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