SOCIAL CLIMES : Leaving Us Hungry for More

Based on the popularity of their weeklong stint last month at the Beverly Hills Hotel, chef Willi Elsener and five additional chefs from London’s posh Dorchester Hotel will be back next year doing more of the same.

The biggest hits? Very British dishes such as smoked Scottish wild salmon, fish and chips, and roast beef with Yorkshire pudding.

This spring the Beverly Hills Hotel will bring California cuisine to London.

“Which in England,” confirms a Dorchester spokeswoman, “they love.”


Leaving a Bad Taste: We couldn’t help but get irritated by one of the guests at a recent dinner hosted by Pierre Levai, director of the Marlborough Gallery in New York, in honor of artist Fernando Botero. The occasion was the installation of Botero’s 15 monumental sculptures along Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills (where they will remain through Jan. 31).

The guest was an ex-New Yorker who spent a good portion of the evening at Drai’s dissing L.A. You know the rap--lack of culture, dearth of decent bookstores, low energy.

The one good thing here, he groused, was work (he’s in show biz). He couldn’t wait to retire, pack up his money and move back to New York.

Several people at the table were ready to throw their goat cheese tartlets at the guy.

This well-traveled lot began touting L.A.'s pluses--such as the absence of garbage piled on sidewalks for days on end. But Botero may have had the last word. During another discussion, he said he thought his sculptures looked better on Santa Monica Boulevard than on Park Avenue.

Too Many Good Souls: We couldn’t wait to hear who bought the most shoes at the “celebrity shoe sale” at the new Diego Della Valle store on Rodeo Drive. A portion of the proceeds from the Nov. 11 opening night party was to have benefited Audrey Hepburn Hollywood for Children, Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Planet Hope. Think of the shoes you could have guiltlessly acquired.

But it turned out there was such a swarm of people--about 500, double the number expected--that the four salespeople couldn’t make their way to the stock room. The cash register was never even opened.

Not to fret. An undisclosed, though supposedly impressive, portion of all sales will be donated to the three charities through the end of the year.