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Chefs offer Sundance goers an alternative

Chefdance brings film teams, financers together for fine dining

“There’s a lot of great restaurants in Park City. The problem is, they’re all packed, and every film wants to host a dinner for their cast and executives,” said Kenny Griswold, who along with Mimi Kim launched Chefdance nine years ago to give festgoers a relaxed chance to eat and schmooze.

The five-night series of dinners kicks off tonight at 427 Main St. (the former Harry O’s space) with a roster of intriguing chefs cooking for two festival film teams each night. Films include Spike Lee’s “Red Hook Summer” and comedy “Save the Date.”

Each dinner hosts 250 guests, a mix of filmmakers, talent and execs from the invited films and finance professionals from private equity and banking groups in an atmosphere where “you can actually finish a conversation,” Griswold said.

Tonight’s dinner is by chefs from San Diego’s Sea Rocket Bistro, with such imaginative touches as kimchi cotton candy and pork cheeks with apple pop rocks and mustard paint. Saturday’s dinner offers a rare chance to taste Tijuana chef Javier Plascencia’s food outside of Mexico. The Baja Med cuisine pioneer will serve dishes including sous vide beef tongue with black mole and yellowfin tuna parfait. “Top Chef” winner Hung Huynh prepares a seafood-focused menu Sunday, while Monday’s dinner from “Iron Chef” judge Donatella Arpaia features gnocchi with white truffles.

Griswold said the fact that no money changes hands — Nicholas Foods provides many of the ingredients — helps cultivate a relaxed atmosphere the finance pros appreciate.

Chefdance’s dinner-party format, which also addresses the difficulty in securing Park City reservations, has spawned other chef-driven events during the fest.

The Supper Club takes over the Blue Iguana with restaurateur-TV host Todd English working with chefs including Zakary Pelaccio of New York’s Fatty Crab. “Top Chef” alum Marcel Vigneron toplines Supper Suite at Montage Deer Valley, while Goodnight Gansevoort at the One Group House serves up dinners for pics including “Lay the Favorite” from New York restaurants STK and Asellina.

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