The masterminds behind Beefsteak, a debauched tribute to the meaty arts that raises thousands for the Los Angeles Food Bank, switch things up each year so that guests are never bored.
Organized by comedy players including Eric Wareheim, “The Simpsons” executive producer Matt Selman, and ABC Studios VP of comedy Cort Cass with Redbird chef Neal Fraser and produced by Amy Knoll Fraser, Saturday’s event at Vibiana in downtown Los Angeles again pulled out all the stops.
Guests including “Workaholics” stars Blake Anderson and Anders Holm and “Speechless” comedian Zach Anner sampled grilled beef heart and chicken liver skewers, beef tartare, and pho broth with pork belly dumplings at the pre-party in Vibiana’s lush garden.
The evening took a turn for the surreal with the Offering, an immersive experience which came as a surprise to guests who were led in small groups to an intimate upstairs room with a roaring fire. There, participants observed a mistress with a slave on a leash, a sword swallower, and three live nude “offerings” — though one couple, perhaps unnerved by the nudity or the dog collars, made a hasty exit. A bloodlike cocktail of beet juice, cherry vodka and aperol and raw veal breast with wood ear mushrooms struck a suitably cannibalistic tone.
Comedy writers are notoriously enthusiastic foodies, and Cass says he thinks the creativity involved in both crafts makes it a natural combination. Beefsteak, which is now in its eighth year, combines an insider event — tickets are sold by invitation only — and an excuse for a little gluttony. Fraser and his team prepared 600 lbs. of beef tenderloin and whole King salmons, which were served to apron-clad guests at long tables with no plates or silverware.
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The Beefsteak theme is based on the political banquets of the early 20th century, which featured similar amounts of meat and debauchery, though with more beer and fewer women. But there was plenty to drink: Fraser poured bourbon shots through a bone luge, while signature cocktails from bar director Tobin Shea were served in mini flasks and wine director Ben Teig selected wines that complemented the filet.
The Dads Band Plus One and DJ Lena Brown provided musical entertainment while Billy Harris served as emcee.