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This James Beard Dinner in Philly Has an All-Star Chef Lineup

Tickets are on sale for the Taste America dinner with Nick Elmi, Eli Kulp, Diana Widjojo, and more

Pre-dinner dishes at a 2016 Taste America event
James Beard Foundation [official photo]

For the second year in a row, the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America tour is making a stop in Philly. It’s not heading this way until November, but start saving now: Tickets for the elaborate multi-course feast, complete with an all-star chef lineup and a cocktail hour, start at $300.

Before last year, the Taste America tour last landed in Philly in 2013. Since then chefs and restaurateurs repping the city have brought home top awards, including best chef for Michael Solomonov, best restaurateur for Stephen Starr, and best chef for the Mid-Atlantic region for Greg Vernick in 2017. Camille Cogswell, Zahav’s pastry chef, was named this year’s rising star chef.

The Philly event, on Friday, November 2 at the Rittenhouse hotel on Rittenhouse Square, kicks off at 5:30 p.m. for VIP ticket holders with a reception hosted by Jonathan Cichon, chef at the hotel and its swank restaurant Lacroix. The non-VIPs can show up at 6 p.m. for a cocktail hour with Diana Widjojo of Hardena, Marcie Turney and Valerie Safran of Barbuzzo (among other restaurants), Eli Kulp and John Patterson of Fork, Joey Baldino of Zeppoli and Palizzi Social Club, and Michael Loughlin of Scarpetta.

Chef Nick Elmi of Laurel and ITV on East Passyunk Avenue and Royal Boucherie in Old City
Royal Boucherie [official photo]

Next up is a three-course dinner with Cichon cooking the first course, followed by Nick Elmi of Laurel and Royal Boucherie — Elmi, a Top Chef winner, is named the “Local Star” in the event’s parlance. The “Visiting All Star Chef” making the third course has not yet been named (last year’s was New York’s Marc Murphy).

Save room for dessert, because Cogswell, Tova du Plessis of Essen Bakery, and the Rittenhouse hotel’s pastry team will be providing the sweets after dinner.

The following day, Saturday, November 3, Elmi will do a cooking demonstration at Sur La Table in King of Prussia. The to-be-announced chef will also do a cooking demo there, along with a book signing, so she or he must be someone with a cookbook, which doesn’t really narrow it down.

Along with Philly, Taste America will be in Austin, Boston, Chicago, LA, Louisville, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle. Some of the money raised from ticket sales goes to a James Beard Foundation scholarship fund.

The man himself, James Beard
Photo by Dan Wynn from Elisabeth Wynn, courtesy of the James Beard Foundation