Cuisine for the Cure Highlights

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The All-Star Chef Classic saw another successful year, bringing together some of the world’s most celebrated chefs to showcase their innovative culinary creations. Held at the famed, state-of-the-art Restaurant Stadium, this was where the magic happened right before audience members’ eyes. One of the event highlights of this year was the Cuisine for the Cure benefitting City of Hope and presented by yours truly, Melissa’s. Each chef brought their talent into creating some truly amazing and healthy dishes and we are proud to have been the main sponsor of produce for this event.

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Some of us at Team Melissa’s had the pleasure of attending this four-course luncheon, which featured dishes made with various superfoods that were believed to help treat or cure cancer. Also accompanying the four courses was a wine pairing for each dish.The purpose of this event was not only to introduce audience members to a world of promising superfoods but also to benefit those fighting cancer and celebrate those who have beaten cancer.

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Billy Harris, host of this year’s All-Star Chef Classic and star of his popular hit culinary web series “Hanging with Harris“, kicked off the event. The unique layout of Restaurant Stadium allowed us an in-depth look into what went on behind the scenes as he interviewed the chefs and special guests. Throughout the luncheon, Harris went around the kitchen getting the scoop on each dish from the chefs.

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Jenn Louis, Executive Chef and co-owner of Portland’s Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern and alumni of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, was up with our first course, Vichyssoise made with Melissa’s potatoes, mushrooms and farro. Served chilled, the Vichyssoise was a refreshing starter, especially against the Los Angeles heat that had graced us all weekend long. The mushrooms and farro added a nice array of textures and a subtle nuttiness against the thick creaminess of the soup. Mushrooms, based on City of Hope’s research, are believed to contain properties that help fight against the hormones that cause breast cancer to grow and spread. Currently, researchers are also in the process of studying the same hormone-blocking properties for prostate cancer. Wine Pairing:  2012 Pinot Gris, Williamette Valley, CA, The Four Graces.

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The second course was by famed Los Angeles-based chef and restauranteur Suzanne Goin. Slow-roasted salmon with Melissa’s avocado, citrus and green olive tapenade was on the menu. The salmon was roasted in oil and laid across a bed of sliced avocados and greens while juicy citrus liberally decorated the plate. Avocados are known as one of the great superfoods that are nutrient-dense and contain phytochemicals that help fight major chronic diseases such as cancer. As for the rest of the dish, we’re in the middle of an amazing citrus season. And it was a big highlight to see our citrus such as grapefruit and blood oranges used in adding sweetness and acidity to the perfectly cooked salmon. Wine Pairing: 2012 Chardonnay, Alexander Valley, CA, Roth Estate.

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Up next was Chef Aarón Sánchez, superstar chef and partner of Paloma in Stamford, CT and costar of Food Network’s hit series, Chopped. He highlighted quinoa in his superfood dish with a flavorful Grilled Chicken Quinoa Salad with Chia Seed Vinaigrette. In recent years, quinoa has become popularized by people touting its immense nutritional benefits, including its ability to decrease the risk of cancer. Chef Aarón’s quinoa was cooked perfectly and complemented the moist, citrusy chicken thighs. A bed of greens and edible flowers topped off the dish, making this truly an unforgettable and beautiful super salad. Wine Pairing: 2012 Pinot Noir, Williamette Valley, Oregon, The Four Graces.

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Last but not least, we had the honor of our dessert prepared by Brooks Headley, 2013 James Beard Award winner for Outstanding Pastry Chef and Executive Pastry Chef of Del Posto. Proving that dessert can indeed be both scrumptious and healthy, Chef Brooks treated us to Carrot Cake and a unique Parsley Gelato. One of the popular food trends we’ve been seeing are chefs taking uncommonly used ingredients in desserts to create interesting ice creams, sorbets and gelato. More than merely a garnish, parsley gets the star treatment in this cool and refreshing icy treat. Touted for its unique health benefits, parsley contains a variety of health benefits that may protect us from cancer and reduce the risk for leukemia, ovarian and cervical cancer. Wine Pairing: Cuvee Leonie Rosé, Canard-Duchene, Champagne, NV.

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We would like to thank all who attended Cuisine for the Cure, as well as City of Hope and all who made the All-Star Chef Classic possible. Also, a big thank you to all the chefs who showcased their masterful and innovative dishes. We look forward to another great event next year!

Did you attend any of the All-Star Chef Classic events? We’d love to hear your experience. Share with us in the comments below what you thought. Which were your favorite dishes? Which chefs did you look forward to seeing?

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