Last night I attended an awesome event of “Cool Comedy Hot Cuisine,” a benefit for Scleroderma Research Foundation (SRF) at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. They are the leading non-profit investor of Scleroderma research in the nation. Award winning Chef Susan Feniger, restaurateur of Street and Border Grill in Los Angeles was the mastermind for the haute menu of the night. She is an SRF board member and was a close college friend and Founder Sharon Monsky. SRF was established in 1987 by Sharon Monsky, who lost the battle to Scleroderma in 2002.
Chef Susan Feniger has created the menu for these events since 1987. The original event took place in Chef Susan’s and Chef Mary Sue Milliken’s critically acclaimed restaurant, CITY. The event started off with a cocktail hour- I enjoyed a Prosecco that paired nicely with the avocado and jicama ceviche. I missed out on a few of the other appetizers including bacon wrapped dates, lamb meatballs, and quinoa fritters. Chef Susan Feniger and her team prepared a fantastically presented four course meal.
First Course: Wild Arugula Heirloom Bean Salad with chipotle chile deviled egg. The beans were delicious and went perfect over the crispy corn tortilla shell.
Second Course: Poblano Chile Tamale with fresh avocado, tomatillo, and poblano relish. The tamale was a burst of fresh flavors.
Third Course: Pescado Veracruz seared black cod with carmelized onions, sautéed kale on orzo with a white wine broth, cherry tomato, kalamata olives, and oregano salsa fresca. The fish was tasty and very fresh. It went well with the orzo and kale.
Fourth Course: Arroz con Leche with candied almonds and macerated strawberries. I loved the various textures of this dessert from the crunchy almonds, cinnamon with the creamy vanilla bean rice concoction.
The night was full of entertainment, laughter, live auction, food, and beverages for a great cause. From a musical performance by Michael Bolton, to comedic banter from emcee Bob Saget and Jimmy Kimmel during the live auction, funny and racy jokes by comedians Jeff Garlin, Craig Ferguson, Jeff Ross, and Bill Bellamy… You can’t beat an event with food, laughter, and beverages.
All food and joking aside, Scleroderma can be a very serious illness. According to SRF Executive Director Amy Hewitt, approximately $515,000 was raised so far from last night’s event. During the auction, packages sold for as much as $13,000 each for trips to Napa, Costa Rica, and activities for Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, VIP tastings in LA, and Sports ultimate package all going toward Scleroderma research.
Scleroderma, means “hard skin,” can be a fatal disease that currently has no prevention and no cure. Depending on the subtype of the illness, it can cause severe damage to internal organs. On a video presentation, someone described it as cement poured over the skin and organs. 40% of funds donated to Scleroderma goes to existing patients, while the remainder goes to research, therapeutic development, and new technologies. To learn more about Scleroderma or SRF, log on to www.srfcure.org.