A Night With the Stars

Each September for the past 19 years foodies and chefs have flocked to Gourmet Sensation, a culinary event that benefits a very good cause: Hospice of Cincinnati.For a foodie it's a bit like Taste

Each September for the past 19 years foodies and chefs have flocked to Gourmet Sensation, a culinary event that benefits a very good cause: Hospice of Cincinnati.

For a foodie it's a bit like Taste of Cincinnati on steroids.

Chefs from around the globe, as well as some local heavy hitters like Chef Romy Jung from The Palace and Jean-Robert de Cavel, donate their time and culinary prowess. Not only is there food, there's wine. Not only is there wine, there are suggested wine pairings.

This year's evening included a trip through the Woodford Reserve bourbon tasting room and a silent auction for items such as dinner at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse (and symphony tickets), a seven-course meal prepared in your home by Chef Romy and dinner for eight at the Coach & Four restaurant. Damn — I guess next year I'll have to stop eating long enough to attend the auction.

The event is a culinary Who's Who, so it can be tricky enjoying the evening the way I like best — undercover. Like a silent missile I troll the booths, making my way through the sea of pearls and high heels to watch the chefs and their assistants perform amazing feats under less-than-ideal conditions. I ignore the polite lines that form and dart in and out, looking a bit forlorn so some nice gentleman closer to the food might reach in and grab an extra plate for me.

My favorites were hard to choose this year. I expected, and got, nothing less than perfection from our local representatives (Chef Romy's rack of lamb with fingerling potato confit and asparagus with au jus and Jean-Robert's beef short ribs with blue cheese mushroom duxelles, fondue of corn and port glaze). But there were many nice surprises: the Tunesian dates wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and stuffed with Roquefort and scallions (from Olege Bulet of The Cellar Restaurant & Wine Bar in Bowling Green, Ky.), Yann Lainé's papillotte of halibut, tomato chutney and coconut emulsion from Restaurant Michel Rostang in Paris (France, that is) and Clay Miller's watermelon float with lemon verbena ice cream and a malted meringue wafer (The Ritz Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida).

Ah, if I could eat with the stars every night!

CONTACT LORA ARDUSER: larduser(at)citybeat.com

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