Chefs and Champagne: These Are a Few of Our Favorite Things

James Beard Foundation's Chefs & Champagne at Wolffer Estate on Saturday, July 25, 2015 in Sagaponack, N.Y. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for James Beard Foundation/AP Images)

Bites at last year’s Chefs & Champagne at Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack, NY (Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for James Beard Foundation/AP Images)

This Saturday, Wölffer Estate Vineyards will host—for the 25th consecutive year—Chefs and Champagne: a mashup of city and Long Island chefs to benefit the venerable foodie organization founded by legendary New Yorker and eater James Beard. Chefs and Champagne is among our favorite East End food events—besides our Food Truck Derby and Good Beer and all the other events we do. 😉

Chefs and Champagne presents that rare chance to taste from JBF-ally chefs from the entire tri-state area, with a few wild cards thrown in for the Hamptons masses. It’s a pretty sweet list. From the Musket Room in Manhattan to Mirabelle in the Three Villages, from Annisa on the Lower East Side to a yet-to-be-opened Louisiana taco joint. See the full menu below, including local spots Harbor Bistro, Wolffer Kitchen or Sant Ambroeuos.


Chef Kerry Heffernan, an accomplished fisherman, will be serving oysters two ways.

Chef Kerry Heffernan, an accomplished fisherman, will be serving oysters two ways.

It’s an impressive group. And it hasn’t always been that big. Kerry Heffernan, whose chops include opening 11 Madison Park, South Gate and now Grand Banks, a seasonal Oyster Bar and galley on a historic cod-fishing schooner moored off Manhattan.

The organization has come a long way, baby. With food impact investing guru Eric Kessler and other food system disruptors at the helm of the board, the org has spawned its Chefs Bootcamp (recently attended by local boy Jason Weiner), the leadership awards that have honored Michelle Obama and Wendell Berry, and moved signature awards event to Chicago to embrace the non-NY membership. Even though NYC is still its home.

And while guests at Chefs and Champagne have been known to leave sated and happy and ready for more, Heffernan remembers one year when he dashed out just as it was ending. “It was a few years back and it was loaded with every French chef in the region. Jacques Torres learned that I dug crabs with a trident at night. The two headed over the bridge to Sag Harbor, rolled their pants up and caught the low tide at midnight. “It was under a full moon. And we just talked and laughed and caught these enormous crabs.” This year, the chef from Park Hyatt, Chad Brauze, had seen Heffernan advocating on Instagram that striped bass is overfished and should not be served. “He very thoughtfully reached out. We had a great conversation. When Heffernan thinks of why he works with the James Beard Foundation, he said he’s proud of the work he has done with the Beard Foundation on the sustainable seafood front, as well as in Beard-related groups like Chef Action Network.

We have had Chef Anita Lo's steamer clams and we look forward to the potato and celtuce she will prepare at Chefs and Champagne.

We have had chef Anita Lo’s steamer clams and we look forward to the potato and celtuce she will prepare at Chefs and Champagne.

For Heffernan, this year, the event’s 25th anniversary, is a bit full circle. John Besh, the influential New Orleans chef, is being honored. Heffernan is, in fact, opening his first restaurant in New Orleans. The two already have a South Fork fishing date. “I’ve been doing Beard dinners for 20 years. I remember when Chefs Night Out was literally just a party packed into the James Beard House backyard in the Village. “It wasn’t even that packed in the early years. The chef awards were small and unsponsored.”

What will Heffernan, who is pretty handy with a boat and road, prepare this year? “I always bring my usual schtick. I get some clams, catch some bass, pull in some porgies and then give to the other chefs to use.” He smiles when some city newcomer says, “Wow, I didn’t realize black sea bass or sea robin was such “a great fish.”

He’s decided to do oysters two ways. First, an homage to Louisiana, he is making char-grilled oysters, a dish he says is traditionally made with “obscene amounts of butter and garlic.” There will be some of that, he admits. He will also do a raw oyster with some of the precious 200 pounds of ramps that Heffernan’s crew at Grand Banks turns into a mignonette. “We serve it in little tiny salt shakers. You just need a few drops.”

Some tickets are still available here. Edible will be there and we hope to see you too.


Chad Brauze
The Back Room, Park Hyatt, NYC
Sour Strawberries with Blueberry–Elderflower Granita

Andrea Bucciarelli
Sant Ambroeus, Southampton and NYC
Millefoglie with Tahitian Vanilla Cream and Caramelized Puff Pastry Crumbs

Brian Cheewing
Wölffer Kitchen, Sag Harbor, NY
Local Spicy Octopus and Corn Salad with Calabrian Chiles and Micro Cilantro

Christopher Cipollone
Piora, NYC
Madai Snapper Crudo with Avocado, Flowers and Farro

JBF Award Winner Tim Cushman
O Ya, Boston and NYC
Kanpachi Sashimi with Vietnamese Mignonette, Fried Shallots, and Thai Basil

Ben Del Coro
Fossil Farms, Boonton, NJ
Spit-Roasted Wild Boar Báhn Mì with Charred Bread, ‘Nduja Mayonnaise, Pickled Carrots, Shaved Breakfast Radishes, Cucumbers, Mint and Cilantro

