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Chef Peter Chang (right) will be one of the chefs cooking at 10 private tables. (Photo by James Dickinson)
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Mike Isabella of Graffiato (opening soon in Richmond), will also lend his talents to Chefs for Equality.
This is big. And fancy. And goose bump-inducing. Chefs for Equality, the District of Columbia’s annual Human Rights Campaign fundraiser organized by the brilliant David Hagedorn, has turned its focus on Virginia this year. It’s lucky for us that we’re happily nestled in the capital of that great state, where a proper food renaissance has been intensifying exponentially for the last half-decade or so. Putting two and two together yet? Some of our best and brightest will be headlining (and by that, I mean serving up unparalleled food and drink to some very beautiful people in an atmosphere whose enchantment rivals Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory).
Jason Alley (Comfort/Pasture), Peter Chang (Peter Chang China Café) and Mike Isabella (Graffiato) — we can go ahead and claim him as ours now, right? — will each be cooking at one of 10 very special, private tables for eight at the forefront of the event, and you can get a seat there for a cool $5K. Scratch that, Peter Chang’s table is already SOLD OUT. The Roosevelt’s bar prodigy, T. Leggett, will be impressing people at the mixology extravaganza in the center of the room; Rappahannock will represent the Virginia oyster contingent; Jason Tesauro will pour Barboursville wines. Actually, all the wine will be from Virginia. It’s going to be a big night for Virginia-made food and drink.
Chefs for Equality started two years ago when the HRC approached Hagedorn (food writer for the Post, co-author of The New Jewish Table, former chef, the list goes on), “to ask if I’d be interested in raising money for marriage equality in Maryland. It interested me greatly, as my husband and I weren’t married at the time because we were waiting for [the Defense of Marriage Act] to be repealed. We got married the day before the first Chefs for Equality,” he recalls. “[Chefs for Equality] was a stunning event; the governor of Maryland was there, and the chefs really pulled out all the stops. [Project Runway co-host and mentor] Tim Gunn was the MC.” Tim Gunn was the MC the very first year? Imagine the list of possible candidates for this year! That anticipation-inflating detail is still under wraps.
You can attend the third annual Chefs for Equality event on Sept. 23 at the Ritz-Carlton for a $150 ticket. It’s beyond worth it to bask in Amarylis’ décor handiwork while stuffing yourself luxuriously, drunkenly silly. Here’s to epicureanism, Virginia, and equality (hopefully coming soon to a Virginia courthouse near you).