By Kim Devore/Entertainment Writer

    The sirloin, the chardonnay and ooooh those spicy Dan Dan noodles. Super chef Celestino Drago was serving up a storm at the Jonathan Club for his annual eat-a-thon to benefit the National Kidney Foundation.

    This wasn’t your everyday vino and canap affair by any means, and there was a pleasing taste for every palate.

    Roy’s Christopher Garnier made the trek to whip up a yummy combo of seared sea scallops glazed with soy and saki on a bed of hearts of palm and dried lotus stems and tossed with truffle aioli. Border Grill had an equally exotic menu featuring yam fritters with pickled peppers, Cotija cheese and Guinua-an ancient Incan grain with carrots, tomato, cucumber and onion served in endive leaves.

    While most of the specialties at the 17th Annual Great Chefs of Los Angeles would be difficult to duplicate, some of these tempting treats can be attempted at home. Bernard J. Jacupy brought his creamy tomato soup from the south of France. “It’s like a gazpacho with a French twist,” he said. “The secret is to add some balsamic vinegar at the last minute.” Top with fresh basil, chopped cucumber, toasted almonds and-voila!

    While the great chefs were piling it on from their makeshift stations on the sand, Mr. D. was upstairs carving up a mountain of succulent tenderloin paired with purple Peruvian potatoes. The celebrated chef has been involved in the event every year since its inception and it remains one of his favorite causes.

    According to Drago, the dedication of the staff and sensational selection of fare sets this fundraising fete apart from the rest. “There are so many of these,” he says, “but this one is very special to me.”


    Expect lots of champagne wishes and caviar dreams on Nov. 18 as Elle Dcor and Champagne Taittinger host this year’s Dining by Design Gala at the Barker Hanger.

    Every year, the humble hanger is transformed into a dazzling party palace featuring opulent creations by the city’s premier designers, along with an equally sumptuous feast and first class entertainment, like this year’s performance by Cirque du Soleil. Proceeds from the event go toward Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, which provides funds to more than 1,000 organizations nation-wide.


    “Sweet Home Alabama’s” Reese Witherspoon looked right at home on the grounds of Ron Burkle’s whimsical Bev Hills estate. That’s where the movie cutie hosted a glorious brunch, which raised more than $600,000 bucks for the Rape Treatment Center of Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center.

    After putting in a few good words and making the rounds for a little meet and greet, she milled about the palatial grounds with friends like David Schwimmer, stand-up guy Jim Belushi, ex-Partridge Susan Dey and her one-time co-star Corbin Bernsen.