Monday, April 2, 2007

Citymeals, NYers for Children, & Churchill Foundation

Daniel Boulud with guest chefs at "Savoring Citymeals"
Two Sunday nights ago I was over at the Sheraton at a fundraising dinner for Hillary which I’ve written about somewhere in these pages. While I don’t regret the opportunity to have witnessed the senator, along with Senator Schumer and Congressman Rangel and former President Clinton all on the platform together in the center of the room speechifying to 1000 people, including many prominent (and deep pocketed) New Yorkers, I did regret missing the doings over at Restaurant Daniel for a couple of reasons.

One reason is the food. I know it was a helluva lot better than the poached salmon (is that what that was?) which has begun to move in on the rubber chicken as the fare du jour for political banquets.

And the other reason was the cause. Food. Feeding. Eating. There were 140 New Yorkers over at Restaurant Daniel. They gathered for another kind of fundraiser: to raise money to feed those of us who need assistance – for CityMeals-on-Wheels.

The evening was called: Savoring Citymeals. The PR people referred to it the gourmand event of the year whatwith Chef Daniel Boulud personally hosting and preparing an exquisite dinner, paired with world-class wines. The dinner, in conjunction with La Paulée de New York held last March 3, raised more than $1 million for Citymeals-on-Wheels. (Hillary raised more than $2 million that Sunday night, just for the record.)
Adrienne Horwich and David Hochberg
Bob Grimes, Patricia Baremboim, and Joe Cohen
Daniel Boulud has been a long-time supporter of the organization that provides home-delivered, nutritious meals to frail, homebound elderly in New York City. There’s a kind of zen relationshipo there: Chef Daniel celebrated 25 years of cooking in America, while Citymeals celebrated its 25th anniversary.

“Daniel has been a caring friend to the people Citymeals nourishes, for more than a decade,” Marcia Stein, Executive Director of Citymeals-on-Wheels told the guests that night. “Tonight he has ensured that New York’s most vulnerable elderly will receive the help they need to remain living independently.”

There was a reception featuring hors d’oeuvres prepared by guest chefs from five top restaurants in town representing the delectable cuisines of Asia and India (Michael Bao Huynh of Mai House, James Reinnholt of Spice Market, Joe Ng of Chinatown Brasserie, Masahuru Morimoto of Morimoto and Floyd Cardoz of Tabla).

Also during cocktails they “silent” auctioned off exquisite rare large format wines. Then there was a spectacular auction offering the ultimate in luxury dining, wines and travel followed the dinner. Eliza Osborne of Sotheby’s wielded the gavel. There was a $100,000 bid for a private eight course wine pairing lunch prepared by Chef Daniel and hosted by Robert Parker, America’s most revered wine guru.

Also on the auction block was “You Pour…I’ll Cook.” For $32,000 the winning bidder will have the chance of lifetime to go course-for-course with Chef Daniel Boulud, as he creates an eight-course tasting menu paired with the best from the winner’s wine cellar. This is a case where apersonal extravaganc has a real pay-off for the communty: $32,000 will feed a lot of the clients of CityMeals. A lot.
Daniel Boulud, Masaharu Morimoto, Drew Nieporent, Daniel Johnnes, and Bob Grimes
Eric Riepert and Cassandra Riepert
Then Mr. Boulud and his guest chefs added an impromptu auction item to the event: they auctioned off “a cocktail party for 60 at the winner’s home,” raising an additional $48,000. Even more meals.

The auction’s piece de resistance was a customized tour of India offered by Taj Hotels. In a display of true generosity, Taj Hotel Director Raymond Bickson added a second trip during the heated bidding. The two trips sold for $75,000 each.

Just so you know: 100% of the two evenings’ proceeds will directly support the preparation and delivery of meals to the elderly.

Then came dinner. Daniel’s sumptuous menu: Spring Asparagus with Gingered Lobster; Filet of Dover sole with Butter Lettuce, Oregon Morels, Pea Mousseline; Taste of Vermont Organic Veal “marengo”; Early Chanterelles, Oregano-Tomato Marmalade; Tahitian Vanilla Bavaroise with Passion Fruit-Banana Sorbet; Chaud-froid au Guanaja Chocolate; and Petits fours and chocolates.
Myron Stein, Rhoda Weiskoff Cohen, and Marcia Stein
Taube Rothman, Lillian Vernon, and David Hochberg
For the record, the outpouring of generosity that characterized that night at Daniel had begun two weeks earlier with La Paulée de New York, a spectacular wine dinner and auction orchestrated by renowned oenophile Daniel Johnnes, the wine director of Boulud’s restaurant group. More than $235,000 in auction proceeds was donated to the organization that evening.

