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Albisu looks pretty calm considering how many chefs invaded his kitchen! (Image: Rey Lopez)

Behind the scenes at a James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour dinner

"16 chefs, 1 unforgettable dinner." That was the motto of last week's James Beard Foundation's Celebrity Chef Tour dinner at Del Campo, and unforgettable it was! I'm still dreaming about the hot and sour pumpkin soup and the spicy shumai that we had -- even looking at the pictures right now is making me salivate.

But can you imagine 16 star chefs all cooking in one kitchen, navigating around one another, collaborating on courses and somehow not killing each other?

“The most important thing about these dinners is to let the chefs do what they want and not be overly themed," said hosting chef Victor Albisu of Del Campo and Taco Bamba. "I try to invite chefs who understand their responsibility to the dinner and our guests, as well as those who believe in the cause. It’s all about who you choose to collaborate with that leads to the best results."

See the full menu below and scroll through the photo gallery for a few snaps behind the scenes.

Passed Hors D’oeuvres:

Chef Mike Isabella, Mike Isabella Concepts (Washington, D.C.)
Marouri-filled Loukoumades, Truffle Honey

Chef George Pagonis, Kapnos (Washington, D.C.)
Taramasalata, Chickpea Blini, Caviar

Chef Jennifer Carroll, Requin (Fairfax, VA)
Deviled Lamb Rillettes Macerated Cherries, Pickled Mustard Seed

Wine pairings: Choice of Biutiful Cava Brut, Cava, Spain NV; Etude "Grace Benoist Ranch" Pinot Noir, Carneros, CA 2014; or Las Perdices Pinot Grigio, Mendoza, Argentina 2015

First Course (Dim Sum):

Chef Scott Drewno, The Source by Wolfgang Puck (Washington, D.C.)
Hot & Sour Pumpkin Soup, Roasted Short Rib, Brisket & Bone Marrow Dumplings

Chef Tim Ma, Kyrsian (Washington, D.C.)
XO Bone Marrow, Cilantro, Preserved Lemon, Scallion Pancake

Chef Danny Lee, Mandu (Washington, D.C.)
Yukhoe - Korean Beef Tartare

Chef Erik Bruner-Yang, Maketto (Washington D.C.)
Spicy Laab Shumai Ground Pork, Yellow Curry Paste, Chilis, Fresh Herbs

Sake pairing: Gekkeikan "Suzaku", junmai ginjo-shu sake, Kyoto, Japan

Second Course:

Chef Justin Severino, Cure and Morcilla (Pittsburgh, PA) and Chef Tarver King, The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm (Lovettsville, VA)
Crab Craquelon, Uni Toast, Bottarga Mustard, Salt Cod Crackers, Swordfish Finnocchiona, Salmon Nduja, Scallop Mortadella

Wine pairing: Sohm & Kracher Gruner Veltliner, Neiderosterreich, Austria 2011

Third Course:

Chef Kyle Bailey, Sixth Engine (Washington, D.C.) and Chef Haidar Karoum (Washington, D.C.)
Charred Pork Heart, Black Rice and Pork Schmaltz Chao , Pickled Watermelon, Rice Cracklin’, Vietnamese Herbs

Wine pairing: Chateau Raspail Gigondas, Rhone Valley, France 2012

Fourth Course:

Chefs Gabrielle and Greg Denton, Ox, (Portland, OR) and Chef Victor Albisu, Del Campo (Washington, DC) and Taco Bamba (Falls Church and Vienna, VA)
Selection of Wood Grilled and Smoked Meats and Vegetables ( Wood-grilled ribeye with confit ribeye cap with smoked tomato chimichurri; Gratin of escarole, white bean and bagna cauda; Sicilian sausage; Ink-marinated sweet breads with romesco and an escabeche of calamari and lamb tenderloin)

Wine pairing: Les Dix de Los Vascos, Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley, Chile 2012

Fifth Course (dessert and cheese):

Chefs Amy Brandwein and Amanda Cook-Pilkerton, Centrolina (Washington, D.C.)
Homemade Labne and Gaglioppo Poached Pears, Pistachio Croccante Apple Pie Baba, Rum Whipped Cream, Candied Walnuts, Cranberry

Wine pairing: Felsina, Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico, Berardenga, Italy 2004


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