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Chefs Serve for Charitable Causes

LAS VEGAS ( TheStreet) -- Top chefs around the country have been rallying to help those on the East Coast who were affected by superstorm Sandy. TravelsinTaste would like to applaud the charitable chefs (and associated relief funds) who have and continue to reach out to benefit the victims devastated by the storm. Here are a few of the noteworthy and gracious acts of kindness by the country's culinary elite:

In New York, four downtown chefs gathered at Aldea to host a five-course dinner to kick off their efforts. Chef/owner George Mendes, Marco Canora ( Hearth and Terroir), Seamus Mullen ( Tertulia) and Andrew Carmellini ( Locanda Verde and The Dutch), each contributed a dish with Aldea's Shelly Acuna preparing dessert. All proceeds from the dinner went toward local communities in need, with this particular dinner benefiting Red Hook.

In the days following the dinner, the chefs rented a truck and drove to the outer boroughs to bring hot food to people affected by the storm. Canora served Ribollita soup in Red Hook at the Calvary Baptist Church on Hicks and Ninth Street and at Breezy Point. Mullen served lunch at the Arianna's Catering facility at 192 Ebbitts St. in Staten Island. Canora and Mendes served food in the Rockaways. The second New York City Food Flood dinner is to take place tonight at Hearth. Canora, Mendes and newcomers Alex Stupak and Sean Brock are preparing culinary delights.

At Rouge Tomate in Midtown, wine director Pascaline Lepetier and head bartender Cristian Molina created the "Hurricane Relief" cocktail made with Greenhook Gin, Long Island Beach Plum Gin, house-made Triple Sec, Amaretto, passion fruit and cranberry. All proceeds from this cocktail are going to The Red Hook Initiative to help that community rebuild.

Tao Cares, the charitable arm of the Tao Group, held fundraising initiatives in its New York City and Las Vegas locations. Proceeds raised were donated to American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief. The Tao Asian Bistro in New York City, Tao Asian Bistro & Nightclub at the Venetian in Las Vegas, Lavo Italian Restaurant & Nightclub in New York City and at the Palazzo in Las Vegas and Marquee Nightclub & Dayclub at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas donated a portion of restaurant and nightclub sales. Tao Asian Bistro and Lavo Italian Restaurant in Las Vegas offered a special menu, including red curry chicken with snow peas, eggplant and jasmine rice and the Kobe beef spring roll with spicy peanut chili sauce at Tao and porcini mushroom risotto with Parmesan frico and fresh burrata over an arugula salad with a lemon vinaigrette and pancetta crisp at Lavo Vegas, while Lavo New York delivered food to 300 people at a West 59th St. food shelter.

Burger Lounge, the eco-conscious grass-fed beef burger concept with eight locations throughout Los Angeles and San Diego, joined in, donating 100% of a week's proceeds (excluding taxes) from their Los Angeles locations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Celebrity chefs with roots in New York City and Las Vegas have inspired a unique food and wine extravaganza to benefit victims: "Start Spreadin' the News." The event will take place on the New York-New York Hotel & Casino Brooklyn Bridge from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m Dec. 9. A partial list of the chefs/restaurants invited to participate includes: Mario Batali, Tom Colicchio, Scott Conant, Todd English, Bobby Flay, Charlie Palmer, Nobu, Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, Palm Restaurant, Smith & Wollensky, Rao's, Stage Deli, Nathan's, Carnegie Deli, Old Homestead and many others. Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada will be providing wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails. The proceeds will go to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

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