Their Compliments to the (22) Chefs

Forget the adage about too many cooks. Friday's 10-course dinner at the Four Seasons hotel created by 22 chefs was a masterly combination of food and festivities.

The dinner was the first of several across the country for the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation, named after the local culinary legend who brought haute cuisine to Washingtonand other places. "Jean-Louis Palladin changed food in America forever," said foundation Executive Director Ann Brody Cove. Palladin, who died in 2001, served as a mentor and inspiration to many of the top chefs in Washington today. And Friday they gathered to remember him -- and continue the tradition of grand food. The foundation identifies talented young chefs and funds internships to further their education. Joel Dennis spent 10 days with truffle farmers in France. "It changed my life forever and how I look at food," he said.

The meal was created by the four interns (featured in October's Gourmet magazine), along with 18 local chefs, including Patrick O'Connell, Todd Gray, Ann Cashion, Jeff Tunks, Douglas Anderson, Cesare Lanfranconi, Jeff Buben, Bob Kinkead, Ann Amernick, Kaz Okochi, Timothy Dean and Robert Wiedmaier, who organized the event.

The 100 guests (who paid a bargain price of $250 for food and wines) feasted on lobster, scallops with caviar, halibut with truffle sauce, foie gras, risotto, squab, lamb, tomato tart, vanilla flan, truffles and caramels, all washed down with fine wines.

The chefs received a standing ovation. "This is a very special occasion," said Wiedmaier, who then auctioned off six-course meals with wine for two at every restaurant represented. The two top bidders, Jed Shapiro and Paul Haar, each won a package with a combined $8,000 bid. The evening ended with a toast to Palladin and the late Julia Child by Wiedmaier. "May they be feasting on roast chicken together."

Fighting a Disease That Touches so Many

The lobby of the Ritz-Carlton Washington was filled with glass globes bearing names of those who have battled cancer -- a reminder of how many people are touched by the disease. Saturday night's Capital Barons' Ball brought together 460 guests who bid, dined and danced to raise $300,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Daniel Jobe of Capitol Cadillac donated a Hummer for the night's raffle. "My father passed away from cancer in 1990," he said. Similar stories floated through the main ballroom much of the night.

The evening's host, ABC newsman Sam Donaldson, shared his experience with skin cancer. Chanteuse Roberta Flack performed a set of her greatest hits "for my sister who has colon cancer, and my mother." Everyone played a part in the night's success.

"I figure, what more can you do for cancer if you're not a doctor?" asked gala co-chairwoman Wendy Gowdey, who designed the evening's decor: soft green lights accented with black and green linens strewn with white rose petals. "So this is what I do."

Writing the Book on Party Giving

"If you plan for Mr. Murphy to arrive, the best way to head him off is to be prepared," said Virginia Rodriguez at Friday night's reception for her new book, "Celebrate!," a comprehensive party guide for rookie hosts in the Washington area. Mr. Murphy, of the "If anything can go wrong, it will" Murphys, arrived at the Bethesda home of Buffy and Bill Cafritz in the guise of tornado warnings that kept a few of the invited 70 guests at home. But Rodriguez was prepared with 35 years of planning special events for The Washington Post. The soiree was a success thanks to golf umbrellas and sculptural displays of finger foods -- and Mr. Murphy didn't crash the party.

With Laura Thomas