For its ninth year, Feastival — the splashy fundraiser at which dozens of top restaurants offer samples amid performance artists — will tweak its concept.

In a bid to create a truly Philadelphia-themed event, FringeArts organizers plan to pair off about 60 participating chefs to create one-night-only dishes representing five areas of the city. The event will be 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 27 at FringeArts, on Columbus Boulevard at Race Street.

"As we approach the 10th anniversary, we know we have to keep it fresh," said chef Nicholas Elmi of Laurel, ITV, and Royal Boucherie, who is chairing for a second year with Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Abe Fisher, Federal Donuts, Dizengoff, Goldie). Restaurateurs Stephen Starr and Audrey Taichman are also listed as hosts.

Last year's participating chefs were invited to La Peg, at FringeArts, on Monday night to hear from Elmi and Solomonov about the new format.

This year, chefs will be given a stipend to help with expenses. Chefs are constantly asked to contribute staff, time, and food to a growing slate of charity events, said Elmi and Solomonov. Chefs this year will be asked to prepare more substantial dishes than the bite-size samples typically offered, Solomonov said.

The 2018 Festival will spotlight Philadelphia's neighborhoods and the cuisines largely associated with them, including West Philadelphia (Caribbean, Indian, and African cuisines); South Philadelphia (Italian, Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Mexican), Chinatown for a range of Asian dishes; Kensington and Fishtown (Polish and Irish), and Northeast Philadelphia (Russian, Jewish, and German fare).

The idea here, said Solomonov, will be for the chef teams to create a one-off dish that is representative of that area and its cuisines. The teams have not been announced, but the idea is to pair strangers in an unfamiliar style. Solomonov said he, for example, would not be part of the Northeast Philadelphia "neighborhood" because of his work in Jewish cooking.

Tickets, which will be $300 for general admission and $450 for earlier VIP access, are not yet on sale.

Chefs met to discuss the format change. From left: Jon Cichon, Nick Elmi, Michael Solomonov, Jason Cichonski, and Nick Macri.
COURTESY NICK ELMI
Chefs met to discuss the format change. From left: Jon Cichon, Nick Elmi, Michael Solomonov, Jason Cichonski, and Nick Macri.