Chefs from Las Vegas got their due last night when the James Beard Foundation hosted a gala dinner and auction at the Four Seasons in New York City, long considered the most anticipated culinary event of the season. This year, the gala celebrated French cuisine and brought together five culinary legends in a first-ever collaboration. The evening featured a multi-course dinner paired with fine French wines and an extraordinary live and silent auction of once-in-a-lifetime food, wine and travel packages.
Dinner was created by James Beard Foundation award winner Alain Ducasse, who has Alain Ducasse au Plaza Athénée in Paris, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis New York and Benoit in New York City and MiX at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas; James Beard Foundation award winner François Payard, who has François Payard Bakery and François Chocolate Bar in New York City and Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas; James Beard Foundation award winner Joël Robuchon of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in Paris, Las Vegas and New York City as well as Joël Robuchon at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas; James Beard Foundation nominee Guy Savoy, who has Restaurant Guy Savoy in Paris, Las Vegas and Singapore; and James Beard Foundation award winner Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean Georges in New York City and Las Vegas and Prime Steakhouse at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Wines were paired by James Beard Foundation award winner Bernard Sun, the wine director of Jean-George Restaurant Group in New York City.
The evening started with a reception by Larry Finn and Pecko Zantilaveevan of the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City. The VIP experience included an exclusive reception in the kitchen of the Four Seasons Restaurant with the evening’s chefs, premier seating at the event and a VIP gift bag.
During the live auction, guests bid on sumptuous packages, including a power lunch at Chez Panisse with Alice Waters and Michael Pollan, an Ultimate surf ‘n’ turf dinner for 50 with David Chang and Eric Ripert, an exclusive fried chicken night for 40 guests at Locanda Verde, courtesy of James Beard Foundation award winning chef Andrew Carmellini; and dinner with two “Top Chef Masters” Marcus Samuelsson and celebrated pan-Asian chef Susur Lee.