Monday, May 03, 2010

Chef’s Night Out

May 3

Chefs’ Night Out, the annual party thrown by Bon Appétit magazine and the James Beard Foundation on the night before the chef and restaurant awards, was held last night at SD 26, the newer, younger, more downtown, hipper incarnation of the former San Domenico.

Odette Fada reportedly is leaving her job as executive chef there, but she hasn’t left yet, and she was downstairs in the kitchen, moving around and supervising things in the way you’d expect a chef to do when hundreds of people from the food world are milling around in your restaurant expecting you to feed them.

The picture at the beginning of this blog entry is SD 26’s Porchetta, which was being served in the downstairs kitchen. That picture was taken by my friend Yishane Lee, who has two small children at home and so doesn’t get out much.

She was my guest last night, because we both agree that, although she doesn’t get out much, she should get out once in awhile, and why not go out to a fabulous see-and-be-seen chef party?

Yishane took that picture right after publicist Sam Firer tore off the pig’s second ear to eat.

On the right you can see a wider shot, giving you the whole tableau.

Sam’s an immigrant from Brezhnev-era Russia, his excuse for his ability to eat anything.

I don’t see why he would need such an excuse. What's wrong with eating a pig’s ear?

I’m old and jaded. Tonight will be the twelfth time I’ve covered the James Beard Awards, and last night was my eighth or ninth Chefs’ Night Out. In some ways that’s nice. It means I don’t really have to go out of my way to shmooze and can mostly stand around with Yishane, drink red wine, eat pork, pizza and pasta and comment on other people’s clothing choices. It’s an agreeable way to spend an evening.

I did catch up with a lot of old friends and acquaintances, got a good basic Margarita recipe from Zarela Martinez (one part lime, one part triple sec, one and a half parts silver Tequila; quoth Zarela: “It’ll knock you on your ass”), and met a couple new people.

I briefly met Naomi Pomeroy of Beast in Portland, Ore., who's up for a Beard Award for best chef in the Northwest. And I had a really fun conversation with the disarmingly charming David Sax, who has just won a Beard Award for his book Save the Deli.

Those awards were handed out last night, and, as is the custom, many of the attendees then came to Chefs’ Night Out.

David was wearing the big gold-colored medallion that is a James Beard Award. The only places, ever, where it’s appropriate to wear such bling is Chefs’ Night Out and the Beard Award after parties that will happen later this evening.

Normally, David says he wears a big diamond-crusted Mercedes medallion, but I think he was joking.

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