Contributor Lindsey popped into last Friday's Celebrity Chef Challenge to benefit the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, check out her recap below!
Last Friday the capital region’s celebrity chefs put their menu where their mouth is for the Dish It Out Gourmet Challenge at the Saratoga City Center. This first annual event benefitting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (New York Branch: Capital Region Office) brought together some the area’s best chefs, serving up unique dishes all hopeful that they would be going home with a people’s choice award.
Check out all the photos from photographer Daniel Chrysler above!
Guests upon arrival were given three tokens to distribute amongst their favorite dishes and at the end of the night awards for best appetizer, entree and dessert would be based on tokens collected. With chefs lining the walls it was hard to know where to start! For most, it was one of three bars set up with wine donated by DeCrescente Distributers or the tasting station of High Rock Distillery spirits. With drink in hand it was time to try some tasty tapas! Chef Fabrizio Bazzini of Chianti II Ristorante impressed with his braised lamb neck, Sardinian fregula and braised black eyed peas topped with house made smoked ricotta cheese and Chef Frank Tardio of Angelo’s Tavolo proved not all pasta is the same with his “casunzei” beet pasta filled with burrata and topped with basil pea pesto and poppy seed béchamel. Judges Michelle Riggi, Ashley Dingeman and Dave Tarella had their work cut out for them deciding between these high caliber dishes. Celebrity guests in attendance worked the room to try and gain support for their chef friends and secure some tokens.
Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner encouraged guests to try Chef Scott Ringwood’s (Lake Ridge Restaurant) maple glazed duck confit, and Mayor Joanne Yepsen herded guests to Chef Danny Petrosino’s station (Osteria Danny) to sample eggplant. Angelo Calbone, Jim Tedisco, Heidi Kelly, Marci Frasier, Mark Mulholland, Scott Johnson, Tom Durkin and Liz Bishop could be spotted mingling in their black celeb aprons. Full from sampling, guest’s attention moved to Sam Palazzole and Ed Suk of the NCMEC/NY, listening to their heart felt speeches on the primary goal of the organization, protecting our children. As the speakers concluded, a spirited live auction began, including a Saratoga Race Track package by the Parting Glass restaurant, a Mazzone Hospitality package, and a dinner cooked in your home for 10 by Sperry’s Chef Brian Bowden that was won by non-other than competitor chef AJ Jayapal, because even chefs need a night off! If you were not a live auction item winner there was still time to get in for the silent auction or to grab a dessert! Seasonal bites included a pumpkin tart on baklava crust and Chef Vivian Brammer of Saratoga National’s to die for “apple split”.
The NCMEC advisory board and planning committee did a fantastic job coordinating this event and fundraising for a great cause with help from sponsors Concord Pools and Spa, Saratoga Builders and others. Now to start planning the 2nd annual!