So how did Ken Vedrinski get Laurent Gras of L20 in Chicago to come to town for a guest chef dinner?

By dangling George Hincapie in front of his face like a tasty carrot.

Recently, Vedrinski and Gras were both featured in a Food and Wine story about the fittest chefs in America. Both being cyclists, Vedrinski thought it might be fun to invite Gras to participate in the Jerry Zucker Ride for Hope, a bike ride that raises money for cancer. It’s also attended by Hincapie, a world champion cyclist, Olympian, teammate of Lance Armstrong, and Greenville resident. Vedrinski figured the chance to meet Hincapie would help entice Gras to town for the ride and a fundraising dinner. He was right.

The two chefs will cycle 100 kilometers in the morning, and then they’ll prepare a four-course meal with wine pairings, which Hincapie will also attend. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Jerry Zucker Ride for Hope, which funnels funds to local cancer organizations.

Make your reservations quick, because you can bet this will fill up fast.  

Gras is a French-born chef who worked for the likes of Guy Savoy and Alain Ducasse in the rarefied world of Michelin stars before jumping the pond and finding great success in the United States. He worked in New York and San Francisco and then moved to Chicago to open his own restaurant, L20, which has won all kinds of accolades for Gras’ reverential treatment of the freshest seafood money can buy. Just check out his blog at and think about how delicious that burned tomato ceviche must taste. His 12-course tasting menu for $165 is the stuff of legend. Pair him with Vedrinski, a chef who’s got his own way with fish, and you should expect a world class meal worthy of a champion like Hincapie.