Friday, January 30, 2009

A Star-studded affair

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2009 at 10:50 AM

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Cafe Sebastienne's Eileen Jones, chef Jennifer Maloney, Janet Ross
Last night's fundraising event at the Boulevard Brewery was called Four Stars for Lauren because it honored the memory of the late Lauren Chapin -- longtime restaurant critic for the The Kansas City Star -- by raising money for the education of her teenaged daughters. But many stars of Kansas City's culinary community were in attendance for the sellout event. Among them were Café Sebastienne's executive chef Jennifer Maloney, Jasper's chef (and co-owner) Jasper Mirabile Jr., chef Ted Habiger and the staff from Room 39, and the chef and staffs from more than 20 local restaurants.

The two upper floors of the brewery were crowded with guests who had been quick enough to purchase tickets in advance: They sold out within a few days of going for sale online. One of the organizers, publicist Will Gregory, told me that about 300 tickets had been snapped up (raising thousands of dollars for the educational funds of Brenna and Maren, daughters of Chapin and Star music critic Tim Finn), and many potential patrons were turned away. I was glad I was there, even though I didn't eat much -- I won't eat standing up anymore. I'm just too clumsy. I did sample Maloney's exquisite pork mole, though, and KCUR 89.3's Michael Byers goaded me into eating several Christopher Elbow chocolates.


Former Kansas City Star restaurant critic John Martellaro

(now with Trozzolo Communications Group) looked at me and said,

"Didn't we used to be younger?"

"And thinner," I said, wistfully.

 

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"Check, Please" host Doug Frost and Will Gregory
Wine expert Doug Frost, the host of KCPT's new dining show "Check, Please" was

very gracious when I told him that the weekly show's changing panel of

"ordinary" people discussing restaurants needed to be a lot more

outrageous -- I think they're too ordinary, actually -- and

for next season, he should consider adding drag queen Flo (who owned a

restaurant a long time ago) and chubby politico Chuck Eddy to the

line-up.


The party was a good place to get caught up on all the

culinary gossip: Cookbook author Judith Fertig has a new bread book

coming out in the fall, and Jasper Mirabile Jr. introduced me to the

new producer of his weekly radio show "Live! From Jasper's Kitchen."

They were both incredibly nice to me, considering that the last time I

was invited on that show, I got so lost trying to find the studio, I

wound up in Tonganoxie.

Everyone was raving about chef Marshall Roth's visually

beautiful creation: hollow brown eggshells filled with lemongrass panna

cotta. He ran after me and offered me one, but I demurred because I knew

I would have dropped it before I could get a spoonful into my mouth.

Honestly, when I try to eat standing up at cocktail parties, I look

like Lucy Ricardo trying to wrap chocolates on the I Love Lucy show -- only with even less grace.

But I was hungry, so I took carryout versions of one of chef Josh

Eans mini-Blanc burgers and a tiny plate of Grinder's West chef Steve

Brucker's famous jambalaya pasta. At 3 a.m., I had a four-star snack,

baby.

 

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