Have knives, will travel. One of the coolest things that has happened in our towns over the past 5-7 years is that people want to come cook here. Thanks to events like Gavin Kaysen’s Synergy Series and the James Beard Taste America tour (tonight Yia Vang cooks with Jeremy Kean and Philip Kruta of Brassica Kitchen from MA), we’ve had a lot of great food from other regions just show up on our doorstep.
And now, since Jorge Guzman of Petite Leon made new friends while attending the James Beard Awards last year, there are more chefs bringing plates to share.
Friends With Benefits is a dinner series that kicks off in November at Petite Leon. Guzman welcomes Atlanta-based Cleophus Hethington a 2022 finalist in the Emerging Chef category on November 14. “We met at the Beards and really hit it off. He said: let’s do something together, let’s cook together. His food and flavors are rooted in a lot of history, with so much inspiration from the African diaspora,” Guzman told me on the phone. “With this series we really wanted to bring more culturally diverse chefs to the cities.”
The dinner will be run like a 6 course tasting menu for $100 per ticket. Additional wine pairings from Ben Rients will add $25, and Travis Serbus cocktails will be available a la carte. Proceeds from the dinner will benefit EatWell Exchange, a nonprofit that teaches communities how to make healthier nutritional decisions based on their culture.
Another dinner is planned for December, though it’s not on sale yet. Guzman teased out that it will be Chicago’s Jonathan Zaragoza who, in Guzman’s words, “is really the master of birria, there is none better.” That dinner will likely include Guzman’s special cochinita pibil in collaboration with birria dishes. What better way to kick off winter! Stay tuned for details on that.
October 25, 2022