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Scenes From Sunday's L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade Benefit

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[Photos: Matthew Kang]

Despite gray clouds and early morning rain, L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade, the second annual all-star food tasting event which raises money for pediatric cancer research, rolled out without a hitch, sunshine and all. The anticipated gaggle of culinary elite set up shop at Culver Studios beneath tents (as a precautionary against more rain), galoshes were the footwear of choice (there were some excessively muddy spots of ground), and Providence chef and owner Michael Cimarusti showed up rocking a new furry face (photo above).

While only in its second year, L.A. Loves Alex's Lemonade, organized by Suzanne Goin (AOC, Lucques, Tavern) and husband David Lentz (The Hungry Cat), plus Goin's business partner Caroline Styne, outshines every other single day Los Angeles food event with regard to its caliber of participating chefs. Local participants included Nancy Silverton and Matt Molina (Mozza), Michael Cimarusti (Providence), Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal, Son of a Gun), a representative from the kitchen of Giada De Laurentiis (she was very much not present), Danny Elmaleh (sbe), Neal Fraser (BLD), Tony Keene (The London), Zoe Nathan (Huckleberry), Zach Pollack and Steve Samson (Sotto), and a zillion more high profile out-of-towners. April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig, NYC) served a hearty and weather appropriate Ribollita, Gabrielle Hamilton (Prune, NYC) plated crispy Valdeon toasts topped with shaved fennel, radish, and a celery salad (this would have been even better with some bone marrow...), and Michael Tusk (Quince, SF) offered a grilled pork sausage with farro, pumpkin and pear mostarda. However, perhaps the most lauded plate of the day came from Chicago chefs Paul Kahan (Blackbird, Avec, The Publican, Big Star) and Brian Huston (The Publican): pork belly with fennel and a cooling raita wrapped in fresh, hot, grilled flatbread. Kahan and Huston's stand was perpetually empty because plates disappeared the second they hit the table.

If there's but one shmancy food event to attend, this is it. Tickets cost $175 but were well worth the splurge as far as both food and drink. [EaterWire]

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