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The Crowd: And the winner for Best Entree is ...

May 15, 2013|By B.W. Cook
  • Mary Tu and Mel Rogers celebrate at the 2013 PBS SoCal gala.
Mary Tu and Mel Rogers celebrate at the 2013 PBS SoCal gala. (Handout, Daily…)

It is the Oscar celebration for the culinary world.

Known as the Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner, an annual tribute to the culinary arts named for the late famous American chef was presented May 1 in Costa Mesa at the incomparable AnQi by Crustacean.

Some 170 guests came together under the auspices of Master Chef Helene An and her daughter, the indefatigable Elizabeth An, to experience a once-in-a-lifetime six-course menu created by international culinary star and guest chef for the evening Daniel Rose. For those in the know, Rose, an American-born son of the great city of Chicago, is today considered the toast of Paris as owner of the wildly popular Spring Restaurant.

He opened his bistro in 2006 with a mere 16 seats following a succession of jobs working under some of the great chefs of France and finally spending what Rose refers to as a "life-changing year" in Panajachel, Guatemala, where he ran a culinary team and elevated his career skills to head chef. Today, Spring occupies a much larger space by the Louvre, and Rose has a waiting list that stretches out for some five months.

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He came to Costa Mesa to cook for Orange County VIPs, including Betty and S.L. Huang, Dee and Larry Higby, Heather and Terry Dubrow, Hal and Joni Brice, Christina and Bill Lyon, and Marsha and Darrel Anderson. The AnQi dining room was transformed from its elegant Asian palette to a slightly more Parisian motif as society hostess Elizabeth An covered her tables in champagne-colored silk linens and adorned the dining room with verdant white hydrangeas and a profusion of blush colored roses.

Wait staff served Parisian "Kiss" cocktails, an elixir combining Grey Goose Cherry Noir and Champagne St. Germain. Chef Rose worked with chef de cuisine Ron Lee and Master Chef Helene An with support from donor sponsors, including Meyer Natural Foods, Santa Monica Seafood, Melissa's World Variety Produce, Bello Family Vineyards and others, to create a spectacular James Beard dinner.

Proceeds from the event, in part, will support the culinary educational programs of the James Beard Foundation, headquartered in the James Beard House in New York City's Greenwich Village.

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PBS SoCal's 'A Lifetime of Learning'

The Orange County celebrity crowd turned out in force in support of PBS SoCal's 2013 "A Lifetime of Learning" Gala. More than 400 patrons came together April 27 in the Atlantic Aviation Hangar adjacent to the John Wayne Airport.

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