A Look at Michael Mina’s 20th Anniversary Tribute Dinner for All Stars Helping Kids

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, culinary superstars joined with sports superstars to celebrate the first 20 years of Chef Michael Mina‘s career at MICHAEL MINA restaurant. Proceeds from the event went to benefit All Stars Helping Kids. NFL All Star Ronnie Lott and baseball legend Reggie Jackson were on hand to fete Chef Mina. A carefully curated multi-course, twelve-dish menu (plus canapes!) featured dishes from chefs including Omri Aflalo (Bourbon Steak SF), Jason Berthold (RN74), Mike Davis (MICHAEL MINA), Gerard Hayden (The North Fork Table & Inn), Chris L’Hommedieu (MICHAEL MINA), Joseph Humphrey (Dixie), Paul Piscopo (Trace), George Morrone (Boca Steak), Bruce Hill (BIX), Traci Des Jardins (Jardiniere), Ron Siegel (The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel), Melissa Perello (Frances), Bill Corbett (Absinthe Brasserie), and Lincoln Carson (MICHAEL MINA), as well as Chef Mina himself!

OpenTable, a sponsor of the celebration, hosted some very special guests at our table. Giveaway winners Judy Erlich and Bob Katz, David Honig and Hannah Blumenstiel, who have dined with Chef Mina more than 50 times (!), and Kelly Yu, perhaps OpenTable’s most valuable Bay area diner with almost 500 reservations, and guest Josh Gold, dined with us as we made our way through the many courses that included caviar, abalone, foie gras, scallops, quail, and lamb!

As we look forward to the next 20 years of Chef Mina’s amazing career, you can look back at the event in our Flickr slideshow.

VIP Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to the Michael Mina Benefit on October 9th in SF!

Join us to cheer the first 20 years of Michael Mina's incredible career!

Are you an OpenTable VIP? If so, you’re eligible for a very special giveaway!

On Sunday, October 9, 2011, at 6PM, 14 top chefs will come together at MICHAEL MINA restaurant in San Francisco to honor Michael Mina’s 20-year career with the ultimate 6-course dinner, benefitting All Stars Helping Kids. OpenTable will be joining Chef Michael Mina and other culinary luminaries, including George Marrone, Traci Des Jardins, Melissa Perello, and Ron Siegel, in celebrating Chef Mina’s incredible career. San Francisco dining scene insiders will be attending, and you can too. As an OpenTable VIP, you have the chance to join our table. Just fill out our quick “Love It / Loathe It” dining trends quiz, and you’ll be entered to win 2 seats. This offer ends October 5, so enter now!

We’ll be notifying the lucky winner on Wednesday, so be sure to check your email. We hope to see you at our table on October 9th!

You can read more about the event here. And, the official rules and regulations are available below. Good luck!

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Chefs + Restaurateurs Share Sexy Recipes for Romance on Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, OpenTable diners. In honor of Cupid and his bow, we polled chefs and restaurateurs about their picks for the most sensual dishes they would serve to put diners in the mood on this most romantic day. Check out our exclusive video with advice from Manhattan’s Zac Young (Flex Mussels), Derek Koch (MPD), Manuel Trevino (Lavo), Maximo Lopez (Wall & Water), and Johnny Santiago and Jim Chu (Jo’s).

Other chefs around the U.S. also weighed in…

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Chefs and Restaurateurs Share Five Favorite Mobile Apps

Everyone at OpenTable is pretty proud of our mobile apps, but we also love lots of other apps (except for Angry Birds — or is that just me?). We reached out to a few of our restaurant partners and chefs and asked them to share the apps they find most appetizing.

Epicurious: Chef Michael Mina, the creative force behind such well-respected restaurants as Bourbon Steak and XIV, picks this recipe-oriented app. “Epicurious for iPad is a neat application for the home cook and it is organized nicely,” he notes.

Pulse: Former Top Chef competitor Kelly Liken, whose eponymous restaurant in Vail has earned rave reviews, likes Pulse “for reading the news I want to read. I have Eater, GrubStreet, and The New York Times Dining & Wine section all loaded in my feed!”

Shazam: Restaurateur and man about town Johnny Santiago, who, along with Jim Chu, runs Jo’s in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, counts on Shazam to help set the mood at his establishment. Santiago reveals, “I’m always thinking about playlists for the restaurant. Whenever I hear something great or that I’ve forgotten, I Shazam it and save it to a list of songs that make the ‘must add’ list.”

Twitter: Everybody’s favorite personality on Top Chef Just Desserts (Sorry, Yigit!), Zac Young is currently flexing his muscles as Executive Pastry Chef for the two Flex Mussels restaurants (downtown and uptown) in New York City. He says, “My favorite mobile app right now is Twitter. I finally figured out how to use it, and I’m kind of #obsessed.” PS: Follow Zac!

Units: Ryan Hardy, the busy Executive Chef at the elegant Montagna at The Little Nell in Aspen says, “Chefs are constantly converting units – liters, centigrade, grams, etc. The Units app is in use every day on my phone.”

What are you favorite apps – food-related and otherwise? Join the conversation here or on Facebook.