Chef Celebration Kicks Off Annual Spring Dinner Series Highlighted By Tasting Event

March 25, 2016

For the past 20 years, Chef Celebration, a locally based non-profit ‘by chefs, for chefs,’ has made it their mission to build a foundation for San Diego’s culinary future by raising money to provide scholarships for San Diego’s young, aspiring chefs. Founded in 1995 by a small group of local toques, today the non-profit has grown to include more than 50 of the city’s most respected chefs, including Jeff Jackson (The Lodge at Torrey Pines) and Jeffrey Strauss (Pamplemousse Grille) among others, and has raised over $283,000 through their yearly dinner series and festival to provide culinary scholarships to more than 100 individual local recipients - many of which have become staples within San Diego’s culinary community including Stephen Gage (Underbelly), Hanis Cavin (Carnitas’ Snack Shack), and Victor Jimenez (Cowboy Star).

On Tuesday, March 29, Chef Celebration will kick off their annual Spring Dinner Series at Del Mar’s revered Pamplemousse Grille. The series will continue each subsequent Tuesday at various host restaurants throughout San Diego and will pair teams of top chefs with ambitious young talent to create incredible, multi-course meals for one evening only. Due to the tremendous success of last year’s series, Chef Celebration will add an additional dinner to their 2016 lineup, taking the weekly series through May, with the final sixth dining event to be hosted at the University Club atop Symphony Towers by Executive Chef Lance Repp on Tuesday, May 3.

"San Diego's culinary cred is on the rise in 2016, thanks in large part to our dedicated chefs who have built a foundation for success and make it their mission to foster our growing culinary community," says Jim Phillips, President of Chef Celebration. “As one of the only organizations of its kind, ‘by chefs, for chefs,' it’s fulfilling to all of our chefs involved to see the 100+ young culinarians who are touched by the scholarships that our programs and events raise money for.”

In addition to Chef Celebration’s five unique team dinners, on Sunday, May 1st, the non-profit’s 6th Annual Food & Beer Pairing Festival at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Liberty Station will see an jaw-dropping lineup of 14 food & beer pairings from the city’s top chefs and award-winning local breweries. A portion of all proceeds raised by Chef Celebration’s collaborative ‘Spring Dinner Series’ as well as May’s ‘Beer Master Pairing Event’ directly benefit the organization’s culinary scholarship program that sends ambitious lower and mid-level cooks on an all expenses paid, intensive weeklong training course at the highly regarded Culinary Institute of America Greystone in Napa, CA. Last year, 12 young guns from notable eateries including Ironside Fish & Oyster, Urban Solace, Leroy’s Kitchen + Lounge, Tidal, La Valencia, Pamplemousse and Craft & Commerce attended. This year, Chef Celebration aims to send 12 new rising star chefs come late September, who will be given the opportunity to learn from the best in their profession.

For this year's Chef Celebration Dinner Series , select beer or wine pairings for each menu will be available for an additional fee. Reservations are available from 5-9pm and should be made via phone with each restaurant directly. Additional details for each event are included below.

March 29, Pamplemousse Grille - 5-course menu with Jeffrey Strauss of Pamplemousse Grille,
Jeff Jackson of A.R. Valentien at The Lodge at Torrey Pines, Hanis Cavin of Carnitas Snack Shack, Nickolas Bour of Humphreys, and James Montejano of La Valencia Hotel - $85 per person - (858.792.9090).

April 5, Arterra Del Mar - 5-course menu with Evan Cruz of Arterra Del Mar, Paul McCabe of Town & Country Resort Hotel, Augie Saucedo of Brothers Signature Catering & Events, Jonathan Bautista of George’s at the Cove, and Craig Jimenez of SuperNatural Sandwiches - $65 per person - (858.369.6032).

April 12, Terra American Bistro - 5-course menu with Jeff Rossman of Terra American Bistro, Flor Franco of Indulge, Miguel Valdez of The Red Door Restaurant and Wine Bar, Kat Humphus of Savory Made Simple and Francesco Basile of Antica Trattoria - $65 per person - (619.293.7088).

April 19, Tom Ham's Lighthouse - 5-course menu with Kyle Kovar of Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, AG Warfield of Churchill’s Pub & Grille, Joe Pastry of Water’s Fine Catering, Stephen Gage of Underbelly North Park and Andy Halvorsen of Moto Deli - $65 per person - (619.291.9110).

April 26, Tidal - 5-course menu with Amy DiBiase of Tidal, Acursio Lotta of Solare Ristorante, Patrick Ponsaty of Bellamy’s Restaurant, Aaron Obregon of Bay Park Fish Company and DJ Tangalin of JRDN - $65 per person - (858.490.6363).

May 1, 6th Annual Chef Celebration Festival - 14 Breweries + 14 Chefs offer tastings from 12-3pm. Attendees can enjoy live entertainment while they sip and savor 14 small dishes created by a number of outstanding local chefs alongside 14 brews paired by “Certified Cicerone” and Stone Brewing Co. Craft Beer Ambassador Dr. Bill Sysak. $49 per person.

May 3, University Club Atop Symphony Towers - 5-course menu with Lance Repp of University Club, Phillip Esteban of Cork & Craft, Chris Gentile of Double Standard, David Roshensky & Mark Kropczynski of US Grant Grill and Aron Schwartz of Marina Kitchen at Marriott Marquis - $65 per person - (619.234.5200)

For more information on Chef Celebration, visit