California Spirit, the gala fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, now in its 32nd year(!), took place at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City on Sunday, July 16th. Hosted by chef Richard Blais, the event is a relatively small, intimate affair featuring a dozen restaurants from around Los Angeles. The event also featured a raucous live auction called by none other than Andrew Firestone of The Bachelor fame.
The restaurants in question ran the range of cuisines. Some of the newcomers to the event included 71 Above, Ayara Thai, and Takami:
Many restaurants bought multiple dishes. Returnee Wolfgang Puck Catering brought a savory dish, with included cocktail, and a dessert:
Barrel and Ashes brought three dishes, up from two from last year:
IDG is a restaurant group, also a repeat supporter of California Spirit, that brought multiple restaurants with them, BOA and ROKU, and each brought two dishes:
My favorite bite of the event was from Bouchon in Beverly Hills. I made sure to go back through the line a few times:
Speakers at the event were Bill Chait (founder of Sprout, the restaurant group behind Barrel & Ashes, Republique, and many other successful restaurants in L.A.), Phil Rosenthal (creator of Everybody Loves Raymond and diehard food enthusiast), and chef Derrick Fox (MasterChef), and Fran Drescher, this year’s event honoree, among others. Many shared how cancer affected their lives and praised the work the ACS does and the support they provide patients and families experiencing cancer.
The event seemed like a rousing success, though I haven’t heard the amount of funds raised yet. Last year it raised over $100,000 for the ACS. Hopefully they were able to match or exceed that!