Last night was the second annual Celebrate the Market benefit dinner, held at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica to benefit the Southland Farmers' Market Assn. Nineteen prominent local chefs set up food stations. Midway through the polite noshing, farmer John Tenerelli of Tenerelli Orchards and Chef Josie Le Balch of Josie Restaurant were both honored; cookbook authors Evan Kleiman and Anne Willan presented. It was a rather staid affair, given the nature of auctions and hotel ballrooms. But the company (Spago pastry chef Sherry Yard and her new husband helmed a dessert table) and the food were terrific.
At right was the most elaborate: a shrimp and oyster cocktail shooter from Melisse chef Josiah Citrin. Through the gleaming funnel went Japanese green tomato water, into individual glass cups rimmed with celery salt. Inside the cups? Shrimp and Luna oysters from Carlsbad Aquafarm, Tabasco pearls, cucumber granita. The little skewers -- the "chaser" to the shooter -- were tiny profiteroles filled with avocado mousse. (Citrin is not known for his minimalism.) The 18 stations that followed, which included an amazing corn flan from Grace chef Neal Fraser and a confit of pork belly appetizer by former Leatherby's Cafe Rouge chef Mark Gold -- set to open Eva soon in Sherman Oaks -- were pretty fun too. Although not as much fun as crashing the hotel pool afterward would have been. Maybe they could auction that next year...
-- Amy Scattergood
Photo by Amy Scattergood