Lifestyle & Culture

Auction Items From the Embassy Chef Challenge

May 9, 2014

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JUST SO YOU KNOW, on Thursday night, May 15, you’ll find me at the http://www.culturaltourismdc.org/portal/embassy-chef-challenge1Embassy Chef Challenge casing the joint for great auction items.

As a Community Partner with Cultural Tourism DC, which sponsors the great foodie event, MyLittleBird will be covering the gala with the lucky winners of the pair of tickets that MLB is offering. Yes, we’ll go behind the scenes and watch the organized chaos as more than a dozen chefs and their teams put  together hors d’oeuvres for the hungry horde that awaits on the main floor of the Ronald Reagan Building. And then we’ll join everyone in tasting and voting for our favorites.

But with my third eye I’ll be checking out the auction items. From past years, I know there will be food and beverage prizes (I once scored a case of  vodka from Kazakhstan–let me tell you, I’m still the only one on my block!). This go-round, it’s the Hungarians offering an item worth bidding on: six bottles of Tokaji dessert wine!

Or, Danish embassy chef Lars Beese could prepare a Nordic extravaganza dinner for six in my own dining room if I win the bidding in the evening’s silent auction.

There’s also a pair of Stella Artois “chalices” paved with Swarovski crystals (a $1,000 value) to mark 600 years(!) of Belgian beer craft.

And the live-auction item that will grab the attention of those with itchy feet (ahem): a pair of round-trip business-class tickets on Turkish Airlines to any one of 200-plus destinations. The airline, named the Best Airline in Europe in 2012, boasts luxurious appointments, hence the $20,000 price tag on this item.

But maybe I should save my money for the three-course dinner for 10 by Jean Van Haute of Haute Saison Catering. Jean was the Chef Challenge winner when he was chef at the Belgian embassy and was a real force in getting embassies to participate in the early years of the Chef Challenge. Not to mention he’s a fabulous cook!

That’s something that nine of my friends know well: We pooled our money a couple of years ago to win the Jean Van Haute dinner. Verdict? Worth every penny.

Which speaks to the dilemma that the Embassy Chef Challenge poses every year: Danish dinner or Belgian dinner? Hmmm. Hungarian wine or Belgian beer chalices? And what about those VIP tickets to see ABC’s “The Chew” sometime before June? Hmmm.

I guess the answers will sort themselves out on Thursday night. And even if I don’t wind up winning any of the auction items, the food and drink that will fill the evening will be reward enough.

Hungry yet? Some tickets are still available; go to Cultural Tourism DC’s website.

–Nancy McKeon

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