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Eat Your Way to Aid for Japan

The Bay area’s connection to Japan’s earthquake and tsunami devastation continues to deepen. Local restaurants are joining the cause by hosting fundraisers, but few are as closely connected to the tragedy in the Tohoku region than Hiro Sone and Sho Kamio.

Hiro is chef/co-owner of Terra Restaurant & Bar Terra in St. Helena, plus Ame in San Francisco. He grew up in Tohoku, and his family lives there, as the 19th generation. Sho Kamio is executive chef of Yoshi's Jack London Square, and is also from the overlying Sendai region, where his family still lives.

Through two dinners next month, the chefs will donate 100 percent of each evening’s proceeds to the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami Farm Aid.

An Evening at Prospect, April 3, Reception at 6 p.m. with sparkling wine and passed appetizers; sit-down meal at 7 p.m., $300 per person

The supper brings together a “band of brothers” – chefs that two years ago toured Sendai in a group led by chef Sho, and hosted by Sho’s brother and fellow chef Jiro. While there, they visited a small Sendai miso producer and a Japanese beef farm, plus harvesters of Miyagi wakame (seaweed), uni and scallops in Matsushima. They tasted sake at Ichinokura and discovered Sendai oyster farms – shellfish that are the parents of almost all the oysters raised on the west coast of the U.S. today. Many of these farms are now destroyed, and the families have lost everything, notes Hiro’s wife and business partner Lissa Doumani. Fundraising proceeds will go to the growers, farmers and fisherman in the Miyagi area.

Chefs include Bruce Hill (Bix, Picco, Zero Zero), Ravi Kapur (Prospect), Paul Canales (former executive chef of Oliveto), Staffan Terje (Perbacco and Barbacco), Sho Kamio (Yoshi’s), and Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani (Ame and Terra).

An Afternoon at Yoshi’s, April 9, 1 to 4 p.m., $75 per person in advance (limited to 400 guests)

In a gathering of the Bay area’s finest chefs, it’s an afternoon of eating, wine and sake tasting, live music and a silent auction.

Chefs include Sho Kamio (Yoshi’s), Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani (Terra and Ame), Bruce Hill (Bix, Picco and Zero Zero), Staffan Terje (Perbacco and Barbacco), Ravi Kapur (Prospect), and Paul Canales (former executive chef of Oliveto).
Also on tap are Ken Tominaga (Hana and Go Fish), Chris Cosentino (Incanto and Boccalone), Joseph Manzare (Hecho, Globe and Zuppa), Hoss Zare (Zaré at Fly Trap) Michael Morrison (Moss Room and Coco 500), and Yasu Iwata (Delica).

Even before the Hiro-Sho events, diners can donate to the worthy cause. Other area events include Cow Hollow Japanese restaurant Umami, which is donating all profits and tips from dinner service this Tuesday night, March 22. In the Mission, Nombe izakaya is donating $3 from a different food item every day to the Japanese Chamber of Commerce; check Twitter for the daily dish.

For a Healdsburg connection, chef Douglas Keane is supporting his love of Japan and the cuisine with three benefits at his three restaurants, with all proceeds going to Japan.

Healdsburg Bar & Grill fundraiser, March 29, from 7 to 10 p.m., $20 per person
A casual get-together with local beer, wine and snacks, plus karaoke.

Shimo Modern Steak, April 4, from 6 to 9 p.m., $40 per person.
Chef de cuisine Kolin Vazzoler has organized a group of fellow chefs from around the Healdsburg Plaza, with each hosting a station for walk-around dining.

Cyrus, April 19, $450 per person, limited to 50 guests.
A star-studded lineup of top chefs, including Keane, David Kinch (Manresa), Corey Lee (Benu), James Syhabout (Commis, Hawker Fare), Michael Cimarusti (Providence), and Nicole Plue (Cyrus). The evening starts at Shimo for sake, champagne and sushi with the chefs, followed by a full tasting dinner at Cyrus.

Tip: Fundraising events are terrific group gatherings, all for a worthy cause. Join with groups of friends and associates, then carpool for an efficient, earth-friendly ride in a Pure Luxury Transportation private charter bus.

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