Chefs for Equality Celebrates 10 Years with ‘Plate of Emergency’

An area is prepared for a Speed Dinner-meets-Drag Brunch at the 10th Chefs for Equality. Image credit: Kate Michael

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation and prominent food writer David Hagedorn hosted the 10th Chefs for Equality at the National Building Museum in late October. This evening of food, drink, entertainment, fundraising, and awareness brought together over 150 of the Washington area’s greatest chefs, bakers and mixologists to support HRC’s fight for full LGBTQ+ equality.

Kate Michael, Matt and Anna Wildman at the 10th Chefs for Equality.

2023’s theme, Plate of Emergency, called attention to intensified attacks on the LGBTQ+ community. But while the complex challenges confronting the community were the focus, food and friends were the highlight of the night.

Christopher Vazquez and Rick Davis of Amaryllis Floral + Event Design transformed the National Building Museum into a smorgasbord of 40 savory tasting stations and 20 crafted cocktail bars — each helmed by a renowned chef or mixologist from the Greater D.C. area. Guests tasted delights like Maryland oysters served by True Chesapeake Oyster, raclette from Stable, and scallops from Bronze.

From the 10th Chefs for Equality at the National Building Museum

New this year, a Speed Dinner-meets-Drag Brunch interactive entertainment experience allowed guests to enjoy brunch-inspired bites, a specialty cocktail, and an exclusive drag performance curated by (the now-shuttered) Crazy Aunt Helen’s. There was also a new café in the middle of the action that featured Latin-inspired savory dishes, pastries, and libations from D.C.-based Colada Shop Cuban Cafe & Bar; and a private Upper Tier Champagne & Caviar Lounge attracted VIPs.

The region’s top pastry chefs prepared stunning show-piece cakes, though guests had to wait to sample these at the end of the evening.

The whole event, attended by over 800 guests, was a delicious way to show that, as Hagedorn said, “The chef community stands at the ready to turn up the heat and fight even harder to protect and promote equality.”

All proceeds from ticket sales and Chefs for Equality’s silent auction benefit the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s nationwide educational work for LGBTQ+ equality.