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The Crowd: AnQi presents at James Beard dinner

By  B.W. COOK  |  JUNE 19, 2015

Costa Mesa’s glamorous restaurateur Elizabeth An, of South Coast Plaza’s AnQi, was invited to present its signature Asian fusion cuisine at the James Beard House in New York.

Known as the “Carnegie Hall of cuisine,” the James Beard House and its society are considered the most influential culinary arbiters in the United States. Annually, the James Beard Foundation dinner in New York City recognizes the best and brightest talent on the culinary map and raises funds for scholarships benefiting the next generation of culinary artists.

An joined the executive team at House of An, including her dynamic mother, master chef Helene An, and AnQi’s talented chefs Tony Nguyen, Ron Lee and Elizabeth An’s son Derek An. Also front and center for the James Beard event was her sister, Catherine An.

The entire team created special dishes, including the French onion pho, filet of beef tartare and pan-roasted lobster with House of An’s garlic noodles, served to a select table of guests. Partaking in the Ans’ presentation were James Beard Foundation trustee John Kessler and his wife, Henni, and Diane Harris Brown, director of the Beard Foundation’s educational and community programming.


From the Big Apple to the Golden Orange

Elizabeth An has become a major benefactor for Costa Mesa-based Serving People In Need (SPIN). Plans are in the final stages for the annual fundraising dinner on Oct. 3 at AnQi at South Coast Plaza. Organizers say this will be a special night of food, wine and entertainment with guest stars from television’s “American Idol” and “The Voice” performing for the O.C. crowd.

Last week SPIN got a boost at the seventh annual ClubCorp Charity Classic. Proceeds from a gala dinner and golf tournament at Aliso Viejo Country Club benefit SPIN as well as ALS TDI’s Augie’s Quest and ClubCorp’s Employee Partners Care Foundation.

The two-day event featured a gourmet Friday night dinner, with auction and dancing created around a “vintage Vegas” theme. Then on Saturday, a shotgun play on the Jack Nicklaus Course attracted a full field of golfers for charity. In the crowd for SPIN were donors and board members Dick and Kim Crawford, Frank and Peggy Listi, Kim and John Frazier, and Executive Director Jean Wegener and family, including sons Brian and Jeff. The three charities will share $158,000 in proceeds.


A treasured Newport tradition

The 54th annual Roy Emerson Adoption Guild Tennis Classic took over the courts on the final two weekends in May. A lively kick-off event May 23 welcomed some 350 guests poolside at The Newport Beach Tennis Club. Eighteen local restaurants and vendors donated fare for the crowd prepared and served by generous culinary teams from Il Fornaio, Garduno’s, California Pizza Kitchen, La Cave, Ho Sum Bistro, Sabatino’s, Blue Water Grill, Rubio’s, Woody’s, True Food Kitchen and more.

Tennis pros and fans mingled, sampling the food and wine as guitarist Dave Dixon entertained, followed by the dance band Steve Orr & Wayne Jones kicking up the pace of the evening. Spotted poolside were major event sponsors Julia Brown and Burton Gonzell of Northern Trust Bank, Tom Carr, Dennis Claus, Larry and Heather Arnold, Lani Clark, Kevin and Jane Flynn, Chester and Patricia Houston, Pam Selber, Bob and Britt Meyer and Rod and Liz Maxson.


Girl’s Inc. awards Costa Mesa High School grad

Tania Jaramillo graduated this week from Costa Mesa High School. She will attend UC Santa Barbara in the fall to study biology and begin her pursuit of becoming a doctor.

Tania, who began her education Costa Mesa’s Sonora Elementary School, accepted a $5,000 grant from Girls’ Inc., made possible by funding from Kia Motors America. In addition, this accomplished young woman has received the Ronald McDonald House award of $5,000, the Edwards Life Sciences Scholarship of $10,000 and the Cost Mesa Fire Assn. Scholarship, among other honors.


Remembering lifeguard Ben Carlson

He died July 6, 2014, while attempting to save a swimmer. Lifeguard Ben Carlson is the only guard to sacrifice his life in the department’s 100 year history of protecting people in the ocean fronting Newport Beach.

Carlson was remembered recently at a fundraiser held in the A&O Kitchen+Bar at the Balboa Bay resort. An impressive $50,000 was raised from guests. The money will go toward scholarships created by Carlson’s family in his name and also support a statue to honor Carlson and all Newport lifeguards past, present and future.

The event was co-chaired by Devon Martin and John Wortmann and featured the support of baseball great Chuck Finley working as the bartender behind the counter. Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich and his wife, Lynn, was on hand with local VIPs including Tod Ridgeway, Tom Pollack, Steve Rosansky, Balboa Bay Resort owners Dick and Donna Pickup, Todd and Natalie Pickup, Kevin Martin, and Volcom co-founder Thom McEloy and his wife, Sara.

Also making significant contributions to the memorial were Blair Box, William and Sharon Blaine, Condren Hampton, Wayne and Roberta Wortmann, Doug and Kirsten Rugg, Greg and Cathleen Wervey, Greg and Lynnsey Parker, Jeff and Tracy Rowerdink, David Kernan, Gregson Hall and Mitchell and Joan Sussman.

THE CROWD runs Fridays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.