I was at Plate by Plate, Project by Project‘s annual tasting benefit, last night. I was privileged enough to get early access, to watch as the chefs plated their dishes. This is my favorite part, the calm before the storm, when I can watch as chefs are busy, but still have the time to have little interactions with one another. Having been behind the tables before, I loved seeing a member of Blue Smoke hand a plate over to the guys working at Geisha. The chef of Geisha happily shared his dishes with the crew of Blue Smoke. The smiles and quick exchange are short, as they all rush back to work, but these moments are priceless. It warms my heart because food is about sharing.

Xie Xie table En Japanese Brasserie home-made tofu

When it was time to begin, Sandra Endo (reporter, CNN) introduced Connie Chung. Pictures were snapped… but I didn’t see most of the other celebrities that were supposed to be there.

Connie Chung 2

More importantly, 25 restaurants of notable recognition (Morimoto, One if By Land Two if By Sea, En Japanese Brasserie, etc.) were serving up plates of food, often more than one dish. The winner of the night for me, and most of the people I spoke to, was the Black Truffle Tuna Sandwich by Chef Don Pham of Geisha Restaurant 33 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10021. The “bread” of the sandwich is made with rice and sesame coated seaweed, cut into triangles. The filling is diced blue fin tuna, avocado, and micro greens. None of us tasted any truffle but loved it as is. They serve this at the restaurant so you can go have it too!

Sushi Chef Don Pham

Second place was the Lobster Bisque served with a warm Gougere, by Chef Florian Hugo of Brasserie Cognac 1740 Broadway, New York, NY 10019. It was served nice and hot, rich but not heavy.

Cognac Brasserie

Third place goes to the nice slice of rare duck served by L’ecole at The French Culinary Institute 462 Broadway, New York, NY 10013.

L'ecole Duck

My favorite dessert was the Black Sesame Soy Custard by Chef Michelle Park of Kyotofu 705 Ninth Avenue, New York, NY 10019. It’s similar to do fu hwa, but flavored with black sesame and so lightly sweetened, perfectly smooth and light enough to eat a whole tub of.

Let’s just say, you may see some of these chefs again on FoodMayhem. A few have agreed to give us some lessons!

It’s hard not to compare this to Le Fooding D’Amour, another charity event I went to recently. This one costs $150 for general admission ($125 if you buy it early enough or buy in groups of 6 or more) so it’s clearly way more expensive. On the flip side, no one ever had to wait for any food at any of the tables. You could eat as many pieces as you wanted and really stuff yourself silly. There was also tons of alcohol at this event so if you’re a drinker, you could have had drank your money’s worth easily. Le Fooding was $30 but that didn’t include drinks (which I think were $12 each) and the line after line after line just isn’t fun. I’m never going to that one again. For $125-$150, I’d really rather sit down in a restaurant and not walk around as I ate, but the point is, this is a charity event, and if you want to go to some, this is one of the better ones.

posted by jessica at 12:14 PM Filed under Events. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.