My reign as Miss Nevada

Celebrity Chefs Cook for a Cause

Since the New Year, life has been (shocker!) a non-stop train of appearances, conventions, fashion shows, interviews, articles, and editing. I’ve also tried to maintain a steady schedule of  yoga, exercise and down time to balance my coffee intake and workload (HAH- guess how THAT’S going). But mostly, it feels like I’ve been burning the midnight oil well through the afternoons.

With so many exciting events, it all feels like a blur. I have a horrible time remembering what day it is and refuse to accept January is almost over. After all, I haven’t had time to tackle the forty overly-ambitious things I put on my January To-Do list. But I’ve gotten to do things like sing with Stratosphere headliner Frankie Moreno so I’ll deal with the fleeting days. :)

Photo by Billy Ward Photography

Plus my moving-and-shaking schedule has led me to be a part of some pretty cool things. In fact, I may have just witnessed one of the most memorable nights in Vegas history. (Oh yeah, it’s a good one…)

Last week, I joined an all-star (and I mean ALL-STAR) line up of celebrity chefs in Las Vegas for a special benefit dinner for well-known Vegas food critic, Max Jacobson. Launching the first of many Chefs to the Max events, the world’s most renowned chefs (including Bobby Flay, Hubert Keller, Thomas Keller, Bradley Ogden, and Rick Moonen) gathered to create an incomparable seven-course meal for 100 attendees.

Photo by Erik Kabik

Photo by Erik Kabik/RETNA

An event like this would normally take a year to plan. Rick Moonen of Rx’s Boiler Room arranged it in under three weeks.

Photo by Erik Kabik/RETNA

Photo by Erik Kabik/RETNA

Max Jacboson, personal friend to the chefs in attendance, was hit by a car while walking to the gym just days before Christmas. Since then he’s remained in critical condition with the medical bills piling up. Tickets sold for $1,000 a piece and all proceeds went straight to Jacobson’s family to help alleviate the costs.

When I heard the benefit was on, I e-mailed Chef Rick Moonen offering to help however possible. (We had previously worked together on a USA Today piece). I didn’t know Max personally, but I followed his column and knew of his legacy. I wanted to help. Rick e-mailed back right away, sharing a resounding YES, asking me to greet and mingle with guests.

Photo by Erik Kabik/RETNA

Photo by Erik Kabik/RETNA

Besides the obvious benefit of spending a night surrounded by so many talented chefs creating bites of heaven, I had the unique opportunity to talk to the chefs about their friendships with Max. The love in the room for this journalist was palpable. I could only hope to one day have as many friends in one room as Max had pulling for him that evening.

Photo by Erik Kabik/RETNA

Photo by Erik Kabik/RETNA

After dinner, Robin Leach hosted an auction including handcrafted meals from celebrity chefs, cocktails with Leach himself, and a private jet trip to Napa Valley. In a matter of hours we raised close to $300,000.

And while announcing the winner of the Kampachi showdown between Rick Moonen and Bobby Flay was CERTAINLY a highlight (Moonen won, btw), as well as having the chefs sneak me out dishes to taste, the best part of my evening was meeting Jacobson’s family.

By Joe

Their appreciation and gratitude for my attending was overwhelming. It didn’t make sense to me. I was just a girl in a tiara standing by the door. The event very well could have (and would have) carried on without me. But nonetheless, they thanked me profusely and enthusiastically for my involvement.

But I guess that’s just it, isn’t it? Sometimes all that matters is that you showed up and stood there.

I can still feel the hug from his niece. I hope I don’t soon forget what that feels like.

Wishing you a speedy recovery, Max. We’re all rooting (and cooking) for you.

8 Comments

  • Reply

    Aunty C

    January 25, 2014

    So proud of you!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      February 3, 2014

      Thank you, Aunt Carolyn! I loved being a part of Max’s event!

  • Reply

    Gene

    January 26, 2014

    I hope Max gets better soon. He has a wonderful support group and getting the support from all these wonderful people will definitely help speed his recovery.

    That had to be an awesome night. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Reply

      Hilary

      February 3, 2014

      Thanks, Gene. I hear he is making great strides in his recovery which is wonderful to hear.

      And it was. I feel very blessed to have been a part of it. Thank you for reading :).

      If you could pick any chef to make you a dinner, who would you choose?

  • Reply

    Lynn

    January 28, 2014

    Amazing girl
    Get your sleep
    you are a wonder
    Love always Ya know!

    • Reply

      Hilary

      February 3, 2014

      Thank you, Lynn! Yes, I certainly need more sleep these days, so it seems ;).

      Sending you lots of love from my corner of the globe to yours! All the best!

  • Reply

    Grandma

    February 1, 2014

    So proud of you, darling girl!! Love, Grandpa and Grandma

    • Reply

      Hilary

      February 3, 2014

      Thank you both!

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About Me

About Me

Hey fellow adventurers, my name is Hilary! After being rejected from grad school, I took off on a solo journey around the world. Now I constantly challenge myself to take on new experiences. This blog documents my journeys from Europe to Fiji, swimming with sharks and living with tribes, to becoming an accidental beauty queen and working for one of the top national media outlets. If you like what you're reading, please subscribe! Here's to the next great adventure!

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