Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Chefs & Restaurants on the Menu for Hope

photograph picture Menu for Hope 3
Perhaps some of the most glamorous prizes available in the Menu for Hope Campaign to raise money for the United Nations World Food Programme signal the chance for bidders to win a very special treat. Up and down the West Coast USA, in Seattle, the Bay Area, Los Gatos and LA, some unique opportunities for dining out, meeting chefs or sharing dinner with your favourite bloggers are available...

Starting in Seattle, UW16: You could eat dinner with everybody's favourite Gluten Free Girl at the Impromptu Wine Bar, where your food will be prepared by her betrothed, "The Chef". "Your dinner will include appetizer, entrée, and dessert, as well as wine to accompany each course. That might mean Penn Cove mussels with rosemary, Dijon mustard, and cream, followed by roast pork with a kumquat chutney, sweet potatoes and apples in a red wine sauce, finished up with Meyer lemon panna cotta."

Travelling South to Napa, UW02: Who wouldn't jump at the chance to meet Thomas Keller of The French Laundry, one of the most feted Chefs in the world, for a cup of coffee? Thanks to Chez Pim for organising this unique prize."The lucky winner of this raffle prize will get to have coffee with Thomas at Bouchon Bakery, either in Yountville or in Manhattan (although Yountville is his preferred location). It will have to be at a time that's both convenient for you –if you're the winner- and also for him, because, you know, being a world famous chef and all that keeps him quite busy. You'll get to arrange that time with his extremely able personal assistant. And you will have to claim your prize before 30 November 2007." Thomas Keller is involved in another great prize too - bid for UW37 over at I Heart Farms and you could win a signed copy of The French Laundry Cookbook.

Moving on to San Francisco, UW17: Some people, me I think, are born lucky. I don't actually have to go to the trouble of buying a raffle ticket for the chance to dine at Delfina with the colourful and spirited Restaurant Whore, because she has been known to take me there anyway. So, from personal experience I know what an absolute joy it is to dine with this whore and what a very special prize this is: She says, "The prize I'm donating is dinner for two, with me, at my second home, Delfina. You can pick my brain for any restaurant knowledge you want to know whilst we dine, and I'll pick up the check to boot (an even easier feat for me considering the good folk at Delfina have agreed to subsidize part of the meal -- Have I mentioned how much I LOVE them?). I'll even wear something low cut."

UW35: Although I have shared many wonderful meals with our next sponsor, Brett, from In Praise of Sardines, it has come to my attention that he hasn't actually cooked me anything yet. I am sure it is only a matter of time, before he does though, not least because he is soon to open a restaurant called Ollalie in Noe Valley and he will have trouble stopping me from knocking down the door in my eagerness to experience his cuisine. One lucky person will not have to go to such violent extremes to taste the fruits of his culinary labour. Brett is offering the winner of UW35 the choice of one of the following: "An Intimate Dinner Party for 4 in Your Bay Area Home or A Cocktail Party for 10. There's one hitch. If you want the party, the prize must be redeemed by April 30, 2007. Thereafter, once my restaurant opens, the prize will be converted to a gift certificate to Olallie for $200 with no expiration date."

UW36: I can't think of a finer blogger than the mysterious NS from San Francisco Gourmet. Well, mysterious to you maybe, but not me because I have been lucky enough to hang out with him at a couple of times at very nice restaurants in San Francisco. NS really knows how to live, and he also knows how to share the love, which is why he has offered this absolutely splendid prize: "Given that [my] site tends to focus quite heavily on Bay Area restaurants, it seemed only fitting that my prize should be related to a restaurant as well. But which one? As my mind cycled through the scores of great establishments that we have here in the Bay Area, one in particular jumped out - a place so outstanding, that it has consistently remained at the top of my list of favorites for the past few years: The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton. Executive Chef Ron Siegel offers some of the most exciting, innovative, and satisfying cuisine in the entire region, served in a plush and elegant dining room by what I believe to be the best waitstaff in the city... Why don't you and a guest go to the restaurant and see for yourselves, on me? That's right, my prize is a $350 gift certificate for The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton."

UW43: Hot off the presses is the news that my favourite pastry chef, Shuna from Eggbeater has just started work at Aziza again. To give you some idea about the reputation of Aziza's modern Moroccan cuisine, let me tell you that I chose to celebrate my 2005 birthday there. I don't have my birthday just anywhere, you know. Shuna is offering a "$200 dinner gift certificate to Aziza [that] expires [in] December 2007". Not only that, Shuna has kindly offered two spots in one of her local cooking classes too. Having attended Shuna's inaugural Kife Skills class, having hosted her custard class in my home and having attended her most recent class on the subject of pie dough this past Sunday, I can vouch for the fact that these classes are worth every penny, even more so if you only fork out $10 for one. Geez, I didn't realise how wrong I'd been rolling out pastry for all these years! You'll need code UW44 if you want to bid for these classes.

