We couldn’t resist a chance to share the generosity and genius of our Cleveland chef community on display last night at University Hospitals Five Star Sensation. The epic food-focused fundraiser has been going on since 1987. Wolfgang Puck served as Host Chef for 25 years, handing over the reigns to native son “Iron Chef” Michael Symon prior to the 2015 event. (He’s pictured here with his very proud mom.)
Since its inception, the biennial event has raised more than $18 million for Seidman Cancer Center. This year’s Five Star Sensation gala gathered more than 80 chefs and vintners from around the country for an evening unsurpassed in culinary variety.
Chefs from as far away as Seattle and Hawaii joined Symon for a culinary collaboration like none other. Under a massive tent on the Tri-C East campus, guests grazed on food from notable chefs including Marc Forgione of American Cut (New York), Hubert Keller of Fleur (Las Vegas) and Perry Hendrix of Avec (Chicago).
The event was a chance for local chefs to shine was well. More than 2,000 people who attended the event saw a special kind of “Cleveland hustle.” We are never surprised to see the outpouring of generosity of our chef community at food-centric fundraising events. Working alongside the chefs were numerous restaurant staff and volunteers serving tasty bites at a rapid-fire pace and also plating it beautifully. It was nice to see the Tri-C Hospitality team participate, as their accessible and affordable programs are integral to the future of Cleveland’s culinary dominance.
Dishes from some of the local chefs included beef jerky bucatini carbonara with a minted pea tartare from The Greenhouse Tavern, coffee and ancho rubbed brisket from Momocho, pink peppercorn biscuits with goat cheese and strawberry jam from Fire, a yuzu curd and cucumber bloom from The Chef’s Garden/Culinary Vegetable Institute, and an array of BBQ favorites from Mabel’s BBQ.
Dishes from visiting chefs included a Hawaiian poke dish from Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max, roasted beets with whipped feta and rose harissa by Avec, and grilled octopus over hearts of palm with tomatoes and microgreens from Fleur.
More than a dozen decadent and playful desserts from renowned pastry chefs capped off the night. Spencer Budros of Pistacia Vera in Columbus plated a stunning dark chocolate cake and mint green macaron, and Natasha MacAller’s lime and strawberry tart was delicious alongside an “Eros God of Love” cocktail crafted by Anna Harouvis.
We want to be sure we recognize the talent and generosity of all of the participating Cleveland chefs: Summer Genetti and Derek Clayton (Michael Symon Restaurants), Douglas Katz (Fire), Karen Small (Flying Fig), Jonathan Sawyer (The Greenhouse Tavern), Matt Mytro and Paul Minnillo (Flour), Vishwatej Nath (Urban Farmer), Rocco Whalen (Fahrenheit), Eric Williams (Momocho), Anna Harouvis (Anna in the Raw), Thomas Capretta and Michelle Gaw (Tri-C Culinary Institute), Britt-Marie Culey (Coquette Patisserie), Jamie Simpson (Culinary Vegetable Institute), Steve Alexander and Adam Lizak (Cleveland Browns), Anthony Verona and John Selick (Sodexo).
Mitchell’s Ice Cream, The Cheese Shop at the West Side Market and Certified Angus Beef also contributed items to the affair. It was great to see Rust Belt Riders was on hand to compost food waste, and the event organizers did their best to minimize waste, using glassware and metal utensils instead of plastic. Stone Soup made sure any uneaten food was distributed to people in the community who are in need of it.
The grand scale of this event is possible in a city with a food and chef community as generous and openly collaborative as we have here in Cleveland. Make your plans to attend University Hospitals Five Star Sensation in 2019!
–Photos and story by Lisa Sands