Quarter neighbors — including Azur, Poste Moderne Brasserie and Proof — to participate in the inaugural Dine N Dash event on the evening (6-10 p.m.) of June 25. The fundraiser, which also features TFG siblings Jaleo, Oyamel and Zaytinya, provides patrons the opportunity to sample drinks and dishes at the various properties while also supporting World Central Kitchen.

General-admission tickets are $150 per person, while VIP passes (featuring a private reception with Andrés at barmini) are $350 a pop. Per the promotional materials, all proceeds go to the WCK.

According to a WCK aide, each of the participating restaurants has agreed, at least in principle, to prepare about a half-dozen small plates and a custom beverage (craft cocktail, beer or wine) to serve during the event.

A ThinkFoodGroup spokeswoman shared a taste of expected offerings for this easily walkable gastro trek:



Liquid olives (spherified olive)

Cono de la serena con membrillo (delicate cones of La serena cheese and quince paste)


Oyamel Margarita (signature salt air margarita)

Ceviche de atún pacifico (tuna with maggi-lime marinade, scallions, avocado, toasted pecans, jalapeños and crispy amaranth)

Cochinita Pibil Taco (Yucatan style pit barbecued pork with pickled red onion and Mexican Sour Orange)


Pom fili cocktail (White wine, vodka, pomegranate)

Shish Taouk (grilled chicken thigh, sumac, onions, garlic toum, and grilled tomatoes)

Mini Spanakopita (house made phyllo, spinach and feta cheese)

At press time, the specifics of the barmini reception remained in flux.

God Bless the USA

Restaurateur Charlie Palmer is taking a different tact with his debut American Fare experience.

First off, he’s limiting all the activities to his swanky perch opposite the Capitol (101 Constitution Ave. NW). And while different cooking styles are certainly welcome, the end goal is to celebrate the unique — and deliberately nebulous — phenomenon that is “American cuisine.”

“We all know that American cuisine can be just about anything,” a Palmer spokeswoman said as she ticked off the list of sought-after tastemakers participating in the June 29 event (6:30-9 p.m.).

General-admission tickets are $150 per person, with VIP passes (pre-event reception, VIP swag bag, post-event party with participating chefs and judges on the rooftop deck) set at $195.

During the dinner, chef teams — one from within the Charlie Palmer empire and one District dining vet — will compete to woo a panel of judges and the general public with their interpretation of a distinctly American dish and a standout drink (wine, beer, cocktail or non-alcoholic).

Along with bragging rights, the team of winning chefs can also direct half the proceeds pot to the charity of their choice; Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign automatically gets half of ticket sales.

Participating chefs include:

· Jeffrey Russell (Charlie Palmer Steak – D.C.) with Todd Gray (Equinox); selected charity: Washington Humane Society

· Adam Bordonaro (Astra) with Bryan Voltaggio (Volt/Family Meal/Range); selected charity: Martha’s Table

· Marcus Ware (Aureole) with Matt Hill (Range); selected charity: Autism Speaks

· Steve Blandino (Charlie Palmer Steak – Las Vegas) with Mike Isabella (Graffiato/Kapnos/G); selected charity: Autism Community Trust

· Dustin Valette (Dry Creek Kitchen) with Victor Albisu (Del Campo/Taco Bamba); selected charity: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

· Seakyeong Kim (Charlie Palmer at Bloomingdale’s) with Scott Drewno (The Source); selected charity: March of Dimes

· Luke Knox (Burritt Tavern) with Teddy Folkman (Granville Moore’s); selected charity: Brain Food

· Dave Holman (Charlie Palmer Steak – Reno) with Wes Morton (Art and Soul); selected charity: Big Brothers & Big Sisters

· Vincent Pouessel (Aureole – Las Vegas) with Jeff Buben (Vidalia/Woodward Table) ; selected charity: Share our Strength

The judging will be conducted by fellow cheflebrity Michel Richard, Washington Post Food columnist David Hagedorn and a Washington Redskin to be named later, all of whom will cast their ballots for the best dish and best beverage pairing. Attendees, meanwhile, will be allowed to vote for the best overall team.

As for why this culinary roadshow is happening in D.C. rather than at any of Palmer’s namesake restaurants, the aide suggested the theme made it a no-brainer.

“It just seemed to make the most sense to host it on Capitol Hill on the weekend leading up to Independence Day,” she said.

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