The flavors of France heralded the 19th Annual Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation’s “Taste for a Cure” at the Beverly Wilshire.
The evening of food and wine feted Sony Pictures Television President Steve Mosko with the Gil Nickel Humanitarian Award, named in memory of JCCF supporter Gil Nickel, proprietor of Napa Valley’s Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce wineries, who lost a courageous battle against melanoma in 2003; he was introduced by “Community” star Joel McHale.
Joe Cohen, Jon Holman, Larry Maguire, Gary Newman, Jay Sures and Dana Walden co-chaired the evening, which raised more than $700,000 was raised for cancer research.
“Glee” star Lea Michele welcomed the more than 450 guests who had earlier savored the very best of French wines and delicacies. Fourteen of France’s most prestigious wineries shared their premiere vintages at the pre-show gourmet food and wine tasting reception. Six regions of France: Loire Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Rhone, Provence and Champagne were featured, showcasing vintages including: Château Beaulieu, Château de la Clapière, Château Paveil de Luze, Château Plince, Château Puynormond, Château Suduiraut, Domaine de Cristia, Domaine Drouhin Vaudon, Domaine du Vieux Lazaret, Domaine Georges Brunet, Domaine Reverdy-Ducroux, Jean-Claude Boisset, Joseph Drouhin and Lanson Champagne. Award-winning Napa Valley wineries and long-time event supporters Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel, Dolce and EnRoute served as honorary wine partners.
Beverly Wilshire Hotel’s Executive Chef Gilles Arzur, a native of Brittany, led the list of award-winning chefs bringing their finely honed talents to the evening’s gastronomic portion, featuring a palate of gourmet edibles from the delicate to the hearty. Highlights included: Royale Sea-Bream and Seafood Provencale; Artichoke and Celeriac Tartlets, Seared Duck Breast and Hazelnut Vinaigrette; Mussel Beignets in a spicy Lemon Sauce and St. Emillion Braised Eel Ragut with Spring Vegetables. Among those offering their signature selections in addition to Arzur were: Christian Andre Monchatre, Executive Chef, The Pacific Union Club, San Francisco; Pascal Frapech, Executive Chef and owner/founder of PF Culinary Services and Vittorio Lucariello, Executive Sous Chef, Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Adding to the entertainment portion of the evening, “How I Met Your Mother’s” Alyson Hannigan introduced actor/comedian Tom Papa, whose stand-up routine was greeted with laughs and applause. A show-stopper was “Glee’s” Darren Criss who belted out hits like “Crazy Love” and “Let It Be.” Criss then asked the audience if someone would donate to the cause to hear his “Glee” co-star Lea Michele perform a song with him. Co-Chair Dana Walden bid $5,000 to hear Darren and Lea sing a heartfelt rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.”