Award Winning Chefs and Mixologists Wine and Dine in Final Push for Maryland Marriage Equality

by HRC Staff

DC’s top chefs to dish up gourmet cuisine for a good cause

WASHINGTON– Nowhere will you find more award winning chefs than at Chefs for Equality, an evening of food, cocktails, fashion, music and an extraordinary auction supporting a vote for marriage equality in Maryland. The event features 23 award winning area chefs, including four James Beard Award winners, and three award winning mixologists. The area’s top restaurants are represented at the star-studded evening which will raise critical funds and awareness just two weeks before voters decide the fate of marriage equality in Maryland. A list of the participating chefs and mixologists and the awards they’ve won is below.

The evening, hosted by prominent food columnist and cookbook author David Hagedorn and the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, will be emceed by fashion icon and television personality Tim Gunn. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who signed marriage equality into law earlier this year, is the featured guest. Music is provided by DJ Shea Van Horn.

“This is an unprecedented show of support by the Washington area’s best chefs for marriage equality in Maryland,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.

"I'm honored to be part of HRC's Chefs for Equality event as we work to protect marriage equality at the ballot box in Maryland," said Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley. "As Marylanders VOTE FOR QUESTION 6 on Election Day, Maryland will become the first state in the nation to successfully defend marriage equality at the ballot box, but we cannot do it without the hard work and support of so many including the Human Rights Campaign."

Marriage equality is an important issue to me personally,” said David Hagedorn. “I’m thrilled to bring together leaders of the culinary community for a very special night to uphold Maryland’s law giving all its citizens the right to marry the one they love.”

Personal Chef tables are available for auction where award-winning chefs will work in pairs to cook five-course menus for tables of eight. These duos include: Spike Gjerde (Woodberry Kitchen) and Erik Bruner-Yang (Toki Underground); Cathal Armstrong (Restaurant Eve) and RJ Cooper (Rogue24); Michel Richard (Central) and Bryan Voltaggio (Volt); Vikram Sunderam (Rasika) and Nicholas Stefanelli (Bibiana); Ris Lacoste (Ris) and Jamie Leeds (Hank’s Oyster Bar); Enzo Fargione (Elisir) and Peter Smith (PS7s); Victor Albisu (Taco Bamba) and Amy Brandwein (Chef AmyB); Nora Pouillon and Todd Woods (Restaurant Nora) with Haidar Karoum (Estadio/Proof); and Cedric Maupillier (Mintwood Place) and Devin Bozkaya (Westend Bistro). A top-flight sommelier will offer each Personal Chef table an exclusive wine pairing.

Attendees will be greeted by a bevvy of beverage options from acclaimed area mixologists, including Derek Brown of The Columbia Room, Gina Chersevani of Eddy Bar, John Harris of Firefly, Rachel Sergi of Jack Rose and Todd Thrasher of TNT. Guests will also enjoy creative tasting stations from 25 DC area restaurants, including BLT Steak, Cork Wine Bar, Estadio, Kaz Sushi Bistro, Wit and Wisdom, Cedar and Pearl Dive Oyster Bar.

Christopher Vazquez and Rick Davis of Amaryllis Floral + Event Design generously donated their services to design the entire event, whose theme revolves around the concept of two people joining together. Wedding-worthy fashions, donated for auction by clothiers such as Michael Andrews Bespoke and Carine’s Bridal Atelier, will be modeled as tableaux vivants throughout the event. The areas top pastry chefs will offer as dessert that evening cutting from elaborately designed wedding cakes.

An after-party will be held at Graffiato Restaurant at 10 p.m., featuring small plates by Mike Isabella, Scott Drewno of The Source and Teddy Folkman of Granville Moore's, as well as cocktails from top mixologists, including Jon Arroyo of Founding Farmers, Ari Wilder from Fujimar, Michael Searles from Virtue Feed and Grain and Gina Chesevani of Eddy Bar. Tickets for the after-party are $50.

