Philadelphia

The Great Chefs Event by The Vetri Foundation for Alex’s Lemonade

The Vetri Foundation for Children once again hosted a fantastic foodie event in the Urban Outfitters Headquarters in the Navy Yard. This year’s event brought almost 40 chefs ( Tom Colicchio, the Top chef judge couldn’t make it. One Top Chef fan said to me that there’s a good chance he was afraid to show his face in Jen Carroll’s Philadelphia), and a dozen mixologists, wineries and breweries from around the world. The event was a sell out, drawing a record crowd.
I thought this years set up was so much better than last years, but because of the record crowd there were a few times I swear I got goosed to move me along as I was taking in the beautiful sights and happy people.
L-R: Michael Steinberg, Cashman & Assoc and Jill Rizen. Jill had a lovely party for her dog Ruby’s 1st birthday at Rouge the other day. Which reminds me congratulations to Maggie and Rob Wasserman, husband and wife owners of Rouge on the birth of their son Asher yesterday.
Musician Phil Roy, Jennie Hatton, Profile PR and Arthur Etchells, Foobooz.Com. Jennie tells me that She rode a camel with Phil in Israel.
Anna Schneider, restaurant 1682 at The Palomar. Anna tells me she’s a big supporter of Alex’s Lemonade and this event. It’s a great time to see people who you’ve worked with before, or admire, and support a charity that helps children.
Tom Buonanno and London Grill’s Terry McNally. Remember to come out for Bastille Day at Eastern State Penitentiary, July 14, where Terry takes on the persona of Marie Antoinette with her own dramatic flair.
Spotted in the crowd was Stephen Starr chatting with former Philadelphia Inquirer writer Rick Nichols. Starr is collaborating on a restaurant called Alla Spina with Marc Vetri on North Broad which is slated to open sometime in 2012.
Top Chef Winner Kevin Sbraga tells me his new restaurant, Sbraga, will be opening in late summer. He tells me he’s going on vacation and then in July he’s going full speed ahead for the development of the new place at 440 S. Broad St., which is in the Symphony House. Kevin tells me that meatloaf and duck will be on the menu, and for me to look for squab as a special. I had attended a special dinner at the Omni hotel in the Azalea Restaurant last year where he served squab (pigeon) and it was delicious. Above with Michael Schwartz
Michaels Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, Fl
Stylish Barbara Hilsee, Lissa Hilsee, Nancy Schwartz and Todd Hilsee.
Chef Hiro Sone, Terra, 10 Arts Chef Jen Carroll, Pastry Chef Monica Glass and cook Ryan. Ryan explained all the levels of cooks to me last night and I feel educated. Jen told me it was a thrill to work along side the folks from Terra, and that Sone’s was the first cookbook she ever read – Terra: Cooking from the Heart of Napa Valley (2000) I think to further my understanding of the foodie world I will pick it up.Jason Ohlsen and Erin Monteiro you will recall met while working at the ESP and were married there a few weeks ago. Congratulations!
Evelyn Fleisher, Sarah Starr, Laura D’Erosmo and Alissa Kur. I loved Alissa’s dress and it turns out that it was created by Urban Outfitters and is sold at Free People.
my Fairmount neighbors: Tom Kehoe and wife Judge Linda Carpenter, owners of Yards Brewery
Owen Rothstein Director of Business Development at Multi – Flow Industries and Paige Marmer
The VIP Room. There were comfortable seats, and a large screen that reflected the going bids of the silent auction. This year they did something new and very technical an electronic bidding systems. It’s call BidPal and automates the whole system. If you look really closely on the left you can see Comedian Wanda Sykes and wife Alex. You’ll recall I wrote about the women eating at Amis about 3 weeks ago after a reader sent me a tip. The reader was sitting near them. I was eager to get a pix of them tonight since I passed on shooting them that night so they could enjoy their night out. She lives here I figured I would see her eventually. It was easier said then done, she was shy with the big camera, not only with me but others I hear, but very gracious whenever a fan approached her, which was great. She told me I don’t have any make up on, I thought what crazy, you’re beautiful as is Alex. But I complied until my bud Brett came along…
Who else was in the VIP room: Wendi Tow and Suzanne Kane; Also spotted Collin Flatt, Danya Henninger, Larry Platt, James Zeleniak, Michael Klein, Susan Miller, David Lipson, Kiong Bahn and so many others my head is spinning.
