Chefs doing it doggie style

In a country where people throw 'pupperware' parties for dogs, it's no surprise that gourmet chefs have gotten in on the animal welfare act.

by: Karin Zeitvogel | 30 Jan 2008
 

For the sixth year running, pastry chefs from some of Washington's finest restaurants and bakeries kneaded dough, whipped cream, deep-fried batter and iced concoctions for the benefit of animal welfare workers and the canines they rescue.

To wash down the grand chefs' culinary creations, wineries provided pet parents in attendance with a fine selection of sparkling wines, from French champagne to sparkling shiraz from Australia.

The canines at the event wolfed down treats that looked good enough for human consumption from Doggie Style, a special bakery for dogs, and biscuits made by the chefs.

Sugar and Champagne, as the fund-raising evening is called, is the puppy of Ellen Gray, who runs Washington's Equinox restaurant with her chef-husband Todd, and describes herself as the "head dog" of the gourmet gala.

The idea for the event, believed to be unique in the world, came to Gray one night when she saw a television show about animal welfare police, who are active in several US cities, including Washington.

The first Sugar and Champagne benefit for dogs and the humans who look after them was held six years ago and featured the creations of half a dozen pastry chefs. Around 50 people came, and the event – which was dogless – raised around $3 000.

What seemed like an equal number of dogs, from a large Leonberger to a tiny Papillon, got in free. On a table in the centre of the venue, canines and their humans were greeted by a large ice sculpture of the Eiffel Tower, behind which ran a river of champagne and other wines and liqueurs.

Around the edges, the chefs prepared their wares. As his human, Sheila, nibbled desserts and sipped fine wines, Beau-beau Brown the poodle scoffed down a piece of cake from Doggie Style, specially crafted for canines by Le'Chaun Linthicum.

"This is the pastry chef's chance to shine," Gray said as a bloodhound-mix howled with delight at the sight of all that food and all those dogs practically eating off the tables and not getting scolded for it.

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