The annual California Spirit Food and Wine Event celebrated its 39th year of supporting the American Cancer Society on Sunday.
Held on the Fox Lot, whose event The Hollywood Reporter is a media sponsor and welcomed top chefs from across Los Angeles for an afternoon of food and drinks, while also celebrating the American Cancer Society’s progress in the fight against cancer and kicking off Breast Cancer Awareness month. Chefs from AOC, Mozza, Badmaash, Shake Shack, Salt & Straw, Yangban, Slab, Here’s Looking At You, Jitlada, The Lobster, Tacos 1986 and Fox Studios chef Kyle Nelson served snacks to the event’s 500 guests throughout the entire event. party.
California Spirit was co-founded in 1984 by Wolfgang Puck and Sherry Lansing and has raised more than $18 million for the American Cancer Society since its inception. Lansing and Phil Rosenthal are currently honorary co-chairs, as Lansing told the audience during her speech, “I look forward to this event every year.”
“When I realized we’ve been doing this for 39 years, I was struck by so many things. First of all, it strikes me that when we started this event, we had about 80 people and it was at someone’s house and we were very happy about that. Today we have 500 people, and we could probably fill a stadium for our 40th anniversary,” she said, noting that the cancer developments that have occurred during that time are even more significant. “When we started this, when I heard that a friend of mine or someone in my family had cancer, I was terrified because it was usually a death sentence. But today, 39 years later, when I hear that someone has cancer, I often feel extremely hopeful. And I say, ‘No, you’re going to be fine. There is an 85 percent cure rate for your type of cancer.” And that is because of the research that scientists have done.”
Discussing the many new treatments that have been developed, Lansing said, “That didn’t happen overnight; how does that happen? It just happens when you give money to good science and that’s what we’re doing today. So as you sit here today, enjoying this wonderful weather and the best food in the world, just remember that whatever you do is saving lives. I’m so grateful to all of you for being here today. I am so grateful for the money we have raised, and I know that because of what we do, one day there will be no more cancer.”
Rosenthal, normally a regular at the event, was not present this year as he is currently in Australia filming his Netflix series Someone feeds Phil; Lansing nonetheless thanked him for being a tireless partner and introduced a video message from Rosenthal, who told attendees, “This is more than just a great food and wine event. It is an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of cancer patients, survivors and their families.”
The event, hosted by Billy Harris, also welcomed speeches from chair Jae Wu and co-chair Sarah Simms, as well as honored breast cancer survivor Tracie Kimbrough, and featured a live auction.