UW28: If you can't decide which San Francisco Chef to dine with, consider this keepsake from Catherine at Food Musings instead: "San Francisco Chefs is the San Francisco debut of a project that originated in Washington DC with DC Chefs last year. Both are the brainchild of Michel Richard, one of the industry's most respected and talented chefs and the owner of Citronelle. This year, twelve of the Bay Area's top chefs got together to produce a collection of keepsake recipes in order to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. I have one rare, signed copy of the publication autographed by: Michel Richard, Thomas Keller, David Kinch, Laurent Manrique, Michael Ellis, Robert Curry, Nancy Oakes and Pam Mazzola. There are no other signed copies of San Francisco Chefs in circulation, so this item is one-of-a-kind."

Hopping over to the East Bay, UW19: Who hasn't heard of Alice Waters and her restaurant Chez Panisse? I hope she won't be upset if I label her the grand matriarch of Californian cuisine. Kat from Kungfoodie is giving away a plate signed by Waters herself: "This platter was donated by Waters as an auction item to Women of Taste, the food and wine fundraiser for Girls Inc. education programs. As the lucky recipient of the platter I felt that it would be awesome to see it continue to do good in the world. The platter is eleven inches in diameter with Alice’s signature in a raised orange gold glaze. It’s in pristine condition and would make an awesome holiday gift or collectible for any food lover. I can offer free delivery in Berkeley, or if you’d like to pay for shipping and insurance I will happily send it to you anywhere in the world!"

Heading South of San Francisco UW01: Less than an hours drive South of San Francisco in a charming little town called Los Gatos, you'll find the place where Fred and I ate one of the best meals we've ever had. Pim, the organiser of the Menu for Hope happens to be dating the chef, David Kinch, who cooked us that wonderful meal at Manresa. Now you have the chance to be the very special guest of Manresa too: "David –yes, that David- will host you -whichever you it is wins this prize- and a guest at Manresa. You will be treated to the Grand Tasting Menu, with an abundant of wines to match the many, many courses that will sure to come your way. Come hungry, come thirsty, come with a designated driver! David will sit down for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine with you after dinner for a bit of tête-à-tête. How cool is this?"

Ending up Down in LA UW50: watch out for our very last West Coast prize to be announced - "BIN 8945 Wine Bar and Bistro, offers our lucky winner a dinner for two. And since BIN has quite a reputation for their wine list, they are also offering wine pairings for that meal as well."

UE19: And for any other LA-ites who happen to be reading this blog, I spotted another LA restaurant prize over on the East Coast roundup where it is probably not getting too many takers. Between you and me, this prize is a steal for $10. (Shhhh, don't tell anyone else about it.) Serious Eats say For West Coast–based Serious Eaters or those willing to travel to Los Angeles, we're offering dinner for four at Pizzeria Mozza, the recently opened Nancy Silverton–Mario Batali–Joe Bastianch pizza joint. As our own Ed Levine said in Details magazine, Pizzeria Mozza is "the first excellent pizza in pie-starved Southern California. Silverton spent a year perfecting the dough. Her breadlike crust is two inches high, but unlike that of Chicago deep-dish, it has a light, crisp exterior and a tender, moist interior."

That's it for the restaurant and chef prizes I have lined up for you here on the US West Coast. Come back on Wednesday to see spotlights of all the remaining and most unique gifts I have on my watch.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Menu for Hope?
Where does the money go?
How much do the raffle tickets cost?
What are all those UW letters and numbers about?
So, how do I bid on a Prize?
When does the bidding end?
When will the winners be announced?
Will my prize be shipped to me?
Where can I read about prizes from areas outside the West Coast USA?
I don't live on the West Coast, can I still bid for these prizes?
Can I claim tax back when I make my donation?
How long do I have to make up my mind about which of all these amazing prizes I should bid for?
Is there any way I can donate a prize too?

Chefs & Restaurants on the Menu for Hope


  • At 19/12/06 05:50, Blogger Kalyn said…

    Sam, you're doing such a wonderful job promoting the great prizes that are available. Bravo.

  • At 19/12/06 09:02, Blogger David said…

    Well, I'm gonna win that dinner with Joy. And when I do, she'd better wear something low cut...

    And if I win the dinner with Brett, I hope he wears something low cut too.

  • At 19/12/06 13:08, Anonymous Brett said…

    Hmm. If I wear something low cut, remind me not to deep fry, sauté or flambé anything. Too risky.


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