By William Wolf


I’ve been writing about the Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) ever since 1990 when the non-profit organization was founded by culinary educator and cookbook author Richard Grausman, who had what has proven to be a great idea and pursued it with dedication and foresight. I attended award ceremonies that brought tears to my eyes as inner city high school students movingly accepted scholarships presented by Grausman on behalf of C-CAP—scholarships that would change their lives and open up job opportunities.

I have continued to write about C-CAP tasting benefits through the years chaired by Grausman (now Chairman Emeritus) and have reported on the remarkable $53 million in scholarships and the inspiring stories of students who have gone on to earn distinction in the food service world and bear out the importance of the C-CAP mission. I have watched TV segments of Grausman conducting high school cooking competitions and the excitement involved.

Now it is once again time for a C-CAP food tasting benefit. This year the honoree will be José Andrés, internationally recognized culinary innovator, author, educator, television personality, humanitarian, and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup & minibar by José Andrés. The annual culinary event will take place on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 from 5:45-9:00 p.m. at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers, the long-time benefit venue. Elior North America is the lead sponsor of the event, which will feature culinary tastings prepared by over 30 of the city’s noted chefs, including Chef Chair and C-CAP Board Co-Chair Marcus Samuelsson and Michelin Star Chefs José Andrés, Abram Bissel, Daniel Boulud, Markus Glocker, Alfred Portale, Thomas Keller, and Michael White, as well as C-CAP alumni Cesar Gutierrez from Café Boulud and Yvan Lemoine from Union Fare. Assisting the chefs will be more than 60 New York City C-CAP high school students and alumni.

“C-CAP changes lives by arming disadvantaged high school students with the skills they need to succeed in the culinary arts,” says Marcus Samuelsson. “C-CAP helps thousands of qualified students across the country through education and career placement opportunities. As a chef and longtime supporter of C-CAP’s work, I have seen first-hand how this program benefits its remarkable students and the industry’s growing demand for skilled talent. C-CAP’s Benefit makes a huge difference in the lives of so many students.”

The Chair for this year’s benefit is Kenneth A. Himmel, President & CEO of Related Urban. “We are thrilled to honor José Andrés for his remarkable contributions to the industry, for making the world a better place, and for his commitment to culinary innovation,” says Himmel.

José Andrés was named one of Time’s “100 Most Influential People” and “Outstanding Chef” by the James Beard Foundation. A pioneer of Spanish tapas in the United States, he is known for his avant-garde cuisine and his award-winning group of 28 restaurants throughout the country and beyond. His innovative minibar by José Andrés earned two Michelin stars and with that, José is the only chef globally that has both a two-star Michelin restaurant and four Bib Gourmands. Andrés’ work has earned numerous awards including the 2015 National Humanities Medal, one of 12 distinguished recipients of the award from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

WCBS-TV News Anchorman Maurice DuBois will be the Master of Ceremonies. The event is coordinated by Gourmet Advisory Services; Harriette Rose Katz will be overseeing the chefs. The featured C-CAP alumni speaker will be Gabrielle Calle, who received C-CAP scholarships to attend the Culinary Institute of America and to study and work in Madrid. She has advanced in her career at such venues as Gotham Bar & Grill and Union Square Cafe, and she is currently sous chef at Pier Sixty.

Past recipients of the C-CAP Honors Award include: Michael Anthony, Daniel Humm, Richard Parsons & Alexander Smalls, Michael White, Tony May, Michael McCarty, Michael Lomonaco, Marcus Samuelsson, Drew Nieporent, Alfred Portale, Lidia Bastianich, Thomas Keller, Charlie Palmer, Danny Meyer & Michael Romano, Daniel Boulud, Jacques Pepin, Egidiana & Sirio Maccioni, Nina & Tim Zagat, and Saul Zabar & Stanley Zabar.

The C-CAP Benefit is open to the public. VIP Admission Tickets are $1,000 and include a signed cookbook from a celebrity chef. General admission tickets are $600 (limited availability).

