The Beefsteak Benefit Dinner



A few Hollywood and restaurant industry friends come together to modernize an exclusive supper club from a bygone era.

Photography by Katrina Frederick

At Life & Thyme, we’re no strangers to food events, grand dinner parties, and cocktail hours—all of which come with the territory of food coverage. With editors based in Los Angeles and New York, a fresh invitation for the latest not-to-be-missed shindig seems to hit our inbox daily. But once in a while, there is one that warrants a swift RSVP. We wanted to extend this one to our readers, so consider this your ticket to Los Angeles’ Beefsteak, the “if you know, you know” annual supper club. This year’s eighth iteration was hosted by Vibiana, Redbird and a few Hollywood eccentrics, all for a good cause: the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Meet your hosts.

Amy Knoll Fraser
Redbird / Vibiana Co-Owner

Neal Fraser
Redbird / Vibiana Co-Owner & Chef

Eric Wareheim
Actor / Comedian

Matt Selman
Executive Producer for The Simpsons

Cort Cass
ABC Studios VP of Comedy

Billy Harris
Emcee / Meat Puppet

But First, Some History:

“The beefsteak, a (male only) feast of epic proportions, thrived in the saloons and political halls of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a rite of gluttony that waged war on the livers of politicians and gangsters alike. The menu was always the same: sliced steak served on toast, au jus or gravy, and all the beer you could drink. Knives, forks, plates and napkins were forbidden.

The life of the party was the guest who let out the most appreciative grunts, drank the most beer, and consumed the most steak. Sadly, the practice died out after World War II.”

Matt Selman

The Modern Day Los Angeles Beefsteak:

“Matt and Neal used to go on foodie dates when we all first met about a decade ago through our children’s preschool. Matt had read an article in The New Yorker about beefsteaks and wanted to recreate one. Once we found Vibiana and began the work to take it over, we had the place to do it. Our first Beefsteak was in December of 2010. I planned it in four days. Three hundred people showed up.

As the event had no real purpose but to satisfy a whim, none of us could stomach profiting from it—hence the L.A. Food Bank as beneficiary.”

Amy Knoll Fraser

The Chef Perspective:

“The objective is to push people’s comfort parameters and to shock a bit using offcuts of meat like sous vide beef balls, sliced thin with beef tartare on crostini. And to expand upon the viscerality of eating meat with your hands that people seem to really get into.”

Neal Fraser

“Beefsteak is gluttony, a really good time, and at the end of the day, raising a few bucks for the L.A. Regional Food Bank.”

Billy Harris

600 pounds
of beef tenderloin

branded flasks

guests attended

10 cooks
plus 3 chefs

30 servers
plus 10 bartenders, 3 barbacks, 4 service captains

“Amy does all of the work and gets none of the credit. She is the real mastermind behind just about everything we do, which includes Beefsteak.”

Neal Fraser

Making Art with Food:

A Pro Tip:

“As an expert at this thing, you have to plan your pre-Beefsteak eating very carefully. Do not starve yourself—amateur move. If you starve, your stomach shrinks and you’re full in five minutes; you’re in big trouble. Definitely get exercise, keep active. Keep fed, not full. Keep snacking, so you’re never hungry, but you’re never super full either.”

Matt Selman

Dinner Theater:

“This was our first little experimental foray into immersive theatre in the space, which we’ve wanted to do for a long time. We partnered with Soren West [who produces immersive and performative experiences]. They created and performed The Offering. Mitchell Kulkin from Soren’s team wrote, directed and performed the piece with an ensemble of eight. Our intention was to provide a completely unexpected experience for a small number of event goers that would make a lasting impact that would spread through the crowd that evening and that people would continue to talk about afterwards. Our direction to Soren and his team was to really push it.”

Amy Knoll Fraser

Proceeds from Beefsteak were donated to Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

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