Smithsonian National Zoological Park l Friends of the National Zoo



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Goose Island


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Special thanks to Willow Run Greenhouse Corp. for providing plants at ZooFari.

Thank you to La Prima Catering for providing the staff and volunteer meals.

$62.53 million raised; 78.2% of $80 million goal

grapes with the apes

ZooFari 2014 Celebrity Chefs

Chef Anne Alfano

Little Red Fox

(Competing in the Celebrity Chef Grill-Off.)

Chef Anne Alfano was born and raised in Washington, DC. She attended Georgetown Day High School and later graduated from Middlebury College. After too many years working a desk job, Anne took a wild left turn to pursue a profession in culinary arts. Anne is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley where she studied Culinary Arts and Wine. Prior to opening Little Red Fox, she studied whole animal butchery and charcuterie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at Marlow & Daughters. She has also cooked at Momofuku Ssäm Bar in NYC, and was part of Stephen Stryjewski's team at Cochon Restaurant in New Orleans, where she explored Nouveau Creole and Cajun cuisine. Additional kitchen experience includes time spent as a fresh and extruded pasta maker at Tosca Restaurant in Washington, DC. Anne enjoys karaoke, good wine, and scary movies.

R.J. Cooper

Rogue 24

(Competing in the Celebrity Chef Grill-Off.)

Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, R.J. Cooper fancied himself a rock star chef, playing in the kitchen with his mother and Sicilian grandmother. His first gig in a professional kitchen came in high school when Cooper took an apprenticeship at a local bakery. A graduate of The Culinary School at Kendall College, Illinois, Cooper has worked with Daniel Schaffhauser at The Ritz Carlton, Atlanta; Guenter Seeger at The Buckhead Ritz Carlton; Gilbert Le Coze at Brasserie Le Coze; and with Eric Ripert at Le Bernardin.

He continued his culinary odyssey at Crow’s Nest Restaurant in The Captain Cook Hotel, in Alaska where, determined to bring the restaurant back to its four star-four diamond quality, Cooper revamped the menu, boosting staff morale and impressing the locals. He went on to work across the country in the nations capital at New Heights and Toka Café before joining Vidalia in 2004 as chef de cuisine. After leaving Vidalia and his critically-acclaimed 24-course tasting menus, Cooper set to work on his own DC creation, Rogue 24, an urban fine dining restaurant where a succession of small plates stimulate the diner, excite the palate, and challenge the culinary status quo. In 2006, he was named a StarChefs.com Rising Star Chef and a year later he won the James Beard Best Chef Mid-Atlantic honor.

Frederik De Pue

Table, Menu MBK

(Competing in the Celebrity Chef Grill-Off.)

Executive Chef and Owner of Table, Frederik de Pue has emerged as a notable culinary talent, with an exceptional eye for detail and honest inspiration behind his food and menus. He translates his global culinary experiences into each dish he prepares, and at Table, he endeavors to create satisfying and sophisticated, yet very comfortable offerings.

Born and raised in Belgium, Chef Frederik trained at the Hotel School Ter Duinen and worked at several top European restaurants for award-wining chefs such as Alain Ducasse at Louis XV, and Yves Mattagne. De Pue arrived in Washington, DC in 2001 to become the Executive Chef of the European Commission Delegation Ambassador. Chef Frederik was highly praised in the diplomatic circles where he would spend the next five years creating one of the most exceptional dining tables in the Embassy world.

In the years since, he has quietly and humbly earned a reputation for exceptional cuisine, enticing events, and for creating truly memorable experiences for his guests with the growth of 42º Catering through the greater DC region.

Todd Gray

Equinox, Watershed

(Competing in the Celebrity Chef Grill-Off.)

From the seasonally-inspired dishes he creates every day in his award-winning restaurant to his ongoing support for sustainable farming and fishing practices, Chef Gray's impact on Washington, D.C.'s culinary scene has been immeasurable. A five time nominee for the James Beard Foundation's Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic Award Todd and his wife/business partner, Ellen Kassoff Gray, own and operate Equinox Restaurant and Muse Café at The Corcoran Gallery of Art; Todd also currently serves at the Culinary Director for Salamander Resort & Spa. In late 2013 the DC power couple published their first cookbook, The New Jewish Table (St. Martins Press), which has been named Best Jewish Cookbook in the U.S. by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. On a national scale, Chef Gray was tapped by the White House to help advance First Lady Michelle Obama's Healthy Kids Initiative, a project that encourages schools to serve students healthier meals.

Chef Huda

Pretty and Delicious™

(Special appearances at the Jaguar tent.)

A resident of Washington, D.C. Chef Huda is the owner of local culinary company Pretty and Delicious™. Her unique 1950s styled cooking garb, as well as her healthy takes on comfort food classics, like cheddar grits with sautéed shrimp and crispy kale, has garnered her appearances on shows like "The Taste." Her food has also been featured on "Donald J. Trump Show: The Ultimate Merger," as well as CBS, NBC, and the CW. She works by her motto, "Food should be 'Pretty and Delicious' at all times."

Michel Richard

Central Michel Richard

(Special appearances throughout the night.)

A D.C. legend, Chef Richard is known for his innovative menus and inspired combinations. A native of Brittany, France, Richard was catapulted to foodie fame when his restaurant Citrus in Los Angeles was voted "The Best Restaurant in the United States" by Traveler's Magazine. In 1989, Richard opened Citronelle at the Santa Barbara Inn Hotel, which offered a Citrus-inspired menu. In 1994, D.C. was fortunate enough to become home to his fifth Citronelle, which following a $2 million renovation soon became his flagship restaurant. In 1998, Richard moved to D.C. fulltime where he revitalized the city's dining scene with concepts such as Central Michel Richard which won the James Beard Foundation's "Best New Restaurant" of 2008. He is a regular contributor to Food & Wine, Food Arts, Saveur, and Bon Appetit, and is often featured in major regional publications such as the Washingtonian, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times.