Last Sunday, on the lawn of Culver Studios, the chef-tacular second annual L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade benefit for pediatric cancer research was held. Founded in 2000 by Alexandra "Alex" Scott (1996-2004), Alex's Lemonade Stand began when she was just a four-year-old neuroblastoma patient who decided to hold a charity lemonade stand in front of her home just outside Philadelphia. Alex raised $2000 in one day.
When informed that the money would be donated to her hospital for the study of her cancer, she admonished her parents, stating "all children want their tumors to go away." To date, Alex's Lemonade Stand has raised over $45 million for all childrens' cancer research.
Deeply moved by this story, Los Angeles chefs Suzanne Goin (AOC, Lucques, Tavern) and husband David Lentz (The Hungry Cat), plus Goin's business partner Caroline Styne, have collected an astonishing group of chefs, mixologists and vintners. Everyone came out to lend a hand, a grill and a copious amount of wine and whiskey to support the cause.
Laudable chef's such April Bloomfield (of The Spotted Pig and The Breslin in NYC) brought it on! Her comforting Ribollita was perfect as the Los Angeles winter began to break (I mean, it rained that morning). With his charming smile, Michael Tusk (of Quince in San Francisco) dished out charcoal-grilled pork sausage atop a faro and pumpkin salad with a pear mostarda. Neal Fraser (of BLD in Los Angeles) offered a much needed light bite of farro salad with sardo fiore, argula, pesto and lemon. The salad was so delicious, even children lined up to get a plate.
Celebrities Jimmy Kimmel, Timothy Olyphant, and Neil Patrick Harris shared the spotlight with the unofficial queen of the event Nancy Silverton. Matt Molina, who graciously shared the secrets behind Mozza's Pizza Bianca over at Slice this summer, got his hand dirty working the slaw that accompany their Ribs al forno. He still waved hi to his many fans and friends who stopped by to get a bite.
A silent auction offered enticing packages such a visit with Chris Bianco for dinner (and drinks!) at Serious Eats favorite Pizzeria Bianco in Phoenix.
One of the most thrilling moments was the live auction of a private dinner for 12 cooked by Suzanne Goin, Alice Waters, Nancy Silverton, Sherry Yard and Giada de Laurentiis with wine from Cold Heaven Cellars and Colgin Cellars and bottles of 2000 Dom Perignon. Closing at $61,000 you couldn't help but smile (jealously) at the generous donor.
For the rest of us, the cheerful chefs offered an unforgettable afternoon of food and wine. Check out the slide show and for the best bites of the day!