The March of Dimes is one of my favorite charities to work with - click here to read about them.
Every year the March of Dimes puts on a really wonderful event in Boulder (and many locations in Colorado and elsewhere) called Signature Chefs. This foodie friendly gathering is a giant fundraiser for MOD where the best chefs from the area come together with samples of food that are paired with wine and beer. The chefs and restaurateurs donate all of their time and food so the foundation can sell tickets and use all of the money for their amazing work. I've been doing this event for the past 12 years and I've represented 5 different restaurants during that span. It's not only a great cause, but it's fun. As chefs we never get to be working together, at the same time, in the same place. It's a lot of fun because we all know each other but we rarely get to cook and show off to each other.
As the Jax chef, I ALWAYS bring oysters. They are the one thing people demand of us. If I showed up with shrimp wrapped in hundred dollar bills being served by supermodels but no oysters, there would be a riot. So...the oysters were served with a cucumber-chile mignonette. I also brought poached shrimp with creole remoulade and Alaskan wild king salmon with celery root-pear puree and porcini mushrooms. Vince, Aaron and Nate helped me out and everything was as smooth as that tequila we kept sipping from the Centro table (sorry Devlin!)
Now for the funny part.
As a representative of MOD, they asked me to promote the event Thursday morning (day of event) on Fox 31 and KWGN 2 television stations. I had just driven back into town the night before and was exhausted. I got up at 5:30 am, drove to Jax, and started prepping some samples for the shows. I got it all going, made some coffee, checked emails, and was generally moving slowly. All of a sudden I realized I had 45 minutes to get to the studio (they needed me there at 7:45). I started freaking out and packed up as quickly as possible. Of course the traffic was the most clogged it had been in centuries. I hopped on the HOV lane (yeah, just me) and did my best to beat the clock. When I finally got to the block where the stations are - 20 minutes late at this point - I took the wrong turn. All of a sudden I'm on a one-way street heading the wrong way. After a few near wrecks and a lot of angry drivers saying things to me I can't repeat, I finally found the building. As I raced in the front door, my friends at the station gently reminded me I had LESS THAN 5 MINUTES before I was on the air. When I got to the studio, I put together three dishes faster than anything I did on Top Chef. The sound guy was wiring me as the camera was turning towards me. The interview/demo went great, despite being out of breath and sweat beads forming on my forehead. If I had run into one more snag on my way, the spot never would have happened. Talk about pushing time limits....
Anyway. The event was a success. The TV spots were a success. The food was all eaten. And now there are more happy healthy babies being born with the assistance they need. All good stuff.