Thursday, August 9, 2018

On the same plane

St Andrews Cathedral in St Andrews, Scotland; built in 1158 and completed in 1318.  Photo: JH.
Thursday, August 9, 2018. The weather outside is sunny and bright hot. Rain often expected, occasionally arrives in a torrent and moves on. Not so far today as of this writing; just very warm.

It was Wednesday and I went down to Michael’s to lunch with Ron Mwangaguhunga who writes for the Daily Beast. I can’t remember how we met, because it’s been so long, and years since we’ve had these occasional catch-up lunches where the conversation inevitably turns to politics.

Ron Mwangaguhunga.
Ron is one of the few with whom I can converse on the subject – which is usually current events. This never occurred to me until I wrote this because our conversation just flowed from the get go. On the other hand, I cannot tell you what his politics are except that our thinking is much on the same plane. Higher, of course, we’d both like to think.

Ron came to this country as a child when his father was Idi Amin’s Ambassador to the UN. Idi Amin had a wicked reputation, to put it politely, in his day. Now he is all but forgotten in the avalanche of passing events since those days. Ron, however, is a journalist and infinitely curious to learn. Always a pleasure.

Michael’s was its Wednesday self, full up and with many of the familiar faces. Around the room: Kathy Lee Gifford and Eva Mohr were hosting three men at table 5; Danie Streisand of United Talent; Michael Strohl, Jonathan Estreich, Mickey Ateyeh with Joan Jakobson, Alexandre Chemla, Steve Coats, Andrew Freedman, Chris Meigher, Shelly Palmer, Andrew Stein, Ambassador Bill vanden Heuvel, Hilary Gumbel, Steven Haft, Peter Price, Bill Schwitter, Holly Morrow, Wendy Berry, Amanda Levine, Marie Oates, Janis Cecil, Joel Rosenthal, Valerie Love, Patricia Xavier.

From midtown to out East. Last Friday night in Southampton, the Friends of Budapest Festival Orchestra, including Sylvia Hemingway, Heidi Lee Komaromi, Peter Thomas Roth, Christine Schott and George Ledes, and Victoria Wyman, hosted a chamber concert at the home of  Penny and Jay Lieberman.  It began on a still sunny evening, under a striped marquee poolside. 

Board member Andrew Komaromi opened the gathering by thanking their hosts and introducing a message from Maestro Ivan Fischer.  Then a quartet flown in from Hungary performed a rendition of Dvořák's String Quartet No. 12 in F major, Op. 96 "American".  Among the guests were Kati Marton, Robin Cofer, Dominic D'Alleva, Cheri Kaufman, Fern Mallis, Wendy Moonan, Campion Platt, and Bill Sclight.  
Budapest Orchestra Musicians
The Friends of Budapest Festival Orchestra offers members unique opportunities to build a closer relationship with the Orchestra  -- both in North America and at home in Budapest -- through special events with Maestro Ivan Fischer and the orchestra musicians. The FBFO hosts and participates in special events throughout the year including patron travel, back-stage access, an annual New York gala, the new Vicenza Opera Festival, and chamber concerts in private homes. 

The Budapest Festival Orchestra was founded by Maestro Fischer in 1983, and is acknowledged as one of the finest orchestras in the world. In November Maestro Fischer will conduct the NY Philharmonic at Carnegie Hall.  In April 2019, he returns to New York with the full Orchestra for two thrilling concerts.
Jay and Penny Lieberman with the Budapest Orchestra Musicians
Andrew Komaromi, Heidi Lee-Komaromi, Peter Thomas Roth, Brian Thomas Roth, Jill Stewart, Kelly Bensimone, and Sylvia Hemingway
Stan Herman, Jay Lieberman, Carey Delrose, Campion Platt, Penny Lieberman, Fern Mallis, and David Driscoll
Xenia Platt, Priscilla Duart, and Liva Platt Robin Cofer and Dominic D'Alleva
Bill Sclight, Cheri Kaufman, and Sylvia Hemingway
Kati Marton and Jon Molin
Stan Herman and Fern Mallis David Driscoll, Wendy Moonan, Juliette Ludlan, and Carey Delrose
Heidi Lee-Komaromi, Peter Nadosy, Kati Marton, and Andrew Komaromi
A week earlier, on Sunday, July 29th, the 14th annual Hayground School's benefit “Chefs Dinner” honoring Jacques Pépin was held at the school.  Ten chefs  -- Josh Capon, Jessica Craig, Christian Mir, Ayesha Nurdjaja, Francois Payard, Joe Realmuto, Hillary Sterling, Bill Telepan, Carissa Waechter, and Jason Weiner -- prepared a five-course meal in his honor. 

