Inside The James Beard Foundation’s 2018 Chefs & Champagne Benefit
More than 900 culinary connoisseurs, farm-to-table foodies, New York influencers, and a host of sponsors came out in full force to celebrate Padma Lakshmi, this year’s James Beard Foundation Chefs & Champagne guest of honor.
The host and executive producer of Bravo’s James Beard Award-winning and Emmy awarding-winning Top Chef set the tone with her passion for food, family, feminism, and the work that the JBF does to implement a better food system. Over 35 chefs from around the country created delectable dishes for the celebration at the Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack, which also featured flowing Champagne Boizel, and wines and ciders fromWölffer Estate Vineyard.
“This year’s summer fundraiser had the greatest impact yet,” said Clare Reichenbach, CEO of the James Beard Foundation. “The annual event exemplifies our continued commitment to create exceptional experiences all in support of the Foundation’s mission to change the world through food. It was fantastic to honor Padma Lakshmi, and to recognize her inspiring contributions to the culinary community. We are also hugely grateful to all the amazing chefs and attendees who raised funds in support of the Foundation’s programs to create a better food world.”
JBF Chefs & Champagne is considered the East End’s premier culinary summertime event. In addition to offering a unique and fun tasting experience for guests, the event embodies JBF’s yearlong RISE celebration to honor chefs and practices that are creating a more equitable food world.
A silent auction, including one-of-a-kind dining experiences, wines and spirits, cookware, and culinary travel packages, raised over $100,000 to help support JBF’s mission, scholarship, education and JBF Impact Programs, which include the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, Women in Entrepreneurial Leadership, and Smart Catch. To complement these efforts, this year’s chef lineup included five JBF Boot Camp alumni; and of the more than 35 participating chefs, 20 were women.
Also new this year, in an effort to lead industry efforts, all seafood served at the event was sustainable. Additionally, JBF partnered with Rethink Food NYC, a food rescue non-profit, to transform excess food from the event into ready-to-eat meals for New York’s food insecure populations.
Carrying on its long tradition of supporting culinary education, JBF was proud to announce Franco Fugel as the recipient of the 2018 Christian Wölffer Scholarship. Established in 2006, the scholarship assists students in their study of food and wine. As of July 2018, nearly $8 million has been awarded to over 2,000 recipients through the JBF Scholarships program.