Participating chefs and restaurants include:

Philip DeMaiolo, Abigail Kirsch

Jason Weiner and Alex Nieto, Almond

Cyril Renaud, Asiate

Markus Glocker, Bâtard

Daniel Boulud, Aaron Bludorn, Cesar Gutierrez*, Café Boulud

Carla Hall, Carla Hall

Melissa Rodriguez, Del Posto

Fortunato Nicotra, Felidia

Scott Conant, Fusco

Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar and Grill

Miro Uskokovic, Gramercy Tavern

Manish Mehrotra, Indian Accent

Maria Loi, Loi Estiatorio

Kim Up Lim, Michael’s

Abram Bissell, The Modern

Matt Hoyle, Nobu 57

Bill Telepan, Oceana

Zene Flinn, Park Avenue Winter

Ashfer Biju, Perrine

Thomas Keller, Per Se

Philippe Bertineau, The Polo Bar

Michael Lomonaco and Wayne Harley Brachman, Porter House

Delfin Jaranilla, Quality Eats

Sarabeth Levine, Sarabeth’s

Marcus Samuelsson, Streetbird Rotisserie

Sherry Yard and Greg Power, The Tuck Room

José Andrés, ThinkFoodGroup

Thomas Chen, Tuome

Yvan Lemoine*, Union Fare

Chris Santos, Vandal

Michael White, Vaucluse

*C-CAP Alum

(For more information visit; follow C-CAP on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @CCAPINC ; Event hashtag: #ccapbenefit.)

Posted January 9, 2018.


Memories are stirred dramatically at the just-opened “Leonard Bernstein at 100” exhibition at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. The tribute continues through March 24, 2018, and music lovers will find much to enjoy when paying a visit. The renowned composer and conductor was born on August 25, 1918 in Lawrence, Massachusetts. He died on October 24, 1990.

Videos of Bernstein conducting are fascinating, and those chosen range from his younger years through his later triumphs. In addition, there are annotated Bernstein scores.

Also included is a collection of memorabilia harking back to his family, his growing up period and schooling. One can examine a report card from his days at Harvard (not particularly exceptional grades on that one), from which he graduated with honors.

Selections of Bernstein’s correspondence are included, and of special interest is a long letter that he wrote to his mother. An early family upright piano is on display, and there is his later concert piano. A formal outfit that he wore as conductor is shown, and there is even a collection of luggage that he carried on his world travels.

One sees posters of the musicals that he wrote during his multifaceted career that included composing for Broadway as well as opera. We also see evidence of his role as an educator and of his long association with Tanglewood.

One section is particularly intriguing—examples from a file that the FBI kept on him. In addition to the pages you can read, there is a whole stack of pages from that file. A controversy swirled around Bernstein when he hosted an event connected to the Black Panthers. Of course, that was just one of many instances of Bernstein demonstrating his social concerns. At the 40th anniversary of dropping the nuclear bombs on Japan, he conducted a “Journey for Peace” tour. When the Berlin Wall came down, he conducted “Berlin Celebration Concerts.”

There is a series of caricatures that the artist Al Hirschfeld drew of Bernstein, each an example of how Hirschfeld could capture the essence of his subject with a minimum of lines. Many photographs of Bernstein at various stages of his life and career are included.

One should take ample time for a visit as there is much to see, read and contemplate. On walking through the exhibition, one can get very nostalgic about what a great man Bernstein was in the world of music for so many of his extensive contributions and the stature that he achieved world-wide.

As a further celebration of his centennial the Library for the Performing Arts has scheduled a series of public events during December and in 2018. Examples: On Thursday, Dec. 21 at 6 p.m. there will be a screening of “On the Waterfront,” the only film for which Bernstein wrote a score; on Tuesday, Jan. 23, at 7 p.m. a program will be “Bernstein Family Memories,” with Bob Santelli, curator of the centennial exhibition, conversing with Bernstein family members and special guests.

Further information can be obtained online at or by phoning 212-642-0142. Posted December 12, 2017.


Even before entering the Berry Campbell Gallery in Chelsea, one can see through the broad window paintings that glow with amazing use of color. They are the works of important artist Albert Stadler (1923-2000), honored with the current show that runs through December 22 at the gallery owned by Christine A. Berry and Martha Campbell. The exhibit is appropriately called “Albert Stadler—Studies in Color.”

Stadler, whose first solo exhibition was held in 1962 at Bennington College, is recognized for combining color and minimalist art, as exemplified in this collection. Some of the works on display, nearly all in acrylic on canvas, are attractively bold, while others are sensitively subtle.

In surveying his paintings, one can appreciate Stadler’s ability to blend a variety of colors with his abstract imagery. One favorite is “Twilight,” which he did in 1973. Another is “Wild Character,” painted in 1979. Meadowrise (1983) is another dazzler, as is “Exotic Night.” (1982).

