An Explosive Culinary Creation:16 Top Chefs Unite For One Evening

It’s a culinary delight unlike any Louisville’s experienced before, and one foodies should, unquestionably, add to their plate.

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the James Beard Foundation, 16 premier, local chefs will unite at the Brown Hotel on Friday, Sept. 14, for the Friends of James Beard Benefit Dinner, presented by Sullivan University and sponsored by The Voice-Tribune, among other businesses.

“It’s a great honor to be chosen and for us at the Brown Hotel, to have all those chefs under one roof, it’s pretty amazing,” said Executive Chef of the Brown Hotel Laurent Geroli, who will serve as host chef of the event.

The dinner will support the James Beard Foundation, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to nurturing and preserving America’s diverse culinary heritage and future, as well as the scholarship fund for Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies. “(Sullivan was) looking to create an event for the city of Louisville that would really turn heads in the culinary world and create a game-changing event for this year,” Dean of Sullivan University’s National Center for Hospitality Studies Keith Lerme said of the exclusive dining affair.

On the night of the benefit dinner, the team of chefs will pair off in twos to prepare a seven-course menu served à la minute, or prepared to order, as opposed to cooked in advance and held for service. Dishes will include such fantastic fare as Hawaiian ahi tuna tartare, Seared Oceans Fleet Fisheries diver scallops and Berkshire pork tenderloin with smoked fingerling potatoes, Cantonese-style char siu, and edamame – wasabi purée. Each course will be coupled with a different wine provided by Southern Wine and Spirits.

Among those collaborating for the special, one-of-a-kind occasion are Kathy Cary of Lilly’s; Joe Castro of General Electric; S. Dean Corbett of Corbett’s: An American Place and Equus & Jack’s Lounge; Mike Cunha of Sullivan University; Agostino Gabriele of Vincenzo’s; Jim Gerhardt of Limestone Restaurant; J.J. Kingery of Wild Eggs; Anthony Lamas of Seviche; Peng Looi of Asiatique and August Moon Chinese Bistro;  Ghyslain Maurais of Ghyslain on Market; Dallas McGarity of The Marketplace Restaurant at Theater Square; Anoosh Shariat of Anoosh Shariat Restaurant Group; Julian Van Winkle of Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery, Frankfort, Ky.; John Varanese of Varanese; and Shawn Ward of Jack Fry’s Restaurant.

Though Beard, a cookbook author, teacher, mentor and champion of American cuisine, died in 1985, his legacy inspires many of the chefs participating in the dinner, including Winston’s Restaurant at Sullivan University Chef John Castro.

With the inspiration of Beard, along with the unique craftmanship of each cook, the Beard Benefit Dinner is sure to be a hit. It’s not often you find this many chefs working together, especially of this caliber. And you may not see it happen again for quite some time.

“It’s a pretty rare event, there are very few cities that have as many chefs as we do who have been to the Beard House,” said Castro, also serving as host chef of the dinner. “And to bring them all together, to bring a group of chefs together … it can be a feat for sure.”

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a reception. The first course of the seven-course dinner will be served at 7 p.m. Cost is $150 per person for James Beard Foundation members and $175 per person for non-members. To reserve a seat or full table, call the Brown Hotel at 502.583.1234 or visit

The Brown Hotel is also offering room packages in conjunction with the dinner. Rates are $129 plus tax for a deluxe room, with club upgrades available for an additional $30 a night. For booking, visit

For more information on the James Beard Foundation dinner, visit