Cable Muse Network’s newest reporter arrived an hour early to his first assignment, part of
his master plan to survive the night. He didn’t know what to expect from anything or anyone. Dominic Garcia shares his
experience as a new CMN reporter and review of The American Liver Foundation’s Fourth Annual Flavors of Los Angeles.
Review by Dominic Garcia
May 23, 2010 – Los Angeles, CA - The American Liver Foundation’s Fourth Annual Flavors of Los Angeles,
was located in beautiful Downtown L.A. at the City National Plaza’s courtyard. Tables were set up outside in front of
the restaurants Chaya and Drago Centro in the plaza facing Flower Street.
After getting lost and looking for parking,
I had to make sure to end up in the City National Plaza’s underground parking structure. I allowed
time to gather my thoughts and calm my nerves before throwing me into a situation I would I never even dreamed about. I was
reporting on an upscale fundraiser with some of the paramount chefs in Los Angeles.
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The location was amazing; it was the most professional and intimidating place you could
think of; right away the stage was set for a gala. After checking-in the fundraiser’s organizer, Taly Fantini, Vice
President of the Greater Los Angeles division of ALF, gave the rundown for the night. The fundraiser was held in the courtyard
of the City National Plaza with Downtown at dusk as its backdrop. The American Liver Foundation is the nation’s leading
nonprofit organization dedicated to liver health and treatment.
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The annual upscale fundraising event brought together twelve of the top chefs in L.A. while giving an absolutely
unique culinary experience for the lucky guests with enough money to buy a plate. For $250 dollars guests got to sit at a
table and have dinner cooked right in front of them by their personal celebrity chef. Every chef has their own individual
restaurant and style outside of the event, so each table had a unique menu and décor. The celebrity chefs
made a five course meal in front of their guests and served everything hot off the stove.
Before dining, there was a cocktail hour featuring a silent auction and hors d’oeuvres
for the guests. The media did not participate in the silent auction, (not only because CMN was covering the event, but all
the silent bids seemed to be around three to four hundred dollars). While the cocktail hour was going on, this reporter had
a chance to meet the Chefs that were so charitable with their food and time.
The first chef interview was Michael Voltaggio from The Dining Room at The Langham, who
seemed a little bitter that he was not immediately recognized as Bravo channel’s Top Chef.
|Chef Shelly Cooper (Far Right)
Chef Shelley Cooper from the restaurant First and Hope took mercy on the rattled nerves
of Cable Muse’s new reporter and offered liquid courage, of which was and is still appreciated. Chef Mirko Paderno from
Oliverio at the Avalon Hotel was also celebrated. CableMuse.com was honored to have experienced Chef Mirko’s
seafood creations and served an elegant meal.
|Chef John Rivera
Chef John Rivera from Rivera Restaurant had tips for a healthy life and his secret ended up being “fresh
pinto beans”; who knew grandma had the key to health. The culinary adventure continued with meeting Chef Joe Miller
from Joe’s. Chef Joe was first spotted while he was carving Serrano ham off a giant piece of cured ham; it was awesome.
After the carving show, Chef Lincoln Fuge from, Beso Hollywood, talked about how he felt like he was “getting back to
his roots” with the unique set up of the event. He enjoyed cooking for people while they watched. Cable Muse Network
also interviewed Chef Joshua Wigham who works with Chef Jorge Chicas at the restaurant, The Bazaar by Josè Andrès.
The final Chef interaction for the night came from Chef Ricardo Valdes of BottleRock.
|Chef Ricardo Valdes
All the celebrity chefs were different in style, delivery and taste, yet they blended together in support
for The American Liver Foundation. They all appeared to recognize their advantage in life, but more importantly recognized
their opportunity to give back. They took time away from their busy restaurants and lives to do some good for a foundation
dedicated to eliminating and educating the public about liver disease.
|Chef Joe Miller
Taly Fantini told CMN she hoped that the evening would raise around one hundred thousand dollars, with 83%
of all funds going directly to research and education. The research has not yet completely cured any specific disease and
there was no specific portion of the money going to help out individual families dealing with a liver illness. As explained
to CMN, that was why a $250 a plate fundraiser was needed. Of course, money was the overall theme of the night and between
the silent auction and the live auction during dinner, money seemed to just flow through the entire evening.
|Chef Joshua Wingham
The Fourth Annual Flavors of Los Angeles was for
a truly good cause, but it still felt exclusive. Only certain people could afford to attend and it seemed they were regulars
among fundraiser circles. Missing were the everyday people affected by liver disease. There was a successful liver transplant
patient to share his story, but that was it. Although The American Liver Foundation’s ‘Fourth Annual Flavors of
Los Angeles’ was marketed as an upscale fundraiser, the personal connection with the people going through the hardships
daily did not connect with this reporter.
The Sunday evening under the sky of Los Angeles was built to change lives. The night,
the chefs, the food, the setup and planning, and all the organizers made the fundraiser for The American Liver Foundation
a success. Hopefully cures and aid are on their way to the people that need it now.