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Bryan Voltaggio, Spike Gjerde lend a hand for ailing Rogue 24 chef

A Washington D.C. restaurant is getting by with a little help from the chef's friends.

When R.J. Cooper, the chef/owner of Rogue 24, underwent planned open-heart surgery at Johns Hopkins earlier this week, the Washington D.C. restaurant didn't temporarily close. Instead, 12 of Cooper's friends are stepping in -- each for a week -- to lend a hand while Cooper recovers.

The restaurant is calling the series of collaborations the Rogue Sessions. Each evening features a 24-course dinner consisting of 12 of the visiting chef’s dishes and 12 Rogue 24 favorites.

Rogue 24 announced the full roster of visiting chefs early on but is revealing the exact schedule week by week. The line-up of chefs includes Bryan Voltaggio, 2011 James Beard outstanding chef Jose Andres and other boldface names from San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and just up the road in Baltimore. 

Voltaggio's sold-out debut session runs through Saturday. Woodberry Kitchen's Spike Gjerde will be taking the third Rogue Session, Jan. 24-29. Tickets for Gjerde's Rogue Session go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.

Cooper's surgery, which was performed on Wednesday at Johns Hopkins, was to correct a genetic heart defect known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which could be life-threatening if not treated. A message posted Friday morning on a Facebook page maintained by Cooper's wife said that Cooper was resting in the hospital's intensive care unit.

"It’s in trying times that you appreciate the people you’ve surrounded yourself with," Cooper said in a statement. "Chefs have always come together to support each other, whether borrowing tools, sharing techniques or supporting worthy causes. This is a natural extension of that support and I’m truly humbled and grateful for these very talented chefs."

Tickets to each week’s dinners are being sold exclusively on the Gilt City website for $185 per person, with 250 seats available per week (50 per night).

Cooper announced will be donating a portion of each ticket to Share Our Strength, an organization devoted to ending childhood hunger in America that the chef has supported for 22 years.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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