Suzanne Goin with Laura Dern
Everybody wins at L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, Suzanne Goin, David Lentz, and Caroline Styne’s annual chef’s cookout and fundraiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the non-profit battling against childhood cancer. From the first year, the benefit proved itself as one of L.A.’s paramount food events, standing in as a strong replacement for Wolfgang Puck’s bygone Meals on Wheels benefit, offering a mission guests can feel great about supporting, alongside the added blessing of remarkable chefs from L.A. (like Jon Shook, Neal Fraser, Michael Cimarusti, Michael Voltaggio, Nancy Silverton) and across the nation (April Bloomfield, Marc Vetri, Jonathan Waxman, Michael Tusk, Chris Bianco), as well as thrilling celebrity sightings, wine, cocktails, and beer. When a happening is organized by a chef like Goin, you can expect the best, and her assembled village prepared excellent eats and drinks all around with a surfeit of good vibes, including a titanic fried chicken leg from Animal, “culo de pollo” from Sotto, and a preview of Cimarusti’s rabidly anticipated Connie & Ted’s. Come take a peek at what the crowd of Hollywood heavies sampled on Saturday, as Goin, Lentz, and Styne rallied forces and raised ammo for a cause worth fighting for.
Michael Voltaggio with chef de cuisine Cole Dickinson.
Chicken Oysters with oyster leaf and buttermilk ranch yogurt.
Made melt-in-the-mouth sandwiches like this one with Nutella and banana and a grilled cheese with bacon and pesto.
Hung out at Crhis Bianco’s Pizzeria Bianco until it was time for him to handle his MC duties.
Prepared porchetta with a chili rub.
Which found their way into sandwiches from Bruce Kalman, whose introducing a completely new menu at the West Hollywood restaurant this week.
Michael Cimarusti’s team made Ipswich clam sandwiches with spicy slaw on etheral brioche. While enjoying Sierra’s Torpedo Ale in a can, the Providence chef revealed that they’re expecting Connie & Ted’s, his ode to a New England seafood shack, to open this January.
Chef Michael Tusk welcomed the crowd with a buttery eggplant and tomato fagotelli with burrata and fino verde basil.
The New Orleans chef wins the blue ribbon for best t-shirt, his self-designed “Pig-Slayer” homage to Heavy Metal, with a hog branded “DL.”
Brought some of his Cajun sausage and boudin blanc, served atop black-eyed pea salad.
Brought the crowd back to their college days, with an ice luge flowing with aged Brugal rum.
Performed a set before the auction began.
Chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.
Fried chicken leg with crema and heirloom carrot “macho” sauce. Giving it as good as he gets it
, Shook joked to Grub Street, “we got this from Chick-Fil-A.” Some of the juiciest, crispest fried chicken we’ve had in L.A., the guys could surpass quickly the chain with their own finger-lickin’ good franchise.
Our favorite sighting of the day, we asked O’Heir if the Parks & Rec gang was ever going to show his character, Jerry, the respect he deserves. “Not anytime soon,” he replied. “I think they’re even going to hog-tie me next week.”
April Bloomfield cooled the hot day down with her gazpacho served along with pork rillette.
Neal Fraser made this incredible-looking avocado soup with razor clams and horseradish served inside of a pastic egg and topped with smoked trout roe.
The Alla Spina crew offered mortadella sausage with spicy pickles and cabbage.
Joseph Manzare offered sushi with tequila, chilies, and Mexican sea salt.
Posed for the cameras together, with Dern teasting, “never do an interview with someone you went to fourth grade with.”
Short rib sliders with two ricottas, cherry tomatoes, and black olives.
Goin’s husband David Lentz offered fruites of the sea, with uni shooters in tequila, oysters, and shrimp.
Truffled pig cheek and sweetbread croquette cake with celery root salad from San Francisco’s Jonathan Sundstrom.
Russell Moore’s crew from Oakland cooked walnut kofte kebabw ith carrot salad and chilies.
Octopus with shelling beans and caviar.
Pork and lamb belly sausage with fried egg salsa verde and queso fresco.
Prepared bacon and caramels on a stick and truffles paried with Rogue’s chocolate stout.