Wednesday, May 5, 2022. A sunny day in New York yesterday although the air was chilly, leaving a lot of us to wonder when is it going to warm up just a little — although the temp says low to mid-60s.
The calendar is warming up however. Today is the famous Central Park hat lunch in the gardens behind the Vanderbilt gates up on 102nd Street on Fifth Avenue. This is the first year since 2019 that this annual luncheon is being held there under a tent.
This event was started by the Women’s Committee of Central Park Conservancy and over the years it has grown to more than a thousand attending, many of whom have fun with the hats — which we’ll have some samples on tomorrow’s Diary for your looking pleasure.
Last Tuesday a week, City Harvest, New York City’s first and largest food rescue organization, presented their 2022 Gala: The Red Supper Club, hosted Benjamin Bratt, with décor — “Red Supper Club” by celebrity event planner Colin Cowie.
After two years of hiatus because of the COVID-19, the evening raised $5.2 million! That’s enough to provide 12 million meals for New Yorkers in need as we continue to grapple with the impact of the pandemic on the economy and people’s lives.
Eric Ripert, chef and co-owner of the three Michelin-starred Le Bernardin, and his wife Sandra were the honorees of the evening. The Riperts have been steadfast supporters of City Harvest for the past 25 years! Actor Richard Gere, who was honored in 2019, was on hand as their son Adrien surprised them to present them (he came in from Syracuse University) with the Heart of the City Award.
Chef Ripert currently serves as Vice Chair of City Harvest’s Board of Directors and is a member of the Food Council, a group of culinary experts and top chefs that supports the organization’s work. Sandra Ripert is a longtime co-chair for City Harvest’s annual gala and a dedicated volunteer — distributing food at City Harvest’s Mobile Markets and repacking fresh produce for delivery to soup kitchens and food pantries.
In the past quarter century, the Riperts’ leadership and support has helped City Harvest rescue and deliver nearly 1 billion pounds of food — including 270 million pounds just since the two years since March 2020.
“City Harvest has always been about neighbors helping neighbors,” said Jilly Stephens, CEO of City Harvest. “Thanks to our co-chairs, our sponsors, and everyone who joined us, we know we will be able to continue to help feed our neighbors during these difficult times — one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time.”
The evening drew a big crowd including: John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, Richard Gere, Neil Patrick Harris, David Burtka, Antoni Porowski, Colin Cowie, Anne Burrell, Desus Nice, Elizabeth Falkner, Gail Simmons, Geoffrey Zakarian, Eunji Lee, Rocco DiSpirito, Ron Ben-Israel, Ted Allen, Brooks Nader, Emilia and Ryan Serhant, Slick Rick, Christophe Bellanca, Emma Bengtsson, Eitan Bernath, Markus Glocker, Cody Goldstein, Kerry Heffernan, Rita Jammet, Austin Johnson, Matt Katakis, Gabriel Kreuther, Roni Mazumdar, Ed McFarland, Tracey Nieporent, Chintan Pandya, Alfred Portale, Basu Ratnam, Jimmy Rizvi, Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, Aldo Sohm, Ivy Stark, Hong Thaimee, Laurent Tourondel, Melba Wilson, Cedric Vongerichten, to name just a few.
“Battling food insecurity and ensuring our neighbors have access to nutritious meals, especially during the pandemic and in its aftermath, is critical for preserving the well-being of our communities,” said José Tavarez, President, Bank of America New York City. “Through many efforts, we’ve teamed up with and provided City Harvest with $1.75 million since the start of the pandemic to ensure New Yorkers in need have access to fresh meals.”
The live auction led by Nicholas Lowry, President of Swann Auction Galleries. The highlight was a legendary evening with Chef Eric Ripert and John Legend, which raised $1.2 million, enough to feed more than 3.4 million New Yorkers for a day. The bidder will enjoy dinner at their home for 20 guests, prepared by Chef Ripert; plus a tasting of Cardinal du Four, CdF 21 Rébellion Armagnac; a one of a kind CdF painted bottle by cubism style artist James Peter Henry, along with the NFT digital asset; the evening will also feature a private performance by John Legend.
Other items included: A special evening with Top Chef Tom Colicchio featuring a private, behind-the-scenes kitchen tour and dinner from the chef’s tasting menu; A pasta-making dinner party with Angie Rito and Scott Tacinellii in their famous Don Angie kitchen; a special, multi-course Trufflepalooza dining experience hosted by Chef Carmellini at his Tribeca hotspot Locanda Verde; and an elevated evening hosted by Chef James Kent at Overstory, the cocktail bar on the 64th floor of the Art Deco tower, and Michelin-starred Crown Shy with a menu prepared by Chef Kent.
The evening’s co-chair committee included Colin Cowie and Danny Peuscovich, Lise and Michael Evans, Alejandra and Richard Gere, Carola and Robert Jain, Christine and Richard Mack, Shirley Madhere-Weil and Michael Weil, Kirsten and Patrick McMahon, Heather Crosby Mnuchin, and Chrissy Teigen and John Legend.
The evening was generously sponsored by Two Good Yogurt, Bank of America, Wafra Inc., Salesforce, I. Halper Paper & Supplies, Mandarin Oriental, New York, and Tequila Casa Dragones.
City Harvest is New York’s first and largest food rescue organization, helping to feed millions of New Yorkers who struggle to put meals on their tables. This year they will rescue more than 100 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food and deliver it free of charge to nearly 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, community partners, and their own Mobile Markets® across the five boroughs. They work alongside our community partners to boost community capacity, expand nutrition education, and strengthen local food systems.
For more than 35 years, City Harvest has always been there to feed our city—one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time. To learn more, please visit cityharvest.org.
Photographs by Getty Images for City Harvest