October 22 is the night of 100 dinner parties in L.A., a chance to dine with friends and strangers (and perhaps eat food made by a celebrity chef) in private homes all over the city. It’s also a chance to host a Saturday night dinner party that benefits a greater good.
The event is Shared Plates, a fundraiser where 100 percent of the proceeds go to L.A. Kitchen, a nonprofit that feeds the hungry and battles food waste. There’s still time to sign up and throw a dinner party. Guests can invite their friends and ask them to donate $75 or let Shared Plates sell tickets to their dinner.
Celebrity chefs like board co-chair José Andrés and Giada De Laurentiis are part of the event, and so are local food luminaries like ultimate party planner Caryl Chinn, writer Jo Stougaard and restaurant stylist Kathy Delgado of Vintageweave. We hear that BBQ master Adam Perry Lang is cooking at one of these dinners, and that chefs Ludo Lefebvre, Nancy Silverton and Kris Morningstar are dropping off dishes for another. You can’t RSVP for a specific party unless you’re invited by the host, but L.A. Kitchen will find a seat for you somewhere if you buy a $75 ticket.
Even in a city where culinary festivals and guest-chef dinners happen all the time, Shared Plates should be a night to remember. Other fall events that L.A. food lovers might want to put on their calendar include:
- Road trip! The Desert Trip music festival at Indio’s Empire Polo Club (best known as the site of Coachella) on October 7-9 and October 14-16 features The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who along with a who’s who of the food world. The 30-plus chefs cooking at the festival’s Outstanding in the Field seated dinners ($225) include L.A. headliners Michael Voltaggio, Michael Hung, Marcel Vigneron, Jason Neroni, Ray Garcia, Nicole Rucker, Evan Funke, Josiah Citrin, Steve Samson, Vartan Abgaryan and Dakota Weiss, along with national players like Scott Conant and Miami’s Jamie DeRosa and Bradley Kilgore. Another option is the Culinary Experiences, a more casual dining setup ($179 per day for all you’d like to consume, and these are full-sized dishes, not tasting portions) with food from East Coast and West Coast all-stars like Roberta’s, Hanjip, Terrine, NoMad, Badmaash and The Cannibal. Desert Trip’s cocktail program is curated by both the Houston Brothers and Cedd Moses, so the best of L.A. nightlife is representing as well.
- On October 19, chefs Sean Brock (Husk) and Dave Beran, who recently left Chicago’s Next and is working to open his own L.A. restaurant, will join Wolfgang Puck for a dinner at Hotel Bel-Air. It’s part of Puck’s Visiting Chef Series, which recently brought in Argentine grill master Francis Mallman for a wild evening of open-fire cooking.
- On November 4-6, the roving Taste Talks festival hits L.A., with local chefs Kris Yenbamroong, Curtis Stone, Nyesha Arrington, Brooke Williamson and Chris Oh participating in an extravaganza that includes parties, a brunch, a barbecue and panel discussions.