Mari Stadler, who was married to the artist, has dedicatedly worked to keep his art in the forefront, and Valerie Stadler, his daughter, has directed a film, “Albert Stadler: Color,” which explores his achievements. The film includes comments by Mari Stadler, Christine Berry and Sanford Wurmfeld, artist and Professor Emeritus of Hunter College.

The Berry Campbell Gallery is located at 530 West 24th Street. Phone: 212-924-2178. Posted November 17, 2017.


Years ago in Oslo I watched a group of very young students sitting around on the floor in front of “The Scream” with a teacher talking to them about the painting. I have occasionally wondered what those children were making of Munch’s cry of despair. There is only a lithograph of “The Scream” in the current reassessment of Munch’s career on display at The Met Breuer (November 15-February 4, 2018), but there are 42 other works by the artist, including some being seen in the United States for the first time. The current show is titled “Edvard Munch: Between the Clock and the Bed.”

Munch (1863-1944) expressed himself with many paintings that reflected a dark vision. One has to hunt to find any that one might call optimistic. There are two paintings called “Starry Night,” and one has a happy glow, while the other, despite the title, is quite dark. One of the cheerful works in the exhibit is the colorful “The Dance of Life.”

There are 16 self-portraits in the collection, and they have in common a severity of one sort or another. There is a unique one that shows Munch in a stance that comes across as delightfully assertive. There is, of course, the self-portrait of Munch in the painting that gives the exhibition its title, “Self Portrait Between the Clock and the Bed,” with Munch standing stiffly in the middle.

One especially impressive painting, “Jealousy,” shows a couple embracing in the background, while in the foreground a man looks dramatically upset, with the presumtiom that he is jealous of his wife with another man.

Works being shown in the U.S. for the first time include “Lady in Black,” “Puberty,” “Jealousy,” “Death Struggle,” “Man With Bronchitis,” “Self-Portrait with Hands in Pockets” and “Ashes.”

Munch was deeply sadden and haunted by the death of his sister Sophie, and several paintings were inspired by his grief, as in “The Sick Child.”

Whatever his subject, the paintings chosen display the individual styles of Munch as his career proceeded and also reflect his often pessimistic view of life, undoubtedly fueled by his personal psychological problems. This is an excellent opportunity to survey examples of what makes Munch’s work so special. At the Met Breuer, 945 Madison Avenue (at 75th Street). Phone: 212-923-3700. Posted November 15, 2017.


A striking exhibition illuminating the life and work of the late poet and writer Sylvia Plath has been assembled at the Grolier Club by noted scholar and author Judith G. Raymo. Titled “This is the Light of the Mind,” it opened on September 19 and continues through November 4, 2017.

The tribute to the renowned Plath, who committed suicide in 1963 at the age of 30, is mostly from the personal Plath collection of Raymo, who has annotated in detail various examples of Plath’s writing, history and personal correspondence. On surveying the assemblage one can get a firm impression of Plath’s professional and personal life, and come away with a feeling of the loss suffered when her career was tragically so short lived.

In the catalogue published in connection with the exhibit, Raymo notes: “I have been collecting editions of the works of the poet and writer Sylvia Plath for the past 25 years. My early interest was sparked by the posthumous publication of her extraordinary book of poems, ‘Ariel” (1965). Plath and I were both undergraduates who majored in English literature at Smith College in the 1950s. As I began to collect her works in earnest and to read many accounts of her life, I reflected on the experiences of young women who came of age in post-World War II society as we sought to negotiate often-conflicting expectations and challenges of mid-twentieth-century culture.

“We know the many details of Plath’s daily existence from her remarkably candid journals, in which she recorded her thoughts, experiences, and drafts of her poetry and fiction from the age of eleven. When read in tandem with her correspondence to her mother, her friends and her family, these documents provide us with an abundant record of a writer’s interior and private life and its many turning points.”

Raymo notes that “Plath’s poems and stories have been translated into more than thirty languages” and that “fictionalized versions of Plath’s life have been made into films, plays, novels and an Italian opera. ‘The Bell Jar’ regularly appears on high school reading lists and ‘Ariel” is now required reading in many gender studies courses. In 2010, Plath was inducted into Poet’s Corner in the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. And in April, 2012, she was one of ten American poets honored with his or her image on a U.S. postage stamp.”

