- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 1, 2007

More than 300 guests enjoyed culinary treats — everything from Hank’s Oyster Bar’s signature clam chowder to Restaurant Eve’s scrumptious chocolate brownie sundae — as 34 local lady chefs whipped up specialties to support an all-women’s cause at the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance fundraiser at the Ritz-Carlton, Washington, on Wednesday night.

“This event is special to us,” said Tracy O’Grady, co-owner and chef at Willow Restaurant in Arlington’s Ballston area. “I get probably 20 requests a week to do events, and we can only do a few. This is one of them,” she said as she handed a guest a white plate of delectable butter-poached lobster in a crispy potato basket with fennel and ravolini, speck ham, pearl onion and smoked tomato and lobster sauce — a treat to the eye and palate.

Ms. O’Grady’s business partner Kate Jansen, also a chef at Willow, said taking part was a natural for her, too.

“My mother is an ovarian cancer survivor. It’s something that touches so many of us,” Ms. Jansen said. “I think practically every women chef we know is here tonight,” she added, looking around the giant ballroom lined with dozens of food stations.

Alliance officials expected to raise about $240,000 to help raise awareness of ovarian cancer, one of the most deadly forms of the disease.

“We want to be able to say that our number are going down, which is what is happening to breast cancer,” said Sherry Salway Black, the group’s executive director, “but we can’t say that yet. … We need more awareness, better tests, more money, more research.”

Susan Butler, one of the co-founders of the 10-year-old group and an ovarian cancer survivor, said there were a few bright spots.

“When we started, the federal government was spending $14 million on ovarian cancer research,” she reported. “The number is now $97 million. That’s progress.”

“All women need a mam and a pap,” Mrs. Butler said, referring to annual mammograms and Pap smears. “We’d like to see an easy and accurate … Pap-type test developed for ovarian cancer, too,” she added, straining to be heard as star chef Ris Lacoste (most recently of 1789 in Georgetown) was announcing raffle winners during an event otherwise short on speeches and long on worth-the-wait food lines.

“It’s got minimum babbling and maximum fun,” Mrs. Butler said.

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