By Elissa Oblath
Among the many amazing events hosted by our passionate supporters to benefit our foundation during 2014, the June 8th Cooking for a Cure stands out as the tastiest. Plan Check Bar + Kitchen graciously offered a wonderful setting and Executive Chef Ernesto Uchimira welcomed a dazzling array of fellow chefs to serve up delicious bites. Joining chef Ernesto were “Top Chef” champ Michael Voltaggio, chef Josef Centeno of Bäco Mercat & Bar Ama fame, award-winning BierBeisl Chef/Owner Bernhard Mairinger, Waterloo & City chef and a food TV rising star Brendan Collins and James Beard-nominated culinary masters Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.
Held to benefit pancreatic cancer research, with an emphasis on the emotional support provided by the Hirshberg Foundation’s relationship to the Simms-Mann Center at UCLA, the event raised over $17,000. The event board, a passionate group of friends including Jeff Price, Terry Heller, Joey Leff, Jessica Sorgini and Gay Harwin, came together to support a friend currently in treatment.
From Voltaggio’s delicate asparagus with horseradish powder and caviar to Shook & Dotolo’s crispy-skinned and juicy smoked chicken leg to Uchimura’s creamy cheesy grits topped with the perfect egg and fresh green peas, there was something for everyone. Centeno brought a burrito twist on his signature bäco with pork asada and beef albondigas with a creamy tomato sauce and just the right heat. Collins’ veal tongue with uni on a dark toast topped with apricots and a porcini was a crowd favorite for its play on textures and strong flavors. Mairinger’s sous chef came prepared with his purple apron to serve up seared duck breast appropriately paired with a purple cabbage salad. With the windows open and a summer breeze, the intimate afternoon allowed participants to mingle with chefs and friends while supporting pancreatic cancer. A Tito’s Vodka, watermelon and mint passed punch was available as well as specialty jalapeno-infused cocktail by Livigni + Moix and Matthew Biancaniello’s famous Breeder’s Cup. To say the afternoon was a culinary adventure is to say the least! But to think that it all benefited pancreatic cancer patients was the most delicious part of it all.