Food News

Join 6 top chefs at The American for James Beard Foundation benefit [Partner]

James Syhabout
James Syhabout

In its second year following a transition to private dining and special event space, The American will build upon its 2017 successes. Each event is dedicated to creating a boundary-pushing experience.

The American Concept Series 2017 events concluded with an unprecedented farm-to-table experience featuring master Farmer Lee Jones and chef Jamie Simpson of the Culinary Vegetable Institute.

The 2018 series kicks off in February with six guest chefs on hand to raise funds for a good cause: The James Beard Foundation.

The American’s Friends of James Beard Benefit directly supports the operations and scholarships of the James Beard Foundation, which seeks to celebrate and nurture America’s food leaders to create a more delicious, diverse and sustainable food culture for everyone to enjoy. We can’t imagine a more perfect alignment of goals. While the James Beard Foundation aims to elevate food culture on a national level, The American seeks to do the same right here in Kansas City.

The American has maintained a longstanding relationship with the Foundation, hosting 18 benefit dinners over its lifetime and introducing Kansas Citians to the talents of guest chefs from the nation’s most influential restaurants. In fact, James Beard himself consulted with The American in its early days.

February’s benefit dinner features a multi-course menu with wine pairings hosted by The American’s Executive Chef Andrew Longres. Fundraising begins with an auction of items donated by the participating chefs. True hospitality!

The guest chefs are as follows:

Mark Lundgaard Nielsen

Mark Lundgaard Nielsen

Kong Hans Kælder; Copenhagen, Denmark

Chef Mark Lundgaard Nielsen of Copenhagen’s Kong Hans Kælder believes the following in his approach to cuisine: “In my universe food is not a gift sent down from heaven. On the contrary, food is understanding where it comes from, the craftsmanship in its preparation and respecting the origin and the craftsmanship. By this comes your understanding of taste and composition.” Through this philosophy Nielsen creates a distinctive mix of classic French cuisine combined with Scandinavian simplicity at its best.

James Syhabout

James Syhabout

Commis; Oakland, Calif. / Hawker Fare; San Francisco, Calif.

Chef James Syhabout has led the open-kitchen restaurant Commis, located in an unassuming space in Oakland’s Piedmont neighborhood, to two Michelin stars in 2016 and 2017. It remains the only Michelin-starred restaurant in Oakland. After seeing that something was missing, Syhabout opened Hawker Fare to begin cooking the food of his childhood. At Hawker Fare, Syhabout creates dishes inspired by the open-air “hawker” markets of Thailand and Laos as well as the fine-dining sensibilities of his career beginnings.

Jeremy Fox

Jeremy Fox

Rustic Canyon, Tallula’s; Santa Monica, Calif.

Jeremy Fox is a master of farmers market-driven cuisine, most recently publishing his first award-winning cookbook, “On Vegetables,” which elevates vegetarian cooking through his “seed-to-stalk” philosophy. Fox currently leads and mentors all culinary talent at Santa Monica’s Rustic Canyon family of restaurants, including Esters and Tallula’s. Jeremy has garnered four James Beard nominations for “Best Chef – West” as a finalist in 2009, 2010, 2016 and 2017.

Jeremiah Langhorne

Jeremiah Langhorne

The Dabney; Washington, D.C.

Jeremiah Langhorne is the chef and co-owner of The Dabney, located in Washington, D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood. At The Dabney, Langhorne celebrates his mid-Atlantic roots, focusing on modern American food with strong regional and historic influences, while incorporating his interests in farming, charcuterie and foraging. The Dabney received a Michelin star in Washington D.C.’s Michelin Guide in 2016 and 2017, in addition to being named a semi-finalist for the 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for Best New Restaurant.

Brady Williams

Brady Williams

Canlis; Seattle, Wash.

Born in Southern California, Brady spent his younger days pursuing a professional hockey career. A serious injury led him instead into the kitchen of his grandparents’ neighborhood diner. After working in Dallas and Brooklyn, Williams moved to Seattle to join Canlis as its sixth-ever executive chef. Since, he’s received a 4-star review from the Seattle Times and was named a Rising Star Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation in 2017.

John Shields

John Shields (pastry chef)

Smyth, The Loyalist; Chicago, Ill.

After re-imagining the then-unknown Town House restaurant in the countryside of Southwestern Virginia, the chef opened Smyth and The Loyalist to widespread acclaim, including 4 stars from the Chicago Tribune and a ‘Best New Restaurant’ nod from Chicago magazine. After only opening for a few months, Smyth received its first Michelin star, and in 2017, Smyth was elevated to two Michelin stars.

The American Concept Series presents the Friends of James Beard Foundation Benefit Dinner with chefs Mark Lundgaard Nielsen, Jeremy Fox, James Syhabout, Jeremiah Langhorne, Brady Williams and John Shields at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 10.

To learn more about The American and their new concept series please visit