Greek-American brother-sister team Vasiliki and George Tsiouris who recently opened one of my favorite restaurants OPA Check them out Thursday nights when they have their artist/musician nights. Last week they had a great fashion show MC’d by G-N Kang and Thom Cardwell featuring fashions by Matthew Izzo and others. Tomorrow night check out El Malito and AfroTaino Productions present “Platypus” at 10PM
Brett Rosenbloom, Director of Business Development at Multiflow Industries and Wanda Sykes. Every time I turned around these two were together, laughing, giggling like old chums, but I know they just met last night. I had to break it to Brett that Wanda was already married and Alex could kick his butt.
Mina Sabet, The Ten Show producer and friend Jan Shaefer, Executive Director at St. Christopher’s Foundation for Children
Lauren Richmond, Scott Holtermann, and Kimberley Anderson, Kimberly’s Boutique Congratulations to Scott and Kim who are having a sibling for their 4 yr old daughter December 26. BTW I chatted with Zavah/Percy Street’s Michael Solomonov who tells me that he didn’t fare so well up against the mechanical bull that was at Percy Street last week during his beer week party. Congrats to he and his wife who in less than a month will become proud parents.
The Fuji Crew, now selling Justin Wine. Michelle Ranieri, Doug Crusler and Antonette Borromeo
Dino Minelli and Carri Nork Minelli, with Nicole Cashman and Nigel Richards. Christopher Nork was also spotted. He tells me it’s his last hurrah as wife Tiffany is about to give birth to their first child in NINE DAYS. So exciting!!
Kelly Gerrity and Francesco Logozzo . Kelly and Francesco are engaged to get married in November in Mexico. Neither of them have been there, but they are high school sweethearts and both grew up in Shenandoah Valley, but the one in Pennsylvania and not the one in Virgina. Kelly is director of marketing for Parx Casino and Francesco runs a family restaurant in his home town.
Allie Harcharek, Chef Jose Garces and Michaelangelo IlaganAbbey Alpert of Partner at The Flour Pot Cookies. Yum and practically the only thing I ate because I was shooting up the room.
The after party was at Marc Vetri’s newest sensational restaurant Amis, where the chefs, sponsors, and VIP’s celebrated in the street, on the sidewalk and in the restaurant. Above Erin, Addie and Melissa. It was the after party, everything was low key, I didn’t bring my notepad in, but did bring my camera and snapped a few shots just so you could see what goes on in case next year you want in on the after party. If you are a fan of chefs, good food and a lot of fun, the Great Chef’s after party is for you.
You will definitely see more than a few celebrities. Questlove was spinning and was killing it last night. That’s why the party was never ending. He moved from the 90’s and settled into the 80’s for a long time keeping the make shift dance floor packed. At one point the bartender, George, moved from behind the bar and boogied with Wanda Sykes for a bit. Then Wanda went up and hung out with Questlove for the remainder of the evening, but she did go to the rails and pose with fans until all were satisfied and then dancing took over the evening.
One interesting note, no men were allowed on the “stage” where Questlove was spinning. In this picture if you look closely you’ll see Wanda, my bud Jen Carroll and Monica Glass, Barbara Lynch, Boston, MA and Jill Rizen.
Questlove will be appearing July 4th on the Parkway and also at Voyeur for a pre-Fourth of July night gathering of some of Philly’s most well-known DJs: Diplo, Jazzy Jeff, and ?uestlove, plus SoCal’s J Rocc and New York’s DJ Spinna. Tickets go on sale today
Yesterday I attended the press conference for the July 4th Events. Check it out here and look for my write up of things tomorrow.
Anne Burrell the host of the Food Network show Secrets Of a Restaurant Chef, enjoys one of Tony Luke’s most delicious pork sandwiches. Right before she left she grabbed a couple to go to eat back at her hotel.
The party really rocked into the wee hours of the morning, but I left about 2AM. It was a lot of fun, and great to see so many old friends reunite and celebrate a very successful Great Chefs event. I can’t wait for next year, you should be there. Plus support all the Alex’s Lemonade. And prayer for a cure.