Having a Ball at Art and Soul's Inauguration Chefs Ball

The Washington Post called the Chefs Ball the best late-night party of the Inaugural weekend — and we were there!

Lalaine Estella Ricardo repped for us that evening, as we were a little busy transporting university students to another Inauguration ball in the city. Here’s her report, with photos!

The Jan. 19 soiree at the Liaison Hotel on Capitol Hill didn’t really get underway until nearly midnight, way past the bedtime of the usual Washington crowd. But it was a special occasion, and the “usual” anything did not apply.

The after-party began at 10:30 pm for VIPs, who mingled with celebrity chefs and plain celebrities at Art and Soul, chef Art Smith’s upscale southern restaurant at the hotel. The door was heavily guarded, but a peek over the bouncer’s shoulders revealed chef Mike Isabella and Jesse Tyler Ferguson whooping it up with the black-tie clad crowd.

The party for general admission ticket-holders started at 11 p.m., just as the area’s balls and galas were wrapping up. Ladies in their finest cocktail dresses and gowns and their dates in tuxes, ties and T-shirts noshed on Smith’s famous fried chicken and waffles (served on a stick!) and Isabella’s mini roasted lamb gyros. Chef Rock Harper served up a delish crab salad with “chow chow” on a honey cornbread cracker. Whatever chow chow is, it was fabulous. Chefs Wes Morton, Erik Bruner-Yang, Scott Drewno and Todd Gray also brought bites of their best stuff to the event.

Proceeds from the party will go to the chef’s favorite local charities.

Open bar = best inaugural weekend late-night party ever

Art Smith’s chicken and waffles were a huge hit.
Servers filled and refilled platters of late-night bites.

Toki Underground chef and owner Erik Bruner-Yang served a steamed coconut fish curry, which was arguably the best bite of the late night party. One guest approached him and asked when the chef would be arriving. He replied, “I’m the chef!” And proceeded to graciously pose for photos.
Photos by Nita Baldovino

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