RALEIGH — James Beard Award-winning chef Ashley Christensen is on the cusp of opening a new bar, restaurant, and private event space. Leading up to the launch, she will host a pop-up dinner series called The Firestarters. The four-course dinners will be prepared by chefs from across the South, including Sean Brock (Husk, Charleston and Nashville), Tandy Wilson (City House, Nashville), Jason Stanhope (FIG, Charleston), Kevin Gillespie (Gunshow, Atlanta), and Matthew Kelly (Vin Rouge, Durham). Tickets start at $175 per person and include beverages, tax, and gratuity.
NEW YORK CITY — Bidkind — a charity app that "offers users access to celebrities via unforgettable experiences" — has launched two new culinary auctions. Bid on an auction for City Meals on Wheels to win two VIP tickets to the 30th Annual Chefs' Tribute Dinner at Rockefeller Center where you'll get a chance to meet chef Daniel Boulud. NYC-based Vikas Khanna is also on the auction block. Bidding on a dinner at his restaurant plus face time will benefit The Smile Foundation.
HOUSTON — PESKA Seafood Culture is a Mexican restaurant that plans to open its first Stateside location this spring. The concept combines a seafood market with a full-service restaurant. In addition to a wine director, the restaurant has hired a seafood sommelier. As Eater Houston explains, this individual is "trained in all-things-seafood" and will approach tables to bring "attention to their curated list and then break down the best preparations for said seafood." See also: Hot sauce sommelier.