Photo Credit: Le Bon Apetit
17 Berkshire was honored to be a part of the Le Bon Appetit culinary event and fundraiser for a second year supporting Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital. More than 30 award-winning chefs from Memphis and across the country came together to offer up “great food for a great cause” this weekend. Over the course of its four iterations, Le Bon Appetit has raised more than $1 million for specialized medical equipment, child-specific programming, and technology for the Mid-South’s first and only comprehensive hospital dedicated to kids. This year’s lineup was unprecedented in expertise, diversity, and talent, and it is such a joy to bake beside both great chefs and great people.
Photo credit: Le Bon Apetit
Le Bon Appetit is a full-circle moment for me as a chef. I began my career as a nurse before following my culinary calling and opening my own bakery, and although my passion for pastries might have led me away from healthcare all those years ago, it might have also brought me right back.
It's been a few days post-event and I feel like I'm still on a "high". There are so many things I could talk about, but let's start with the kindness from the top. This event is put on by Chef Kelly English, who has become somewhat of an invisible mentor of mine. Chef Kelly not only put together an incredible event benefiting an integral part of the Memphis community but made sure to take care of the people participating in the event. Throughout the process, we were gifted aprons, goodie bags, invited to get-togethers, and during the event, the staff ensured we were fed, hydrated, and taken care of all around. I want to make sure that doesn't go unnoticed because it truly made us all feel special and welcomed.
As for the event itself, it was surreal to be among so many chefs I admire. I grew up watching Claire Robinson and Aaron Sanchez on the Food Network, so to be interviewed by them and sit alongside them was a dream. My husband, Alaa, came along with me to help as needed and I am so glad he did because the event was so busy! We had the chance to chat with a lot of frequent customers, former doctors I used to work alongside, guests visiting town, and new friends who had never heard of the shop before. We were wiped clean a few hours in, so we went off in search of whatever nibbles we could find. It seems like everyone else also had a successful night because the energy was incredible and the chef stations were bare! We were able to grab some samples from a few stations and man—it was ALL delicious!
I look forward to the next Le Bon Apetit in 2024, whether as a chef or as a guest. It's truly an event not to be missed!