Jimmy Kimmel was among the celebrity food-lovers who helped raise more than $1.3 million to fight pediatric cancer at the eighth annual L.A. Loves Alex’s Lemonade fundraiser on Saturday.
It was Kimmel’s first time at an event with 5-month old son Billy, and the talk show host was extra emotional about the cause of fighting childhood illness after Billy’s nerve-wracking heart surgery in his first weeks. Kimmel’s wife Molly McNearney and their 3-year old daughter were also soaking up rays and tasty bites.
More than 2,000 people filled UCLA’s sunny Royce Quad, which was ringed by food stands from some of the country’s most prominent chefs. Kimmel’s favorite pizza maker, Phoenix’s Chris Bianco, brought lasagna instead of pizza, while Adam Perry Lang, another close Kimmel associate, drew the longest lines for his lavishly-marbled, long-smoked brisket. Lang’s new barbecue and steak joint will open later this year on Vine Street just south of Hollywood Blvd, and Bianco has also hinted about opening an L.A. outpost.
Getting a food booth into Alex’s has become highly competitive, and some chefs wait years for a spot to open up. New York chef April Bloomfield was a regular even before she announced that her first Los Angeles restaurant, Hearth & Hound, would open next month in the former Cat & Fiddle space.
Mixologists from cocktail hotspots like the Varnish, Cure, the Hungry Cat, and Faith and Flower presented refreshing and potent concoctions, with mezcal creations among the most popular. The wine also flowed freely with at least 60 wineries and shops pouring, including Silver Lake Wine, Hitching Post, Timbre, Hoxie Spritzers, and Palmina.
Also turning out to support Alex’s Lemonade Foundation, which was started by a 4-year old named Alex in 2004, were Bailee Madison, Wilmer Valderrama, Jaleel White, and Kirsten Vangsness.
Corporate supporters included Netflix, HBO, CBS, UTA, NBCUniversal, Annapurna, Jenni Konner and Lena Dunham, and “NCIS.”
A lively auction raised more than half a million dollars for items like two $100,000 dinners coordinated by Kimmel to be held at his barn, and a female chefs dinner with Suzanne Goin, Bloomfield, Giada De Laurentiis, Nancy Silverton and Sherry Yard cooking for a lucky group.
— Kathy A. McDonald contributed to this report.