It was the kind of evening where an animation producer might take a small white cardboard box out of his pocket and offer, “Would you like a duck tongue?” All manner of animal parts were on the menu at Beefsteak 2013 at Vibiana in downtown L.A Dec. 7. The annual dinner benefits the L.A. Food Bank by filling the bellies of foodies and assorted showbizzers including Jimmy Kimmel, Bob Odenkirk and John C. Reilly — many from the comedy side — with steak, chops, headcheese and Rocky Mountain oysters. “Homeland” creator Gideon Raff was there to support the food bank, even though he’s vegan.
The event’s creators, “Simpsons” producer Matt Selman (he wrote the show’s food blogger episode, of course), TV comedy exec Cort Cass and Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric fame, started Beefsteak three years ago as an homage to the century-old New York steak fundraising dinners, where manly men ate beef with their hands and washed it down with pitchers of ale. “It seemed like if you were going to have this much gluttony during the holiday season, there should be a charity component,” said Selman. Last year’s event raised $20,000 for the L.A. Food Bank.
In the 21st century version, ladies are allowed, including comedy pros like Mindy Kaling and Kristen Schaal, and instead of beer, there are hand-crafted cocktails made with liquid nitrogen from mixologist Julian Cox. Chef Neal Fraser, who next year will open Redbird in Vibiana’s rectory, served up appetizers like Thai lobster soup and skewered chicken hearts before the action moved to the long tables inside the vast former cathedral where a jazz band was playing. There, platters of sliced steak, pork chops, lamb chops and even a whole salmon arrived with roasted potatoes and baby broccoli — all eaten with the fingers.
(Pictured: Matt Selman and John C. Reilly)