Prepare to feast well. Executive chef Joe West invites top-tier culinary talent to prepare Kansas City’s first No Kid Hungry Chef Dinner at The Savoy at 21c. The multi-course dinner on Tuesday, November 5, includes a cocktail reception and live auction.
Overland Park native Brad Kilgore, known for his highly-acclaimed Miami restaurants Alter, Brava, Kaido and Ember, returns to his stomping grounds for the event. Chefs Michael Corvino of Corvino, John Currence of City Grocery Restaurant Group in Oxford, Miss., and Samantha Fore of Tuk-Tuk in Lexington, Ky., round out the showcase.
“I wanted to create a list of chefs with their own unique style of cuisine,” Chef West says. “Each chef brings something quite different that collectively will create an experience people will not forget. No Kid Hungry is something I’m very passionate about. My goal is to help raise as much money as we possibly can for the kids.”
No Kid Hungry works to end childhood hunger by ensuring that kids obtain a nutritious breakfast and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget.
West attended Broadmoor Technical Center in high school with Brad Kilgore and they also attended Johnson & Wales University in Denver. “Brad has really become an amazing super star in the culinary world,” West says. “I couldn’t be more proud of him and so glad that we get to cook together just like old times.”
Kilgore’s career began in Kansas City, where he cooked at now-closed The American Restaurant with chef Celina Tio and he next headed to Chicago, where he worked for Grant Achatz at Alinea and then L2O with Laurent Gras. Kilgore later moved to Miami during The Great Recession.
“Chicago was very stagnant. I had already worked at all of the the top restaurants that I wanted to – Alinea, L2O, Boka and Epic,” Kilgore says. “I had gotten my Michelin training and my first intro to management. I figured that my resume would open some doors for me in a new city. It was on a whim but it turned out to be the best decision that I have ever made.”
Kilgore’s culinarily-diverse restaurants provide formats for him to express his interests.
His first restaurant, Alter, highlights terroir-driven new American cuisine. “Alter really reflects my creativity,” Kilgore says. “By definition Alter is to alter your perspective, specifically on fine dining. It is in a warehouse with concrete floors and an open kitchen.”
Two stints in Italy as a young cook inspired the concept behind Brava, located inside Miami’s Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. Kilgore says, “We take classic dishes and do our take on them. When you see The Nutcracker, it is not the original from the 1890s but the director’s version of the same story.”
Kaido, a Japanese-inspired sushi and cocktail lounge, “transports you the moment you enter.” Kilgore and world-class mixologist Nico de Soto collaborated to create a different style experience. Kilgore explains, “The kanji of kaido can mean: ‘Curious one, he who asks a lot of questions.’ This helps describe both of our approaches on the menus.”
Located in the basement of Kaido, Ember is a wood fire bistro with comfort foods such as smoked fried chicken, mashed potatoes and wood-fired steaks. Kilgore’s menu draws from dishes he prepared as a young cook at Pierpont’s and Hereford House in Kansas City.
Kilgore’s contribution to the No Kid Hungry dinner will be Tortellini en Brodo, a new dish from Brava’s menu that celebrates Parmesan. Kilgore says, “The filling is [made] with prosciutto, mushrooms and parmesan. The broth is made from the rind of the cheese, finished with a pine needle oil that balances the flavor of cheese and matsutake mushrooms that grow in pine forests.”
While West has never met chef Samantha Fore, he’s a huge fan of her work with the Southern Foodways Alliance and the Brown In The South dinner series. West says, “Her food feels genuine, vibrant, and exciting, all at the same time and I can’t wait to see her food being made at our hotel and restaurant.” Fore’s Tuk Tuk serves traditional Sri Lankan cuisine and street food while also offering Sri Lankan-inspired Southern fare.
“Chef West has given me an incredible opportunity to raise funds for a charity I care about while introducing more diners to Sri Lankan flavors,” chef Fore says. “I often joke that I’m the only one marrying Sri Lankan and Southern cuisine. Collaborative dinners give me an opportunity to share what I’m about while learning from some incredible powerhouse chefs.”
Chef Michael Corvino came to Kansas City from Dallas to helm The American when West was the chef de cuisine of bluestem. Corvino and his wife Christina now operate Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room. West says, “His food is one of my favorites in town, whether it’s his creative seasonal dishes or awesome burger and fries. Michael is a great chef and guy.”
James Beard Award-winning chef John Currence wrote the award-winning Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey cookbook. West met Currence at an event held at the 21c in Bentonville and once again at The Savoy. The two chefs visited over drinks. West says, “I truly enjoyed listening to his stories and hearing his feedback. I learned more about being a chef from him. I have idolized him for so many years. I couldn’t be more excited to have John Currence in our kitchen.”
Diners may reap the benefit of savoring dishes from this exciting array of chefs while supporting a noble cause.
GO: Tuesday, November 5. The Savoy at 21c, 219 W. 9th St., Kansas City, Mo. 5:30 pm. $150 individual admission. nokidhungry.org.