Great Chefs Event Benefitting Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation - Philadelphia, PA

On Tuesday, June 14, forty chefs from around the world moved into the Urban Outfitters Headquarters at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia, PA for The Great Chefs Event to benefit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF). The foundation was born in 2000 when cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott (1996-2004), age 4 at the time, opened a lemonade stand to raise money to help children with cancer.

The Great Chefs Event is run by The Vetri Foundation for Children. Philadelphia-based Chef Marc Vetri, shown above, launched the event six years ago as a result of his affiliation with ALSF.

This was my first time attending The Great Chefs Event; I was there working as a photographer for my journalist husband A.D. who was covering the show. We got to meet, hang out with and sample food from award-winning chefs whose knowledge and skills I have long admired on television, in magazines and in cookbooks. We ate everything from swordfish tacos from Colicchio & Sons to green tea cake from Chef Daniel Stern. The photos below show some of the highlights.

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I'll try almost anything twice, but there are some things that truly make me squeamish. Oysters are one of those things. However, this year I am on a mission to expand my seafood repertoire by eating and cooking a wider variety of it (hence, the fish cooking class I took and told you about a few posts ago).

So, when I saw the table full of lovely oysters I knew I had to go for it. It was wonderful! The gentlemen who made the oysters - Chefs Clark Frasier and Mark Gaier - are pioneers in the farm-to-table movement. They co-own several restaurants including Arrows in Maine where they grow more than 300 varieties of herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables, make their own cheese and cure their own meats and fish.

To commemorate the experience, Chef Frasier gave me a little lobster-shaped pin. So nice! I would love to dine at Arrows (or move in, it sounds heavenly) but for now I want to read their books, The Arrows Cookbook and their new one, Maine Classics.

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Chef Katsuya Fukushima had one of my favorite dishes of the evening - it was a spiced key lime crowned with a scallop and a fluff of cotton candy. Chef Fukushima instructed us to eat the scallop and cotton candy in one bite, and then suck on the lime as if we were doing shots of tequila. It was sweet and salty and spicy and scrumptious.

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Hello, Beautiful! That's Chef Anne Burrell on the left. We watch her Emmy-nominated show Secrets of a Restaurant Chef on the Food Network, and we learn something new with every epidode. Not only does Chef Burrell have excellent punk hair, but she rocks a pair of super-cool faux giraffe clogs.

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That's Chef Robert Aikens on the left with his crew from The Dandelion, a British-style pub and one of our favorite restaurants by Stephen Starr (go on a Sunday or Banker's Holiday and have the traditional roast dinner. Have an elderflower soda too). The hors d'oeuvres on the table in front of them are salmon paté. It was outstanding.

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That's my handsome husband A.D. in the photo with Chef Jennifer Carroll of Bravo's Top Chef and 10 Arts, Eric Ripert's restaurant in Philly. I normally don't fall into that mode of feeling like I know someone just because I see them on TV, but I found myself calling her "Jen" over and over like we were old friends. She is a serious competitor on TV of course, but very laid back and friendly in person. I had the best time taking her picture, and I made her laugh when I asked to photograph her rooster feather-festooned ponytail.

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That's me, Glamorosi, with 2010 Top Chef Winner Kevin Sbraga - he was at the show helping at Chef Michael Schwartz' station (see below). I've never eaten Chef Sbraga's food, but I may get a chance to try it soon when he opens his restaurant in Philly - read A.D.'s post in Philadelphia City Paper's Meal Ticket column for the scoop

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This dish is from Chef Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine Food and Drink in Miami, Florida. It is scrapple, a quail egg and greens on top of the most flavorful apple sauce I have ever tasted. Chef Schwartz told A.D. he is currently scoping out locations in Philly (rumor has it it may be the 600 N. Broad space shared by Marc Vetri and Stephen Starr, among others).

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When there is amazing food involved, chances are that our Italian Market neighbors - DiBruno Bros. House of Cheese - will be there. Their famously well-stocked shop sells gourmet goodies and ingredients from around the globe. Ask anyone, DiBruno's rules. That's Emilio Mignucci and Ian Peacock standing with the wine and cheese.

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The Great Chefs Event was one of the most memorable nights of my foodie life; I cannot wait for next year's show!

All Photos by Glamorosi and A.D. Amorosi

To read more posts about food, tea, fashion, gardening and events: http://Glamorosi.blogspot.com

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