The school’s co-founder, Toni Ross, opened the dinner by exclaiming, ”I am freaking out because Jacques Pépin is here with us tonight." Indeed, everyone was.  

M. Pépin filled the room with the kind of warmth that only a very distinguished Frenchman can. Mid-dinner, between the fish and game courses, Eric Ripert interviewed him as the guest of honor shared his longtime love for the Hamptons.  He was married at the house Pierre Franey shared with Craig Claiborne in East Hampton 52 years ago.  Franey's daughter still lives there and was in the audience.
Eric Ripert and Jacques Pepin
M. Pépin spoke of his love for food and cooking, how he left his home in 1949 for Paris working at Fouquet's and Maxim’s; his years at the Élysée Palace as chief to three French presidents. Charles de Gaulle’s wife, Yvonne, who like the president was very tall, referred to him as “petit Jacques”. They planned menus for the week together, expect for official state dinners when he worked with the official protocol department.

He first came to the US to work in the kitchen at Le Pavillon. He was offered to role of chef at the White House under President Kennedy but chose instead to work at Howard Johnson's with Pierre Franey. 

He spoke about the MeToo Movement and explained that he has only worked for women, and has respect for them. His mother was a chef, as were his cousins, his wife and his daughter, so were the editors of his books, and television producers.  When he was to be introduced to Julia Child he was told: “'She’s a tall woman with a terrible voice' and I loved her immediately. She was always the boss.  We first spoke in French because her French was much better than my English.”
Hillary Sterling, Jacques Pepin, and  Ayesha Nurdjaja
The guest list of nearly 200 dinner patrons included Adam and Mahnaz Bartos, Eric Cantor, Lori Capon, Dani Effron Kline, Joanna Fisher, Alan and Irka Golub, Arthur Maslow, Paige Patterson, Steven and Sandy Perlbinder, Tony Piazza, Sandra Ripert, Sana Sabbagh, Noah Salaway, Sarah Salaway, Sheri Sandler, Jon Snow, Tinka Topping, and Eli Zabar.

Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres were prepared by Michael Cavaniola (serving an artisanal cheese selection), Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar and Bowery Meat Company offered Fishers Island Oysters Farm oyseters. Joe Realmuto of Nick & Toni’s served beef rib tacos with mole. Arjun Achuthan of Hayground School served wood oven roasted clams in fennel, shallots, white wine broth. Leslie Merinoff of Matchbook Distilling company served The Gin Apothecary Shelter Island Pales Project X infused drinks, and the Shelter Island Craft Brewery served Limited Editions Chef Dinner Summer Session Pale Ale.
Christian Mir, Eric Ripert, and Francois Payard
The five course menu prepared in Hayground’s Jeff’s Kitchen included a first course by Jason Weiner of Almond, L&W Market (raw, smoked, and pickled Sagaponack beets, Amagansett crunchy lettuce, Bridgehampton blue cheese) paired with a Chateau d’Esclans ‘Whispering Angel’ Rosé 2017. A second course by Hillary Sterling of Vic’s and Ayesha Nurdjaja of Shuka (conchiglie, ricotta, roasted baby tomatoes, lemon, and herbs) paired with Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc 2015. A third course by Bill Telepan of Oceana (local porgy ‘sausage & peppers’, fennel, red pepper vinaigrette) paired with Château Les Trois Croix Bordeaux Rouge Fronsac 2014. A fourth course by Christian Mir of Stone Creek Inn (Long Island crescent duck breast, wood oven roasted peaches, corn creme brûlée, honey lavender sauce) paired with Chateau Carbonnieux Rouge 2014.

