Where: Four Seasons Hotel (757 Market St.), 510-848-4238
When: Fri., Nov. 16, 5 p.m.
Cost: $350 (purchase in advance here)
The rundown: Tibetan Aid Project hosts this annual fundraiser dinner celebration to raise funds for rebuilding and protecting the endangered spiritual heritage of Tibet. An attitude of gratitude permeates this big-ticket event, as demonstrated by organizing chef Laurent Manrique in a phone interview with SFoodie. Diners can expect an up close and personal dinner experience because the 22 chefs (including Matthew Accarrino, Kim Alter, Mark Dommen, David Bazirgan, Banks White) prepare the food in front of the guests, tableside. Chef Manrique, who spearheaded this event in 2001, dished more for us.
SFoodie: You've been involved since you helped create the event in 2001 & have long had interest in Buddhism. What draws you to this particular cause?
Manrique: I was going to the Berkeley center for Buddhist retreats and realized that the Tibetan Aid Organization had a lot of private donors and were working to educate children. That affected me a lot. I realized I can't write a check for 100 thousand dollars like a private donor but I can cook for people. I called a couple of chef friends of mine and we did the first event at the City Club. For the first one, guests would sit down and the chefs were in the back of the house. For the second one, we decided to make it related to the emotional sharing and to the cause of Buddhism, by having the chefs in the room with the guests. Then people can see what the chefs are doing.
SFoodie: Dinner will be prepared tableside which is a different take for a high ticket event in a hotel. How does that play out?
Manrique: Guests can expect to get up and meet all the chefs who are cooking and what they are preparing. Usually guests aren't allowed in the kitchen at events like this. With Taste and Tribute, it will not be a restricted dinner and the kitchen is at your table. You have interaction with the chefs and wine people.