CHARITY auction at Gourmand Awards / by steven achiam

Auctioneer and celebrity chef Wan prompts guests to bid for charity while balancing banter with the cause. Photo: Jay Achiam.

"Do I hear 50 dollars?". The auctioneer, Singaporean celebrity chef Wan is working the room while guests at the dinner party of the international cookbook awards enjoy star fish canapees. The auction is for a framed black and white print showing a bowl of noodle soup and protruding chopsticks next to a pair of sensual feet with laquered nails. The image is from the Gourmand Award winning cookbook "Dead and Fermented"  that won the category best photography earlier today. The authors are chef Henrik Yde (Kiin Kiin and Sra Bua) and myself.

A gentlemen in a white shirt bids. "FIFTY!" says chef Wan. The tension is broken by applause. This is the first charity auction ever held at the Gourmand Awards, a red carpet, two-hour ceremony. Any author and publisher of cookbooks can enter their work and be judged for the best in the world competition. It’s been going on for twenty years.

Tonight’s sum will go to Save The Children Denmark and their work helping unaccompanied refugee children, one of the most important social issues of our time and the theme of my work Deadline Athens. In Yantai the bids pick up. One hundred. Two hundred from Northern Ireland. Two fifty from Germany. Three hundred from India. "My wife will like this picture" says a huge Indian fella wearing a green Lungi. Now, getting to their feet next to him - this is serious business - two Germans are bidding against him. Three fifty! The Indian fella withdraws. Sold to Germany!

Nach Frankfurt! Oliver Schulz and Marcus Basslers win the charity auction with the highest bid of 350 USD for a photographic print 60x40 cm from Dead and Fermented, donated by Eva Frese Rammer (Denmark). Photo: Jay Achiam

Thank you Eva Frese Rammer (Denmark) for donating print and frame.

My new friends: Adriano De Compos Rampazzo, Chitsuru Ohata, myself and Kazumi Terada. Photo: Jay Achiam.
Gourmand Awards president Edouard Cointreau with Henrik Yde and myself. Photo: Jay Achiam.