With their assemblies of local restaurants, wine tastings and silent auctions, the charity food event has become Los Angeles’ weekly county fair. This weekend, it was the 21st Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles honoring the Bros. Drago and benefiting the National Kidney Foundation of Southern California. And what did we learn? Well…
1. Michael Cimarusti and Craig Min are ready to open their LA Mill Coffee Boutique — but the LA employment pool hasn’t been ready for them. "The final inspections are this week, but I don’t have anyone in the kitchen," says Cimarusti. "We’ve received a lot of resumes, but they haven’t had the skills we’ve been looking for." To be clear, LaMill will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a focus on simple foods like soups and paninis as well as dessert tasting menus and, of course, coffee. Think you’ve got the right stuff? Email Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The hope is to open Susan Feniger’s new restaurant in May, or thereabouts. Also! Name of said restaurant will be Street and the focus is cross-cultural street food. (I didn’t learn the name or focus from anyone at the event — other sources, can’t reveal, blah blah.)
3. You want to find the best wine at any charity event? Dan Fredman’s your man. A familiar sight at many of these shindigs, Fredman does PR and marketing for a bunch of small wineries (as well as Barrel Malibu) and whatever he decides to bring doesn’t disappoint. Often, he can also be prevailed upon to uncork a little something something hiding behind the table.
4. Ignore silent auctions at your peril. Maybe it’s because LA sees so many of them, but you can find some sweet bargains. I’ve been meaning to get a Zojirushi rice cooker and won this one for $90. And it all went to the NKFSC.
5. VIP’s a gyp. Here, the VIP section was comprised of a Jack Daniels/Maker’s Mark station and one for cigars. For this and the privilege of entering a half-hour earlier, the charge is an extra $75. Not picking on the NKFSC — other well-meaning charities have had similar VIP sections tinged with afterthought — but with a new county fair every week, maybe there’s something else to be done to lure the well-heeled?