Great Chefs unite again

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Yes, all the chatter surrounding Philly this week centers around the NFL Draft, and for good reason.

By Bill Gelman

Yes, all the chatter surrounding Philly this week centers around the NFL Draft, and for good reason. Come Sunday, there will still be plenty of traffic jams, minus all the detours.

In terms of upcoming events, there is a biggie penciled in for Tuesday, June 20 (6–9 p.m.) at the Urban Outfitters corporate campus in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 5000 S. Broad St. Despite its close proximity to the sports complex, food — lots of it — will be front and center.

The 12th Annual Great Chefs Event, benefiting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and the Vetri Community Partnership, will feature more than 40 of the best from across the country and around the world. As in years past, Marc Vetri has hand-selected the participating chefs, calling on friends and respected colleagues from Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Italy, among others. The A-List of culinary contributors include several finalists in the 2017 James Beard Foundation Awards, including Outstanding Restaurateur Ken Oringer (Toro, New York City) and Outstanding Chef, Outstanding Service, Michael Solomonov (Cook n Solo, Philadelphia). Joining them will be regional Best Chefs finalists: Michael Cimarusti (Connie & Ted’s, Los Angeles), Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman (Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis) and Greg Vernick (Vernick, Philadelphia).

The participating chefs donate their time, talent and food, creating delicious samplings indicative of his or her personal styles. Food Network personalities Alex Guarnaschelli and Duff Goldman of Charm City Cakes in Baltimore (star of “Ace of Cakes” and “Cake Masters”) are also confirmed.

The country’s best winemakers, brewers and mixologists will also be present.

This is more than a who’s who gathering from the foodie world. Twelve years ago, Vetri and Jeff Benjamin met Liz and Jay Scott, who were carrying on the work that their amazing daughter Alex had started, to help find cures for all children with cancer. They were moved by Alex’s story and by the perseverance with which Liz and Jay honored her vision. As many do, “What can we do to help?” was the immediate response. Their answer was to host the first Great Chefs Event, which brought eight local chefs and 100 guests to The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, raising $50,000 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Vetri and Benjamin, meanwhile, inspired by the impact of their efforts, founded Vetri Community Partnership in 2008 to give back in the area they know most about — healthy food and nutrition for Philadelphia’s youth. The event has been a dual fundraiser for both organizations since 2010 and has inspired culinary events to fight childhood cancer in other big cities.

General admission tickets, which are on sale, are $350 and include signature tastings ,open bar and valet parking. After party access tickets are $525 each.

For more information, visit vetricommunity.org or alexslemonade.org.