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The James Beard Foundation
30th Annual Gala

Editor in chief: Najaam Lee
Contributing Location Writer: Mitchell Acks
Photo credit: Photo by Mark Von Holden/Invision for James Beard Foundation/AP Images

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On Friday November 11, 2016, at the iconic Rainbow Room in New York City, the top culinary organization in the country, the JBF held its annual fall gala and fundraiser with this years theme, Singapore’s Culinary Crossroads presented by Singapore Tourism Board, which featured a mix of different cultural dishes created by some of Singapore’s and America’s finest chefs including Alfred Portale, Cat Cora, LG Han, Yew Eng Tong, and Cheryl Koh, along with Rainbow Room host chef Robert Aikens, and host pastry chef Kyung Kim. More than 200 guests were in attendance to enjoy the festivities.

The President of James Beard Foundation, Susan Ungaro, welcomed guests:

“Tonight we celebrate Singapore, one of the world’s great culinary melting pots, which cuisine shines with influences from China, Malaysia, India and more. It’s been said that Singapore is a food lover’s paradise. We all will understand why after tonight’s feast.”

The Gala began with an elegant reception featuring cocktails by Employees Only, music by Joelle and the Pinehurst Trio, and a silent auction of over 100 exciting culinary and travel packages which raised close to $250,000 to support the James Beard Foundation’s mission and programs.

The evening’s menu included the following items:

  • Reception included Petite Lobster Rolls with Yuzu Mayonnaise; Grilled Singaporean Chicken Satays with Spicy Peanut Sauce; Curry and Coconut-Spiced Short Rib Sliders with Pickled Cabbage and Avocado (Robert Aikens, Rainbow Room, NYC)
  • First Course: Langoustine–Daikon Ravioli with Langoustine Emulsion, Grapefruit, Salsa Verde, and Mentaiko (Cat Cora, Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora™, Singapore)
  • Second Course: Compressed Rougie Duck Foie Gras with Sauternes Jelly, Pistachio Purée, Sour Cherries, Chocolate Ganache, and Superfood Fried Bun (Yew Eng Tong, Ocean Restaurant by Cat Cora™, Singapore)
  • Third Course: Umami, Miso Blue Lobster with Burnt Chile Cream and Black Pepper Tuile (LG Han, Restaurant Labyrinth, Singapore)
  • Fourth Course: Singaporean Braised Beef Short Rib with Coconut Jasmine Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms, Chinese Broccoli, and Chile, Soy, and Ginger Glaze (Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar & Grill, NYC)

Special appearances at tonight’s gala were His Excellency Burhan Gafoor, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations; Kershing Goh, Regional Director, Americas, Singapore Tourism Board; Ranita Sundra, Director of Attractions, Dining and Retail, Singapore Tourism Board, as well as inaugural JBF National Scholars recipients Earlene Cruz, Matthew Johnson, and Sarah McKeen and JBF Board of Trustees members Kim Bernstein, Peter Cameron, Bernardo Hernandez, John Kessler, Emily Luchetti (Board Chair), Nancy Lukitsh, Wenda Harris Millard, Cindy McLoughlin, Richard Perlman, Walt Richter and Frederic Seegal.

Director, Ranita Sundra stated:

“The Singapore Tourism Board is honored to join the James Beard Foundation as the first-ever presenting partner of the JBF Gala. Our top local chefs are in New York representing Singapore and collaborating with top U.S. chefs on the night’s East meets West menu. This cuisine is evocative of the innovation, creativity and high standard of excellence found in Singapore’s vibrant and diverse dining landscape,”

“We hope the guests were inspired by the delectable dishes with Singapore flavors, and we invite all New Yorkers to experience our nation’s distinct cuisine first-hand by visiting Singapore for a culinary adventure.”

The evening’s Dessert Lounge was amazing and so delicious, created by pastry chef Cheryl Koh (Tarte and Les Amis, Singapore) and host pastry chef Kyung Kim (Rainbow Room, NYC),  who each presented a breathtaking array of desserts and petit fours, which ranged from Koh’s Singapore Sling Chocolate Egg Shooters to Kim’s delectable Matcha Cakes with Yuzu Curd. All through the duration of the after-dinner reception, we enjoyed sweet treats between sips of Michter’s US*1 American Whiskey and Foro Amaro, as well as espresso graciously provided by Lavazza.


About the James Beard Foundation (JBF)

Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that educate and inspire. 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 Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit Get food news, recipes, and more at the James Beard Foundation’s blog. Follow the James Beard Foundation on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


About Singapore Tourism Board

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a leading economic development agency in tourism, one of Singapore’s key service sectors. Known for partnership, innovation and excellence, STB champions tourism, making it a key economic driver for Singapore. We aim to differentiate and market Singapore as a must-visit destination offering a concentration of user-centric and enriching experiences through the “YourSingapore” brand. For more information, please visit



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