LA Weekly food critic Jonathan Gold moderated Tuesday night's forum, "Are Celebrity Chefs Good For Food?" where some of Los Angeles' best chefs gathered around to talk about their talent and tenacity. The all-star line up featured Nancy Silverton (Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza), Ilan Hall (The Gorbals), Ludovic Lefebvre (LudoBites), and Susan Feniger (Border Grill, Ciudad, STREET). Though the event sold out fairly quickly, perhaps 100 seats remained vacant in the 650-seat Cotsen Auditorium at the Skirball Cultural Center on Los Angeles' north side. Zocalo Public Square organized the event.
"This is the city of celebrity and the city of chefs, so it makes sense that the celebrity chef was born here," said Gold. Feniger was introduced as the first real Food Network Star; Silverton as the mother of the artisanal bread movement, Lefebvre as Time magazine's Chef of the future, and Ilan Hall as Top Chef season two's winner. Inevitably, the name Wolfgang Puck was thrown about; all agreed that Puck was America's first celebrity chef and that he had the chops to back up his charisma.