On Saturday from noon to 4 p.m., a mixture of hundreds of L.A.’s most avid foodies, celebrities, chefs—and all possible combinations of the three—will descend on UCLA’s Royce Quad for a great cause. It’s the sixth annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade event, which has raised more than $2.2 million for childhood cancer research since its inception, including $700,000 in 2014 alone. Let’s hope this year’s number is even bigger.
Fifty-two chefs and nine mixologists from all around the country will set up booths in the grassy area and unveil their signature dishes made just for the event while guests eat and drink and schmooze. Hosts Suzanne Goin, business partner Caroline Styne (The Lucques Group), and David Lentz (The Hungry Cat) will hold court. Since it is L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade, most of the food will be from Angeleno chefs; but guests will also be able to sample the fare from several notable out-of towners. Here are the five chefs whose food we’re excited to try, without having to hop on a plane.
Chris Bianco—Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix, AZ
The James Beard Award winner for Best Chef: Southwest 2003 has been one of the driving forces behind America’s burgeoning artisanal pizza movement. He started making pizza in the back of a neighborhood Phoenix grocery store in 1987, and officially opened Pizzeria Bianco in 1994. Since then, his pizza has been rated the best in the country by Bon Appétit and Vogue. Look for some of that chewy, wood-fired greatness at the event on Saturday.
John Besh—Domenica (and many others), New Orleans, LA
No one has rewritten the rules of New Orleans cuisine quite like John Besh has. He’s written four cookbooks, owns ten restaurants, and was named one of Food & Wine Top 10 Best New Chefs in America. But on top of that, he’s also deeply rooted in Louisiana charities. The John Besh Foundation, founded in 2011, provides culinary school scholarships for underprivileged students and microloans for local farmers.
Cosmo Goss— The Publican, Chicago, IL
Born in Santa Barbara, trained in New York, and rooted in Chicago, chef Cosmo Goss is currently heading butchery at The Publican, which describes itself as an “homage to beer, pork, and oysters.” He has a knack for charcuterie and salumi making and his pork pedigree is up there with the best of them. Case in point: Goss was crowned Cochon 555 Chicago’s Prince of Porc in 2013.
Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson—Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, CO
James Beard Foundation Award’s Best Chef: Southwest, 2008; one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2005; and a season competing on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters are just a few of the French Laundry alum’s credentials. Now, at Frasca Food and Wine, he focuses on hyper-regional Northeastern Italian cuisine. Let’s hope he breaks out some of his famous frico caldo, a sort of Italian hashbrown with onion and cheese, for the event.
Rocco Whalen—Fahrenheit Charlotte, Cleveland, OH
More than anything, we’re just excited to eat some food represented from Cleveland—because how often do you get to do that, right? But Rocco Whalen’s food also just happens to be legit. Gourmet magazine listed Fahrenheit in its Best Restaurants Across America Guide, and with a menu that includes slow-braised and grilled pork belly with caramelized coconut milk, we can see why.