The James Beard Foundation’s Taste America stopped in Philadelphia this past weekend. The five-weekend traveling national food festival will visit nine other cities from September 20th through October 19th. Co- hosted by chef Patrick Feury (above, left) of Berwyn’s Nectar, Carla Hall of ABC’s The Chew (above, right) and David Katz of Creekstone Farms Philadelphia (not pictured), the event consisted of a legacy chef VIP dinner as well as a general admission food festival featuring local chefs.
The dinner was prepared by the protégés of the Legacy Chefs. Below, from left: Matthew Ridgway of Rosemont, N.J.’s The Pass, who is the protégé of Jean-Marie Lacroix of Brûlée Catering, Susanna Foo and her protégé Anne Coll of Meritage, Pierre Calmels of Bibou (who is the protégé of George Pierre, who couldn’t make the event); other legacy chefs included James Beard award winners Steve Poses of Frog Commissary Catering and Judy Wicks, author and founder of White Dog Café.
Below: The VIP dinner with the legacies consisted of four courses and hors d’oeuvres, starting with Oysters XO from Michael Solomonov (Zahav), then a delicious smoked scallop dish by chef Terence Feury of Tavro 13, hamachi crudo by Anne Coll of Meritage, char savarin by Pierre Calmels of Bibou, suckling pig leg civet by Matthew Ridgway of the Pass, and finally for dessert a lemon ginger tart prepared by Carla Hall.
During the dinner, one lucky diner had a “golden ticket” stashed under their chair. Below, from left: James Bears representative Lori Marshall with Marty and Stacey Moyers. Stacey found the “Delta boarding pass to anywhere for two” under her seat. The Moyers bought their legacy dinner tickets through Chase Sapphire, which was one of the sponsors of the dinner. It was a mutual birthday present to each other, and I’d hazard a guess that it was a memorable dining experience.
Below, from left: Philanthropist Dana Spain (who told me her restaurant Sophia’s on East Passyunk, would open again soon under a different concept), Steve Rockman, Sophie Sabet and Mina Sabet.
Below: Amy Edelman of Night Kitchen Bakery created this tasty treat for the evening.
Below: Christine Graf from the restaurant Oysters XO, shucks an oyster for food writer Rick Nichols.
Below: Alison Bolegnese and Chris Hall told me their favorite dish from the cocktail party was pheasant agnolotti prepared by chef Joe Cicala of Le Virtu. I had it, too, and it was delicious. He tells me it’s a new item on his fall menu.
Below: Victor and Sally Friedman were excited to experience the legacy dinner.
Below, from right: Bibou’s Pierre Calmels (last week Pierre and wife Charlotte Calmels announced they were opening their second restaurant, Le Chéri, at The Art Alliance) chef Christopher Kearse of Passyunk Avenue’s Will (his dish was kurobuta pork cheek with buttermilk polenta, glazed salsify and toasted honey jus) and Rick Nichols.
During the dessert hour, 6ABCs Monica Malpass and Barry Slossberg of Slossberg Auction House, conducted the live auction. A trip for two to sit at the chef’s table on The Chew sold for $600.
Speaking of dessert, from right: Ozzie Perez (Ozzie Perez Salon) and Ryan Petros enjoy white nectarine and ginger popsicles from Jeanne Chang of the Lil’ Pop Shop.
Below: Judy Wicks and Craig Johnson open up the dance floor.
Before I knew it the legendary James Beard Taste of America night was over, and Lauren Hunter, Angela Conti, Erica Noles and Denise Lukasik (below, from left) were on their way out with their denim gift bags, which included lots of fun stuff like Rachael Ray’s magazine, and a book by chef Steve Poses.