Jay Ducote
Gov’t Taco (opening in 2017), Baton Rouge, LA
Chilled Cajun Corn Maque Choux with Pickled Louisiana Shrimp and Serrano Peppers

Aaron Fitterman
Aretsky’s Patroon, NYC
House-Smoked Salmon Pastrami with Saffron-Pickled Fennel and Mustard Crème Frâiche on Rye Crackers

Jeremy Ford
Matador Room by Jean-Georges, Miami Beach, FL
Foie Gras with Florida Lychees and Black Olives

Tom Fraker and Marco Zapien
Melissa’s Produce
Kool Cabbage–Seafood Salad Tacos with Hatch Chile Hot Sauce
Hatch Chile–Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eric Gabrynowicz
Restaurant North, Armonk, NY
Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon with Gold Bar Squash, Tarragon, Tomato Confit and Corn

Kerry Heffernan
Grand Banks, NYC
Blue Island Number 9 Oysters with Pickled Ramps, Lemon Cucumber and Black Pepper
Char-Grilled Navy Point Long Island Oysters with Fennel, Toasted Panko Bread Crumbs, Tarragon and Espelette Pepper

Will Horowitz
Ducks Eatery and Harry & Ida’s, NYC
Preserved Summer Tomatoes with Duck Heart Pâté, Smoked Quahog, Roasted Hazelnuts and Mint

Michael Jenkins
Butter Restaurant, NYC
Grilled Flatbread with Smoked Eggplant, Summer Savory and Fresh Pasilla Chiles

JBF Award Winner Paul Kahan and Perry Hendrix
Avec, Chicago
Grilled Octopus with Sumac, Tangerine Butter and Trufflebert Farm Hazelnuts

Pastry Chef Jiho Kim
The Modern, NYC
Ants on a Log > Pumpernickel Cake with Rum–Raisin Reduction and Peanut Butter Custard

Paul Kim and Kendrick Lo
Ice & Vice, NYC
Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream Float with Renegade Lemonade Strawberry–Basil Soda and Black Lava Sea Salt

Anthony Lamas
Seviche, A Latin Restaurant, Louisville, KY
Tuna “Old Fashioned” with Bluegrass Soy Bourbon Broth, Ginger, Pineapple and Orange

Matt Lambert
The Musket Room, NYC
Yama Musubi Canapés with Seared Tuna, Dashi Gelée and Wasabi
Mitakahara Potato Coneri Pastry with Shiso Salad Wrap
Five-Grain Wafer Sandwiches with Foie Gras, Apples and Dates

Anita Lo
Annisa, NYC
Potatoes with Celtuce, Buttermilk Dressing and Sturia Caviar

Angie Mar
Beatrice Inn, NYC
Tomahawk Rib Eye with Cherry–Garlic Compote

Pastry Chef Alina Martell
Ai Fiori and Vaucluse, NYC
Profiteroles with Strawberries and Cream

Lucero Martinez
Pampano, NYC
Tuna Ceviche with Poblano Peppers and Ginger Marinade

Dean James Max
DJM Restaurants, Multiple Cities, USA; Cayman Islands, BWI; and Harbor Island, Bahamas
Nantucket Oysters with Uni Vinaigrette

Julian Medina
Toloache, NYC
Tacos de Pato > Duck Carnitas with Charred Habanero–Tamarind Salsa and Micro Cilantro

Jonah Miller
Huertas, NYC
Basque Dog > Chistorra Sausage with Piquillo Mostarda and Aïoli

Marco Moreira and Sushi Chef Noriyuki Takahashi
15 East, NYC
Chilled Homemade Buckwheat Noodles with Hokkaido Sea Urchin and Cured Ikura

Jon Nodler, Baker Alex Bois and Pastry Chef Sam Kincaid
High Street on Hudson, NYC
Dry-Aged Beets with Smoked Cloumage and Pickled Cabbage
Smoke and Wood Bread > Local Flours with Whole Grains, Applewood-Smoked Barley Malt and Roasted Shagbark Hickory
Red-Eye Butter with Candied Nut Dukkah

Damien O’Donnell
Harbor Bistro, East Hampton, NY
Montauk Fluke Crudo with Tomatillo Relish, Blue Corn Chips and Avocado Crema

Glenn Olsson and Marcus Widell
Swedish Culinary Summer, Sweden
Shrimp Skagen 2.0

Pichet Ong
Valrhona Chocolate with Cherries, Honey and Saffron

Ralph Perrazzo
BBD’s – Beers, Burgers, Desserts, Rocky Point, NY
Miniature BBD’s Griddled Cheeseburgers

Guy Reuge
Mirabelle, Stony Brook, NY; and Sandbar, Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Goat Cheese–Herb Tartlets with Mission Figs

Roxanne Spruance
Kingsley, NYC
Pork Belly with Nasturtium, Black Sesame and Cocoa Nibs

Cédric Vongerichten
Perry St, NYC
Chilled Peekytoe Crab with Sesame Emulsion, Dukkah Spice, Avocado and Basil

JBF Award–Winning Pastry Chef Sherry Yard
iPic Entertainment
White Miso Cone with Sweet Corn and Caviar

VIP After–Party Chef
Robb Garceau
Neuman’s Kitchen, Events & Catering, NYC