gregslistdc!). This annual event, hosted this year by MSNBC chief correspondent Nora O’Donnell, showcases tastings from over 50 DC-area chefs while raising money for a great cause. The evening started with a silent auction, where guests could bid on a variety of sports, entertainment, and food-related items. Sure, some people might have swooned over Yao Ming’s signed Reebok shoe or the three-day rental of an Aston Martin convertible, but we were more intrigued by the L’Auberge Chez Francois cooking demonstration and the catered event at Lebanese Taverna. Then it was on to the tastings! Standouts included BlackSalt’s spiced Hawaiian Blue Marlin with cumin lavash, grapefruit, and chile aioli and Farrah Olivia's tender beef tartare, wrapped in Ethiopian injera bread with a pearl of spicy yellow mustard. The event also gave guests the opportunity to chat with several of DC’s star chefs (many of whom were dishing up their restaurant’s offerings!), including Anthony Chittum from Vermillion, Warren Brown from Cakelove, and Eric Ziebold from CityZen. Founded by Danny Thomas (yes, that Danny Thomas!), St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has become the world’s leading pediatric cancer center. The evening included several heartfelt speeches and videos from children and their families who have been helped, at no cost, by St. Jude’s caring staff. Although St. Jude is known as the patron saint of “lost causes,” the kids of St. Jude are far from lost causes now. In 1962, only 7 percent of kids with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survived. Today, thanks to the work that happens at places like St. Jude, their survival rate is 85 percent. Missed out on your chance to support this great cause? Mark your calendar now for next year’s gala, Tuesday, Feb 16, 2010. And in the meantime, you may want to check out St. Jude Celebrity Golf Tournament or the Friends of St. Jude Blues Ball in November (watch gregslistdc for the date and location).