The evening boasted a dessert bar by Francois Payard, Jessica Craig of L’Artusi, and Carissa Waechter of Carissa’s The Bakery including chocolates by Francois Payard, lemon thyme panna cotta, local blueberries, lemon crumble, toasted almond, and Carissa’s cakes and pies. Dessert was paired with Cardenal Mendoza Angelus brandy. 

So now you know what you missed! 
Guests taking their seats for dinner
The evening raised over $300,000. The Chefs Dinner Committee included Toni Ross, Chair Emeritus; Almond Zigmund, Co-Chair; Elaine DiGiacomo, Co-Chair, and Greainne Coen, Cindi Crain, Erica Lynn Huberty, Scott O’Neil, Christian Troy and Craig Wood. The honorary chairpersons were Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick.

These Hayground Chefs Dinners since inception
have raised almost $2 million in support of Hayground’s Jeff’s Kitchen culinary programs, as well as the school’s overall curriculum. This enables Hayground to be readily accessible to the diverse spectrum of East End children. Currently, more than 80% of all Hayground students receive some form of financial assistance. The school also incorporates an expansive Edible Garden/Kitchen Science program into its curriculum on its pastoral grounds.
Josh Capon and Chris Quartuccio
Almond Zigmund and Elaine Digiacomo
Morgana Tetherow and Tinka Topping Jean Lindgren and Bill Hitchcock
Toni Ross, Sara Salaway, Morgana Tetherow, Jon O'Hara, and Sasha Erwitt
Eric Lemonides, Jacques Pepin, and Dan Friedman
Eric Ripert, Jacques Pepin, Sheri Sandler, Josh Capon, and Sandra Ripert
Sana Sabbagh, Joanna Fischer, and Jacques Pepin
And back in the city on the 27th of July at the Metropolitan Club, The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation presented its 2018 Klerman and Freedman Prizes recognizing exceptional clinical and basic research at the Foundation’s Scientific Council Dinner.  The prizes honor the work of outstanding researchers who have been supported by the Foundation’s Young Investigator Grant Program.  
Cocktails in the Great Hall at the Metropolitan Club
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation awards research grants to develop improved treatments, cures, and methods of prevention for mental illness.  These illnesses include addiction, ADHD, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia, and suicide prevention.  Since 1987, the Foundation has awarded more than $394 million to fund more than 4,700 leading scientists around the world, which has led to over $3.9 billion in additional funding.  100% of every dollar donated for research is invested in research grants.
Scientific Council discussion with Dr. Husseini Manji, Dr. Carol Tamminga, Dr. Herbert Pardes and Dr. Joshua Gordon
Dr. Joshua Gordon, director of the NIMH, and Dr. Herbert Pardes
The Klerman & Freedman Prizewinners - Christina M. Gremel, Ph.D., Byungkook Lim, Ph.D., Herbert Pardes, M.D., Ueli Rutishauser, Ph.D., Timothy Y. Mariano, M.D., Ph.D., M.Sc, and Albert R. Powers III, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, President & CEO of BBRF and Dr. Herbert Pardes, President of the BBRF Scientific Council
Janice and Stephen Lieber
Dr. Robert Hirshkowitz and Dr. Robert Post Dr. Francis Lee and Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein
Dr. Jack Barchas, Nancy Schatzberg, and Dr. Dilip Jeste
Miriam Katowitz and Arthur Radin, BBRF Board Member Anne Abramson, BBRF Board Member

Photos: Annie Watt (Budapest); Chad David Kraus (BBRF)

Contact DPC here.