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Words and photos by Farrah Skeiky

The Human Rights Campaign’s Chefs for Equality benefit event was such a resounding success that October 30th was proclaimed Chefs for Equality day in the district by Councilmember Jack Evans, one of the many politicians present. With an overwhelming number of restaurants and bartenders in attendance (including many BYT favorites like Ripple, Mockingbird Hill, Rappanahock Oyster Bar, Daikaya and Range), Shea Van Horn expertly spinning a tasteful combination of throwbacks and crowd-pleasers, and Tim Gunn returning to host for the second year in the row, it was made clear that this event’s importance was not to be undermined.


Gunn himself claimed that of all the creative types he enjoys surrounding himself with, his favorite group has always been those allies in the culinary world. The guests very well understood that we weren’t only there to celebrate the growing support of equality, but to also celebrate the accomplished chefs and mixologists that have always been longtime supporters in countless ways. Not only do they cater (literally and figuratively) to the LGBTQ community, but they do everything in their power to assure that their establishments are safe spaces for their guests, no matter who or how they love.

But the most important aspect and assertion of this event was the unity of the diverse crowd– and not diverse in the college brochure sense of the word. In addition to the revered chefs and mixologists allowing us to stuff our faces with delectable bites, politicians and feds of all levels and orientations, gourmands, musicians, stylists, writers and drag queens alike gathered under one label: allies. All things considered, it didn’t really matter who you were there with, but that you were there, and eating.