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On a snowy Monday night Rioja was packed full of hungry patrons waiting to eat 7 courses¬† paired wine all in an effort to raise money for Project C.U.R.E.’s Haiti relief. I couldn’t help but feel guilty as I tucked into my first course of duck confit sandwiches with lavender honey and currants, prepared by Chef Matt Anderson from Bistro Vendome. Next was Tasman King salmon carpaccuio with osetra caviar from Chef Max Mackissock from the Squeaky Bean. The evening continued with a beautiful salad of blood orange, fennel and Castelvetrano olives from Chef John Broewning from Duo and Olivea, hand made gnocchi with roasted poultry brodo mushrooms from Chef Travis Vaughn from Frasca Food & Wine, pan roasted wild striped bass with Dungeness crab cigars from Chef Jennifer Jasinski from Rioja and veal cheeks with sweet bread confit from Alex Seidel from Fruition. Just when you thought you couldn’t possibly eat one more bite the most amazing walnut tart with creme fraiche gelato was brought to the table from Yasmin Lozada Hissom from Olivea and Duo.

Donations were made by Southern Wine and Spirits, Leopold Brothers, City Bakery, Sysco Denver, Robinson Dairy, Northeast Seafood, Fresh Point Denver and Black River Caviar. Additionally, all the servers donated their gratuities in an effort to raise as much as possible. All in all $21,518 was raised for the victims of the earthquake which will deliver one container of life saving medical relief.

Watching 7 local and talented chefs plate 150 courses at a time made for a memorable and delicious evening. How lucky we are in Denver to have the talent, the passion and the generosity of such restaurants, vendors, chefs and servers.

Please in recognition of these wonderful chefs, visit their restaurants, congratulate their servers and remember that we are fortunate indeed.