James Beard Foundation Presents Taste America: Los Angeles Dinner 2017


On Friday, October 6th, 2017, Vibiana, the former 19th century Cathedral turned prominent event space in Downtown Los Angeles, was taken over by the national non-profit culinary arts organization, the James Beard Foundation and the best in the LA culinary scene. Taste America, the foundation’s 5th annual ten-city touring event, celebrated prolific stars of the food scene.

Spiced Tomato Broth and Watermelon by JBF Semifinalist Sara Kramer of Kismet

This event kicked off with a VIP Reception and Silent Auction. LA tastings in the VIP reception included local-favorites like Felix, Maude and Kismet.

Dried Scallops with Creamed Endive and Caviar by JBF Semifinalist Justin Hilbert of Maude

Tortellini in Brodo by JBF Semifinalist Evan Funke of Felix

Howlin’ Ray’s had guests waiting in longer lines for their famous chicken wings; just like at their DTLA brick and mortar where customers have been known to wait up to 3 hours for a bite.

Johnny and Amanda Zone of Howlin’ Ray’s

Medium Wing by Howlin’ Ray’s

Sponsors participating in the VIP reception included Kerrygold, Tabasco, Blue Circle Foods.

Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese by Blue Circle Foods

After the VIP Reception and Silent Auction, the 4-course dinner commenced with the first 2 courses created by James Beard Foundation All-Star Chef Barbara Lynch, of Gruppo in Boston, the main course created by Michael Cimarusti of Providence and Connie and Ted’s in Los Angeles, and a dessert by Shannon Swindle of Craft Los Angeles. The silent auction offered a wide selection in food and entertainment packages for the highest bidders.

Course 1 by Barbara Lynch of Gruppo- Tuna Nicoise with Quali Egg, Habricot Verts and Black Olives

Course 2 by Barbara Lynch of Gruppo- White Bean Bouillion with Pecorino Romano, Mascarone Raviolini, Truffles and Hazelnut

Course 3 by Michael Cimarusti- Liberty Farms Duck with Green Cabbage, Honey Nut Squash and Sauce Salmis

Emcees and Food Network personalities Simon Majumdar (Cutthroat Kitchen) and Monti Carlo (Help My Yelp) graciously introduced the food, chefs and assisted with the silent auction.

Dessert by Shannon Swindle of Craft Los Angeles- Honeybee Pollen Ice Cream

This event helped raise money for the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Scholarship Fund, so attendees were eating for a great cause.

For more info on The James Beard Foundation, check out their site here. https://www.jamesbeard.org/tasteamerica


Actress and Founder of Girls on Food: I was born and raised in the suburbs of Sacramento, California. I grew up a typical “McDonald’s kid”. I was very picky about what I ate and refused to try new foods. No fun, I know. My Mom started taking me on trips to Europe when I was a teenager and that’s when my palate for finer foods began to develop. Some of my most memorable favorite meals include Veal Bolognese in Rome, Gyros in Athens, Paella in Lisbon and Duck L’Orange in Paris. While this helped me grow out of a fast food phase, I still eat out quite a bit. I know I should be at home cooking, but I love dining out. I started working in restaurants in various front of the house positions at age 15. Since my start, I’ve worked in every casual restaurant setting you can think of: a teriyaki stand, brewery, sushi nightclub, trendy Mexican, family-style Italian, American diner, pizza parlor and even a BLT themed food truck. I can't help but notice that many of the LA food bloggers don't have any sort of background working in a restaurant. A lot of my perspective on food and dining out comes from my years of experience in the biz. Since starting this blog, I have shot appearances on a couple of cooking competition shows as a taster (including MasterChef Junior and another upcoming show). We have also started producing a Youtube Channel. IMDb page here: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm2023647/ For this site I contribute content from all over Los Angeles (and the world) to showcase my favorite fine-dining spots, steakhouses, exclusive supper clubs, Hollywood nightlife and our very own #GOFx events, which I plan and coordinate.