An inaugural food charity event thrown by seven celebrity chefs on Saturday also helped raise awareness for gay marriage.

Openly gay Chef Art Smith's Capitol Hill restaurant Art and Soul hosted the Chef's Ball, which drew a sold-out crowd of more than 500 who shelled out $75 each for the opportunity to sample food from some of the city's top chefs, according to the AP.

Smith, who is based in Chicago, said the Obamas have influenced America's food culture.

“Can that little garden at the White House feed America? No. But you know what it can do? It can inspire America,” Smith said. “Most importantly, it's that we as Americans all deserve good food, regardless of economic, social differences.”

With Illinois Governor Pat Quinn and Modern Family actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson in attendance, the event also highlighted Illinois' upcoming debate on marriage equality. Quinn, a Democrat, has endorsed the effort. Ferguson, who is openly gay, has, with his lawyer fiance Justin Mikita, lobbied Illinois lawmakers on the issue and launched the non-profit Wait staff at the event wore white bow ties from Ferguson's organization to support passage of marriage equality in Illinois.

(Related: Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of Modern Family, to lobby for Illinois gay marriage.)

Other chefs participating in the event included Erik Bruner-Yang of Toki Underground, Scott Drewno of The Source, Wes Morton of Art and Soul, Todd Gray of Equinox Restaurant, Rock Harper of Central Kitchen and Mike Isabella of Graffiato and Bandolero.