Adobe stock photos. Photo credits: Coetzee/

Food professionals from several Montgomery County establishments are participating Monday in one of the D.C. area’s most widely anticipated fall dining events: Chefs for Equality, organized by Bethesda Magazine dining critic David Hagedorn.

The fundraiser for the Human Rights Campaign, a national LGBTQ+ advocacy group, brings together 150 chefs and mixologists. The event, in its 10th year, kicks off at 6:00 PM at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW in Washington, D.C.’s Penn Quarter. Tickets start at $325 and are available at

The event includes 40 tasting stations and 20 crafted cocktail stations led by renowned chefs and mixologists from the DMV area, including The Dabney, Albi and L’Ardente. Participating chefs from Montgomery County include Aris Tsekouras of Melina, Caroline Yi of Sunday Morning Bakehouse, Daniella Senior of Colada Shop and K.N. Vinod of Bombay Bistro, among others. All Set, Denizens Brewing Co. and J. Hollinger’s Waterman’s Chophouse are represented as well.

The event theme this year is Plate of Emergency, signifying the state of emergency that The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation has declared for LGBTQ+ Americans because of attacks on the transgender and non-binary communities, people of color and women.

“This is a very precarious time for the LGBTQ+ community, and I’m happy to say that several food professionals have joined for a good cause to help us engage in this huge struggle that our community is currently facing,” said Hagedorn, who is the freelance restaurant critic for Bethesda Magazine and Arlington Magazine, an author and the Chefs for Equality co-chair.

Among the featured activities is a speed diner, featuring drag performances.


“The drag community has been specifically attacked over the past several years. There have been many efforts to ban drag performances and drag entertainers,” Hagedorn said. For example, in February, protesters, including members of the Proud Boys hate group, chanted slurs and attacked community members at a drag story hour in Silver Spring.

What happened to drag Charlemagne Chateau during the drag story hour event in Montgomery County was a tragedy, and “that’s why we have to fight for the people of our community,” Hagedorn said.