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Fundraising Party Planned for Warhol’s James Beard Dinner

To be invited to present dinner at the James Beard Foundation (JBF) in New York City is a singular achievement in the career of any chef. Just ask Ross Warhol of Oliver’s Restaurant, who will cook there on Saturday, June 24. In a recent interview, he called the invitation “a milestone.”

“If you’re invited to the [James Beard] House, it means you are on the radar,” he said. “It means you’re getting noticed by people outside of the city that you are cooking in.”

It is also a costly achievement. The JBF is a nonprofit, which means the presenting chef and his affiliate restaurant are responsible for all the labor, food, transportation, and travel costs associated with the dinner. It is an expense expected to creep upwards of $10,000 when all is said and done.

To help offset the costs and to celebrate the honor bestowed on Chef Warhol, Oliver’s is hosting a ticketed, in-restaurant party on Monday, June 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. All proceeds will fund the JBF dinner.

Party attendees can expect cocktails and hors d’oeuvres from the JBF dinner menu, including fresh oysters accented with celery-gin granita, freeze dried black currants, lemon balm, and spirulina powder; mushroom tortellini with foie gras demi-glace, and blue cheesecake tarts.

Bleu cheese tart served at last month’s tasting menu

There will also be action stations where guests can witness the skills, techniques, and gadgets behind two of the JBF dinner’s plated courses. Chef Warhol’s signature Decadence of Eggs—lush layers of yolk custard, crispy pancetta, and potato foam served in a hollowed out egg shell—will likely be one of the dishes demonstrated.

The fundraising party will thus give fans of Chef Warhol’s work a peak at what he will be presenting in New York. According to Chef Warhol, it will be a soul-bearing testament to his years of hard work and long hours, and a culmination of his diverse experiences and influences.

“The dinner will be a celebration of every single person I had the pleasure of working with or working under. And all of the spots I’ve cooked in over the years will definitely show through on the menu. I’m bringing a little Sweden with me. I’m bringing a little Spain with me. California. All the people I have met in my career thus far will be with me on that day.”

Burger being served next month for the JBF promotion

Tickets for the fundraiser are $125 and can be purchased in person at Oliver’s or by phone at 716.877.9662. The restaurant is also accepting monetary donations as well as items for the party’s silent auction. Any monies raised beyond the cost of the dinner will be donated to the JBF to fund its educational and culinary scholarship programs.

Lead image: The Private Chefs’ Room where dinner will be served

About the James Beard Foundation

A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The JBF also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. 

Written by Caitlin Hartney

Caitlin Hartney

Caitlin has covered local food and drink for Buffalo Rising since 2015, having previously written for Artvoice, the Public, and the Buffalo News. She works full time in marketing communications and is earning her master's degree in history at University at Buffalo, the latter of which occasionally informs her writing. Most importantly, she likes the word "moist" and doesn't care who knows it. How else do you describe a great piece of cake?

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