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James Beard Celebrates LA Chefs, Honors Colicchio

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For almost 20 years, the James Beard Foundation has hosted the Chefs & Champagne fundraiser in the Hamptons, a swank party for top chefs to feed the rich and hungry, with one chef being honored for their culinary contributions to the local scene. The good news: This year they're bringing the party to Los Angeles "to showcase the extraordinary and diverse culinary talents." The odd news: They couldn't think of a "more fitting" guest of honor than Tom Colicchio.

Now, we're fans of Colicchio, we like the Craft, we heart Top Chef, but if the JBF is going to come out and celebrate LA's local chefs, shouldn't the guest of honor be someone, you know, more local? We're not the only ones who noticed: There are rumblings out there in restaurantland, and even Colicchio says he's completely honored to be honored, but it might have been more appropriate to pick someone from LA. But who's going to turn down a party? In an odd twist, Wolfgang Puck will be the honoree in the Hamptons in July.

There's still a pretty stellar lineup of local chefs participating in the tasting event, and as the name suggest, lots of Champagne. The event takes place on May 4 on Melrose Place. Click here for ticket info.

Chefs & Champagne Los Angeles participating chefs include:

Matthew Accarrino, Craft Los Angeles
Gino Angelini, Angelini Osteria
Govind Armstrong, Table 8
Octavio Becerra, Palate Food and Wine
James Boyce, Studio at Montage Laguna Beach
Thomas Boyce, Spago Beverly Hills
Kristy Choo, Jin Patisserie
Michael Cimarusti, Providence
Josiah Citrin, Mélisse
Neal Fraser, Grace Restaurant
Hiroyuki Fujita, Kumo
Eric Greenspan, The Foundry on Melrose
Zov Karamardian, Zov’s Bistro
David LeFevre and Pastry Chef John Park, Water Grill
David Lentz, The Hungry Cat
Bruno Lopez, Hotel Bel-Air
Walter Manzke, Bastide
Dennis Mejia, Republic
David Myers, Sona
Ramon Perez, Boule
Michel Richard, Citrus at Social
Kristi Ritchey, Murano
Steven A. Rojas and Johnny Zepeda, Saddle Peak Lodge
Marin Santos, Dolce Enoteca e Ristorante
Bijan Shokatfard, Geoffrey's Malibu
Kerry Simon, Simon LA at Sofitel
Joachim Splichal, Paperfish
Mike Stern, Michael's
Jason Travi and Miho Travi, Fraiche