It was a perfect 74-degree day for our drive to the Hamptons for the year's marquee, James Beard House's "Chef's and Champagne". I have been attending C&C for over four years but this year was different. Why you ask? Well there are two reasons. The first I already mentioned, a perfect 74 degrees. The second, Ted Allen and (we the Judges of Chopped) were the guests of honor. According to www.jamesbeard.org/chefsandchampagne "Join us this summer when we celebrate Emmy Award-winning television personality and author of In My Kitchen, JBF Award Winner Ted Allen, and the judges of Food Network's Chopped: JBF Award Winners Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Alex Guarnaschelli, Marc Murphy, Marcus Samuelsson, Aar�n Sanchez, Chris Santos, and Geoffrey Zakarian. "On behalf of all the Chopped judges and producers at Food Network, I want to thank the James Beard Foundation for honoring us at Chefs & Champagne�-two of my very favorite things in the world," said Ted Allen. "We love chefs and we love the craft of the kitchen, and to spend the day celebrating those things with you in the Hamptons is about as wonderful a day as we could ever hope to have."
What an amazing time we had! My mom who was visiting from India, my baby and husband, all came along. It was a wonderful experience to be surrounded by media and friends-all in honor of the incredible cast of Chopped. We wouldn't be where we are, if it wasn't for all the amazing people who work tirelessly to make this happen.
Chopped is such an incredible show that has developed a life of its own. I was invited as a guest judge on three seasons back and since then I have been engulfed in the folds of the permanent judges panel for two seasons. Just recently, I have been invited for the next season of judging. This year has been an incredible year for us. Winner of two prestigious James Beard awards, nominated for a Critics Choice Award and having record breaking ratings are just a few of the achievements for Chopped this year. Not only is the Chef's and Champagne an event to enjoy but it is an event with a cause. There are auction items offered and the proceeds benefit the James Beard Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate, nurture and preserve America's diverse culinary heritage and future. As my contribution, I decided to offer "Host your own Chopped-inspired dinner party with celebrity chef and Chopped Judge Maneet Chauhan. This exclusive dinner for four people will be a night to remember. The best part? You won't have to do any of the cooking-just provide ingredients of your choice and the JBF Award-winning chef will transform them into a magnificent meal. " There was a bidding war going on between two couples and I was very proud that I could help a great cause. I am even more excited about creating this meal and am looking forward to a wonderful evening cooking at their home. I will write a blog about that, so keep a look out for it.
Chef's and Champagne is an event for which I know each and every chef covets an invitation. To be honored, truly means the world to me. An afternoon of hobnobbing with Hamptonites, New Yorkers, fellow Chef's and industry veterans, sipping on some amazing champagne, tasting some incredible food made by the best culinary minds in the country and doing some good.. That is what I call Nirvana!!