The beauty of food for many cultures isn’t so much its essentiality to living—though sustenance is very much a key component—but, despite the affluence of a family, how food brings people together. Food, in all its forms, both low and high, is a bonding agent; it can even be said to be a contributor to the mental health of humans.

This is what Under the Toque, the inaugural benefit dinner supporting the work of Long Beach-based non-profit Mental Health America of Los Angeles (MHALA), hones in on. Come October 3 at 5PM, the Downtown Courtyard Marriott will open its banquet hall doors in DTLB, with an assemblage of some of Long Beach’s most devout leaders in mental health having invited the city’s leading culinary innovators to take over their kitchen, decorate a table, and create a special meal for ten people.

Yup: you have a chance to sit at a table of ten with one of Long Beach’s finest chefs—all in the name of creating a healthier community, especially for those who are often left to the margins of societal silence.

Even better? You’ll be learning how the food is prepped, having the chance to step inside the creative (and sometimes illogical) mind of a chef, take home the recipe, and try it out yourself.

The toque is the French name for the notorious chef’s hat, under which the minds of culinary masters tick to create food that both delights and transports us. Twelve toques of skilled local artisans will be hosted at our event, including:

  • David MacLennan of James Republic
  • Arthur Gonzalez of Panxa Cocina
  • Paul Buchanan of Primal Alchemy
  • Andrew Herman of Padre
  • Eric Samaniego of Michael’s Restaurant Group
  • Felix Nappoly of The Hyatt
  • Janine Falvo of Renaissance Hotel
  • Jose Lopez, Marriott Long Beach
  • John McLaughlin of At Last Cafe

Additionally, chefs from Hotel Maya, The Hilton, and The Westin of Long Beach will also participate.

“We know that people living on the streets are very familiar with our name and the work we do because they depend on our services every day,” said Dr. David Pilon, President and CEO of MHALA. “However, much of the larger community is not nearly as familiar with us and our work. We need events like this to help get the word out about the critical work that we do. We are so grateful to have supporters like The Downtown Courtyard Marriott, the DLBA, The CVB, and Emissary Media Group, who are willing to help us in this effort.”

The event will be held at the Downtown Courtyard Marriott at 6:00PM, Monday October 3rd. With a cap of only 12 chef-hosted tables, this event is sure to sell out quickly, especially since MHALA is a 501c3 non-profit and the bulk of the cost for a ticket will be tax deductible. For those interested in more than tickets, specifically a sponsorship, find the application by clicking here.

For more information or to purchase tickets go to http://bit.ly/UnderTheToque (case sensitive) or contact Rhonda Schultz, MHALA’s constituency development coordinator, at 562-285-1330 x252 or rschultz@mhala.org.

All photos and copy are ©2016 Downtown Long Beach Associates unless otherwise stated. For inquiries regarding use of photos or copy, email info@dlba.org