UC San Diego News Center


Cuisine for a Cause: 32nd Annual Celebrity Chefs Cook Gala Slated for Apr. 27

Evening of “Epicurean Elegance” to benefit UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center

Award-winning chefs from San Diego and across the country will convene in La Jolla for a night of “Epicurean Elegance” and philanthropy on Saturday, April 27 at the 32nd annual Celebrity Chefs Cook Gala. Benefitting the University of California San Diego Moores Cancer Center, the event will feature 11 prominent chefs preparing their signature hors d’oeuvres paired with fine wine. This year, all proceeds will support the cancer center’s visionary initiative MyAnswertoCancer™, which uses DNA analysis to make personalized cancer treatment a reality.

The evening of “Epicurean Elegance” will begin with signature dishes prepared by award-winning chefs and a selection of fine wines.

The Celebrity Chefs Cook Gala, a local tradition for more than three decades, has raised more than $9 million since its inception to advance cancer research, patient care, community outreach and education programs at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center—the region’s only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute. Last fall, the center launched MyAnswertoCancer™ with the goal of ending “one size fits all” cancer treatments. By sequencing patient tumor DNA, MyAnswertoCancer™ aims to revolutionize the ability to predict who will respond to a specific treatment and to match each patient with the best drug for a particular tumor.

Jean-Michel Diot, chef and owner of Tapenade Restaurant in La Jolla.

“MyAnswertoCancer™ brings together expert doctors, bioinformaticians, pathologists and geneticists to approach cancer analysis and treatment in a game-changing way,” said Razelle Kurzrock, M.D., senior deputy director for clinical science at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. “We have the technology and the expertise, and we have a plan. Funds raised from the Celebrity Chefs Cook Gala will enable us to put our plan into action.”

Chairing the event this year will be Joann and Eric Weitzen. Joann was just eight years old when she lost her mother, who was 31 years old, to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Today, patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma can often be successfully treated. Eric Weitzen also lost his father to cancer—chronic lymphatic leukemia.

“The progress in fighting cancer has come such a long way. If today’s technology had been available at the time, my mother might still be alive,” said Joann Weitzen. “I believe that there will be a cure for many types of cancer in our lifetime, and the route that UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center is taking—personalized, targeted cancer therapy—is going to help us get there.”

In addition to the prominent restaurants represented at the gala, this year the Moores Cancer Center’s Healthy Foods Cooking program will join the lineup of chefs to demonstrate easy, healthy recipes that nourish the body and help fight disease. Top chefs for the 2013 Celebrity Chefs Cook Gala include:

  • Amanda Baumgarten – Herringbone, La Jolla, CA
  • James Boyce – Cotton Row Restaurant, Huntsville, AL
  • Thomas Broder – Broder’s Cucina Italiana, Minneapolis, MN
  • Jean-Michel Diot – Tapenade Restaurant, La Jolla, CA
  • Susan Faerber – Healing Foods Kitchen at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA
  • Paul Ferzacca – La Tour Restaurant, Vail, CO
  • Bernard Guillas – The Marine Room, San Diego, CA
  • Chris Karetas – Carriage Trade Catering, San Diego, CA
  • Stephanie O’Mary-Berwald – Pacifica Del Mar, Del Mar, CA
  • Jeff Rossman – Terra American Bistro, San Diego, CA
  • Adam Stuart – Sbicca Del Mar, Del Mar, CA

Susan Faerber, chef at the Healing Foods Kitchen at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

Providing a selection of wines for the evening will be wineries and distributors including: Banfi Vintners, Daou Vineyards & Winery, Domaine Drouhin, Domaine Serene, Marisco Vineyards, Newton, Ramey Wine Cellars, Wilson Creek Winery, Witch Creek Winery and X Winery and Amicus Cellars.

The food and wine chairs for the 2013 Celebrity Chefs Cook Gala are Marie Kelley and George Karetas. Serving as master of ceremonies at the event will be Peggy Pico, the host of KPBS Evening Edition.

The event will take place at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla.  Following the cocktail reception, guests will enjoy an elegant dinner, program and dancing with live music by The Heroes. Tickets are $350 or $500 and sponsorships are available. For details and reservations, call (858) 246-1230 or visit More information about UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center can be found at

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