CityMeals-On-Wheels celebrated its 25th anniversary last December. It is one of the very great philanthropies of New York and it was started as a simple idea by the late legendary chef James Beard and the just-about-legendary food critic Gael Greene. They had been making plans for a holiday dinner (maybe it was Thanksgiving) when it came to them that there were a lot of people out there, especially those who are elderly, who would be without the joy of a holiday meal and even the satisfaction of any meal.

So CityMeals was born and today their public-private partnership with the NYC Department for Aging raises private funds to prepare and deliver weekend, holiday and emergency meals for homebound elderly throughout the boroughs of New York City. Citymeals will underwrite 2.7 million meals for 18,000 seniors in New York City. The magic of a generous thought.

For more information, visit
Barbara and Donald Tober
Daniel Boulud, Egidiana Maccioni, Marcia Stein, and Sirio Maccio
Jim Clendenen
Sirio Maccioni and Daniel Boulud
Kelly Choi and Daniel Boulud
Daniel Boulud, Raymond Bickson, Connie Bickson, and Bob Grimes

Oilily opened their flagship store in Soho with an “Afternoon for Moms and Kids” to benefit New Yorkers for Children hosted by Holly Robinson Peete. They had balloon art, jewelry making, tattoo art, an exclusive OILILY “Sewing Box” customizing station, and a musical performance by Paulie Z. And then there was the shopping. Lots to shop with the colorful spirit of OILILY. 15% of all in store proceeds went to NYFC.

All funds raised by New Yorkers for Children go to assisting kids in Foster Care. They got a good crowd: Donya and Josie Bea Bommer, Marisa, Ford and Luke Brown, Jennifer and Alix Creel, Martin and Will Dessoffy, Adelina and Tyler Ettelson, Valesca, Lucien and Cléa Guerrand-Hermès, Dayssi, Sophia and Nicholas Kanavos, Ulrica, Nicolas, Chiara and Matteo Lanaro, Lauren and Marina Pinto, Andrea and Luca Scoppetta and Kelly, Arno and Miles Sugarman.

In case you didn’t know (I didn’t) OILILY is the premium Dutch fashion label which was created in 1964 in the Netherlands by Marieke and Willem Olsthoorn. It is an expressive, art-based breand for babies, children and women. They’re known for drawing upon the art and design worlds, focusing on bold colors, intricate knits, and top quality fabrics and materials, as well as cutting edge patterns graphics, lines and shapes.
Kelly and Arno Sugarman
Ford Brown, Marisa Noel Brown, and Luke Brown
Valesca Guerrand-Hermes and Clea Guerrand-Hermes
Nicholas Scoppetta, Susan Magazine, Paul Lechlinski, and Holly Robinson Peete
Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos
Holly Robinson Peete
Jennifer Creel
Olivia Palermo
Nicholas Kanavos and Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos
Spencer Brod, Alison Brod, and Kristen Meyers
Tyler Ettelson and Adelina Wong Ettelson
Meanwhile down among the sheltering palms, Palm Beach that is, there was a Winston Churchill Foundation gala dinner honoring the Duke of Marlborough at Club Colette. Bill Bernhard, Edward Elson, David Gilmour and Martin Gruss chaired. The duke is a second or third cousin, or somewhere in there, of the present Winston Churchill. The duke’s late father, the 10th duke, was a first cousin of the distinguished British statesman and historian, one of the greatest characters of the 20th century. In fact, it was noted in the family that it was the birth of the late duke that scotched the possibility of Sir Winston (he was just regular old Winston then) ever becoming a duke of Marlborough. He did write the greatest biography of the first duke, also his forebear, however.

Which brings us back to Palm Beach. Somehow. Actually, Sir Winston used to visit Palm Beach later in his life, or more specifically Manalapan where he stayed with his uncle’s (the 9th duke) ex-wife, the former duchess, Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan at her house which now belongs to Moira and Bill Benjamin. In fact lots of Marlboroughs/ Spencer-Churchills used too to stay with Grannie who was of course the American heiress whose fortune restored the Blenheim Churchill family wealth for an entire century. Which has nothing to do with this dinner. Almost nothing, but not quite.
Jill Gilmour and Jean Tailer
Gay and Stanley Gaines
Jill and David Gilmour
George Stamas and Hillie Mahoney
Bill and Candy Hamm
Anita and Sam Michaels
David Gilmour, Martin Gruss, Bill Bernhard, Ed Elson, and Patrick Gerschel
David and Julia Koch
Wilbur and Hilary Ross
Michael Stanley and Frances Hayward
Ed and Susie Elson
Patrick and Elizabeth Gerschel
Catherine Cahill and Bill Bernhard
Winston and Luce Churchill
Martin Gruss, Audrey Gruss, and The Duke of Marlborough
Tom Quick and The Duke of Marlborough
Llwyd and Diana Ecclestone
Katharine and Billy Rayner with Bob Sterling
Arnold Scaasi and Vera Serrano
Richard Kaplan and Edwina Sandys

Photographs by Jerry Ruototo (Citymeals); Lucien Capehart (Churchill).