This weekend was a whirlwind of events, celebrities, parties and lots of food. The main food event was Taste of the NFL at Cow Palace, where 32 chefs (one from each NFL city) prepared bites of food for over 2,000 people. Andrew Zimmern hosted the evening, which gives 100 percent of its proceeds to food banks and food pantries in the 32 NFL cities — the last 25 years of the event has raised over $24 million, which translates to 192 million meals. Here are the highlights from Saturday’s event.
1. There were several celebrities in attendance, including Nick Lachey and Alyssa Milano. Unclear if they actually stayed for the event or just walked the carpet, since they were nowhere to be found later in the night.
2. All the participating chefs provided the food themselves, and weren’t paid to cook. Representing San Francisco was David Lawrence (1300 on Fillmore, Black Bark), who made salt-roasted beets with chive goat cheese, Pixie tangerines and a pecan streusel. According to Lawrence, his brand-new restaurant Black Bark has been selling out nightly.
3. Each team also sent a current or past player (who also did not get paid to attend), and from the 49ers it was Chris Doleman, a Hall of Famer who played for the team from 1985 to 1999. Doleman told Eater his favorite SF chefs are Michael Mina and David Lawrence … which was pretty predictable.
4. Chefs did not hold back on the food they brought — the most extravagant dish goes to the Patriots, whose chef representative Steve DiFillippo (Davio’s) was actually shaving black truffle over handmade cavatelli with housemade pork sausage and Parmesan cheese.
5. An auction toward the end of the evening raffled two tickets to the Super Bowl and attendance at the NFL’s post-party. A baller bought them for $15,000, then proceeded to gift them to Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell, who was there and had just performed "Georgia On My Mind."
6. Third Eye Blind closed out the night — yes, really — with a live performance that not many people paid attention to.