Celeb Chefs Judge Law Firm Cook-Off
The folks evaluating lawyers' performances are usually wearing robes and holding gavels. For the Legal Aid Cooking Competition, the celeb judges were wearing chef's togs. The cook-off comes on the heels of the eight-week Generous Associates Campaign, which raised a record $1.367M.
This Generous Associates Campaign—a fundraising drive run by associates at DC firms—is the most successful campaign in Legal Aid's history, raising around 25% of its budget. Top fundraisers are given a chance to qualify for a cooking team. At CulinAerie, we snapped Legal Aid legal director Chinh Le, celeb judge and WaPo food editor Bonnie Benwick, Legal Aid exec director Eric Angel, and CulinAerie co-founder Susan Holt. Susan hosted the event in the cooking school and acted as emcee.
Miller & Chevalier won the cook-off for the second straight year, with its "Apple & Pork Stack," composed of a Fuji apple base, caramelized honey crisp apples with beer and maple syrup, crispy bacon and an apple and Brussels sprout slaw with apple cider, and apple sangria on the side.
Eight other teams wielded spatulas: Goodwin Procter, McGuireWoods, Norton Rose, Pillsbury, Venable, Wiley Rein, Williams & Connolly, and WilmerHale. Celeb judge Patrice Olivan, right—longtime French Embassy executive chef, regular guest chef at the White House and Iron Chef competitor—advised Venable government contracts associate Collier Johnson as his team prepped its dish.
We snapped the third celeb judge, Chef Teddy Folkman, the executive chef and co-owner of Granville Moore and the BAROAK Restaurant and DC Beer Week co-founder, with Legal Aid's Karen Bates.
Wiley Rein's Jessica Lim, Mike Gridley, Joe Kakesh and Jen Williams snagged third place with their dessert dish— "Apple Cinnamon Toast Crunch"—an apple and sausage chutney served on top of toasted bread covered with melted gruyere and fresh apple. It merited celeb judge Chef Patrice Olivan heading back for seconds (no mean feat considering he was tasting nine dishes).
Pork was a popular accompaniment to the apples, as noted by Norton Rose partner Mark Emery above. Goodwin Procter's team, second place winners, tried something different with an "Apple Harvest Chicken" on top of coconut risotto with Brussels sprout apple slaw and apple chutney. The honorary chair for this year's high-flying Generous Associates Campaign was Latham partner and former White House Counsel Kathy Ruemmler. Latham and WilmerHale were the two highest-fundraising firms, generating more than $300k combined.