Participating Chefs

  • Victor Albisu, Taco Bamba
  • José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup           ♦ JBF Winner 2003: Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic; Rammy 2011 Winner: Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award; Zagat 2012: Best Washington, DC Food Restaurants Zagat 2012: Best Washington, DC Food Restaurants
  • Sebastien Archambault and Peter Brett, Blue Duck Tavern  ♦ Zagat 2012: Best Washington, DC Food Restaurants
  • Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve     ♦ JBF Semi-Finalist 2012: Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic, Outstanding Service, Outstanding Wine Program; Zagat 2012: Best Washington, DC Food Restaurants
  • Jon Arroyo, Founding Farmers           ♦ Rammy 2012 Winner: Power Spot; Rammy 2011 Winner: Beverage/Mixology Program
  • Kyle Bailey, Birch and Barley            ♦ Rammy 2011 Winner: Rising Culinary Star
  • Ian Bens, Juniper
  • Justin Bittner, Bar Pilar
  • Jeff Black, Pearl Dive Oyster Palace  ♦ Rammy 2012 Winner: Hottest Restaurant Bar Scene (BlackJack)
  • Danny Bortnick, Firefly
  • Devin Bozkaya, Westend Bistro
  • Amy Brandwein, Chef AmyB
  • Erik Bruner-Yang, Toki Underground
  • Jeff Buben, Woodward Table            ♦ JBF Winner 1999: Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic
  • RJ Cooper, Rogue 24  ♦ JBF Winner 2007: Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic
  • Logan Cox and Alison Reed, Ripple
  • John Critchley, Urbana
  • Travis Croxton, Rappahannock River Oysters
  • Noah Dan, Pitango Gelato
  • Scott Drewno, The Source                  ♦ Rammy 2011 Winner: Fine Dining Restaurant; Zagat 2012: Best Washington, DC Food Restaurants
  • Enzo Fargione, Elisir
  • Teddy Folkman, Granville Moore’s
  • Mark Furstenberg, Bread Furst
  • Georgetown Cupcake
  • Spike Gjerde, Woodberry Kitchen
  • Dean Gold, Dino
  • Todd and Ellen Gray, Equinox           ♦ Food & Wine 2012 Best New Chef: Karen Nicolas of Equinox; Rammy 2012 Winner: Chef of the Year, Todd Gray
  • David Guas, Bayou Bakery
  • Thomas Hall, 901 Restaurant
  • Scot Harlan, Green Pig Bistro
  • Michael Harr, Food, Wine & Co.
  • Jerry Hollinger and Zena Polin, The Daily Dish
  • Mike Isabella, Graffiato          ♦ Food & Wine 2012 Winner: The People’s Best New Chef, Mid-Atlantic
  • Jim Jeffords, Evening Star Café
  • Haidar Karoum, Proof / Estadio         ♦ Rammy 2012 Winner: Beverage/Mixology Program; Rammy 2011 Winner: New Restaurant
  • Billy Klein, Café Saint-Ex      ♦ Rammy 2012 Winner: Neighborhood Gathering Place
  • Ris Lacoste, Ris
  • Jamie Leeds, Hank’s Oyster Bar
  • Andrew Little, Sheppard Mansion
  • Tiffany MacIsaac, Buzz Bakery         ♦ Rammy 2011 Winner: Pastry Chef ; JBF 2012 Semi-Finalist: Outstanding Pastry Chef
  • Jody Manor, Bittersweet
  • Dennis Marron, Poste Moderne Brasserie
  • Jon Mathieson, BLT Steak
  • Cedric Maupillier, Mintwood Place    ♦ Hosted President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama
  • Aaron McCloud, Cedar
  • Harper McClure, The Federalist
  • Raynold Mendizabal, Fujimar
  • Clayton Miller, Wit and Wisdom
  • Mary Lee Montfort, Mary Lee’s Desserts
  • Wes Morton, Art and Soul
  • Terry Natas, Carmine’s           ♦ Rammy 2011 Winner: Power Spot & Your Favorite Restaurant
  • Kaz Okochi, Kaz Sushi Bistro            ♦ Rammy 2006 Winner: Informal Dining Restaurant; Rammy 1999 Winner: Top 5 New Restaurants of the Year
  • Nelson Paz, The Ritz-Carlton, DC
  • Padua Player, Susan Gage Caterers
  • Christophe and Michelle Poteaux, Bastille
  • Nora Pouillon and Todd Woods, Restaurant Nora    ♦ USDA Organic Certification 1999 (First U.S. Restaurant Certified); Julia Child Cookbook Award Finalist: “Cooking with Nora;” Washington Post Power Chef
  • Leslie Poyourow, Fancy Cakes by Leslie
  • Beau Ramsburg, Rettland Farm
  • Michel Richard, Central          ♦ JBF Winner: Outstanding Chef 2007; Best Chef, Pacific 1992; Who’s Who 1991; Gourmet Magazine “Restaurants Worth the Money: Southeast”
  • Kimberly Robinson, Makin’ Whoopie
  • Omar Rodriguez, Oyamel Cocina Mexicana
  • Craig Rogers, Border Springs Farm
  • Lara Stuckey, Fluffy Thoughts Cakes
  • Peter Smith, PS 7’s
  • Alli Sosna, Allison Sosna Group / Microgreens
  • Emily Sprissler, Mayfair and Pine
  • Nicholas Stefanelli, Bibiana
  • Vikram Sunderam, Rasika                  ♦ Rammy 2012: Chef of the Year; JBF 2012 Semi-Finalist: Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic; Zagat 2012: Best Washington, DC Food Restaurants; Washingtonian Magazine Very Best Restaurants 2012: Top 10
  • Zoe Tsoukatos, Zoe’s Chocolate Company
  • Jeff Tunks, Passion Food Hospitality♦ Culinary Institute of America, Frances L. Roth Award for Outstanding Performance; Rammy 2003 Winner: Chef of the Year; Gourmet 1997 Winner: Best Restaurant; Washingtonian Magazine Restaurateurs of the Year, 2005
  • Bryan Voltaggio, Volt            ♦ JBF 2012 Semi-Finalist: Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic
  • Rob Weland, Cork Wine Bar  ♦ Rammy 2012 Winner: Wine Program; Washingtonian Magazine Restaurateurs of the Year, 2009
  • Robert Wiedmaier, Marcel's   ♦ JBF 2012 Semi-Finalist: Outstanding Restaurant; Zagat 2012: Best Washington, DC Food Restaurants; Washingtonian Magazine Very Best Restaurants 2012: Top 10
  • Paul Yeck, Jaleo DC
  • Steve Yoon, Sushi Rock
  • Demetrio Zavala, Lincoln

Featured Mixologists

*JBF = James Beard Foundation

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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