Attending the opening of the exhibition, I was particularly struck by the details Raymo provided in her meticulous descriptions of the material on display. One can spend considerable, pleasurable time reading the examples of poems and correspondence, and the explanations that accompany them. The exhibit is on the second floor of the Grolier Club, 47 East 60th Street. Posted September 24, 2017.


Living in New York has its entertainment perks, some of them free entertainment, and one can survey the scene to see what’s around in any given week. For example, last Saturday, July 15 (2017), one could have gone to the New York Public Library branch at 112 East 96th Street and experienced a free afternoon opera concert of L’Elisir d’Amore “ (“The Elixir of Love”) by Gaetano Donizetti, presented by the New York Opera Forum.

The opera was sung by five performers with superb voices. In an 1830 country setting Ilana Goldberg, soprano, performed the key role of Adina, a wealthy owner of a farm, fought over by competing suitors. I had enjoyed her for the first time in a previous concert (see SEARCH then under ABOUT TOWN), but on this occasion it was a more complete opportunity to appreciate her impressive voice and her considerable acting skills.

I had never heard any of the other four performers, each in excellent voice—Jennifer Allenby, soprano, as Giannetta, Adina’s friend; and three fine male singers, Joseph Mayon, tenor, as Nemorino, a peasant in love with Adina; Charles Gray, baritone, as Belcore, a sergeant, and Spencer Leopold-Cohen, baritone as Dulcamara, a travelling medicine man. Richard Nechamkin was Music Director and also pianist.

The opera in concert was in an intimate lower level library space that afforded the opportunity for the kind of close-up experience one doesn’t get at a full production in an opera house. Absent were ticket prices! If you missed the aforementioned concert, there is an opportunity to enjoy excerpts from “Der Rosenkavalier” by Strauss and “Suor Angelica” by Puccini in another free recital by the New York Opera Forum at the 96th Street Library at 1 p.m. on Saturday, August 12. No advance registration is required. Posted July 17, 2017.


The Museum of Modern Art is offering a wide-scale exhibition of Robert Rauschenberg’s art in its show titled “Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends” (May 21-Sept. 17, 2017). It is a well-conceived exhibition that also contains works by artists with whom Rauschenberg (1925-2008) associated, and accordingly it reflects some of the influences that proved important. But overall, this is a prime opportunity to visit Rauschenberg’s creativity and contemplate his place in the world of modern art.

The exhibition was organized in association with Tate Modern in London and features some 250 works. Some of the art is more intimate, some lavish, some especially inventive. The thrust explores Rauschenberg’s avant-garde mix of different materials and mediums, as well as his involvement with dance and performance.

Throughout there are excellent explanations of different phases of his life, for example when he was close to Jasper Johns and Cy Twombly. There was also Susan Weil, to whom he was married. His broadened application of his art integrated with other art forms included working with Trisha Brown, John Cage and Merce Cunningham and being sought to do set and costume designs for live performances.

One striking work is the depiction of a taxidermied goat emerging from within an auto tire. The artist’s social conscience is reflected in his “Signs,” featuring Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy in a grouping that reflects their historical period. A popular stop along the way through the collection is a huge pool of bubbling mud, with a warning of not to stand too close, lest you get splattered.

There are videos that reflect his contributions to Trisha Brown’s dance events. One can find startling works of color as well as his white paintings. Whether or not one appreciates Rauschenberg’s adventurism into multi-use of objects during his career, this is a show that demonstrates his concepts and artistic achievement, as well as an occasion to study the relationship between his work and others. Setting Rauschenberg among friends is a nifty idea that helps reveal inspirations that flourished during interlocking careers. At the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street. Posted May 21, 2017.

FJK DANCE  Send This Review to a Friend

Fadi J Khoury, co-founder in 2014 with Sevin Ceviker of FJK Dance, spoke of the ambitious program at the Peter Norton Symphony Space Theatre on Nov. 17 as works in progress. Khoury, as artistic director, choreographer and male lead dancer of the relatively new company, envisions the aim of bringing different dance forms—modern, jazz, ballet and folkloric—into a common language of shared creativity. The concept was dramatically on display in the program selected for the Nov. 17 occasion.

The initial number, "Oblivon," which Khoury choreographed and danced in, celebrated tango and its sexuality, also danced by Elisa Toro Franky, Felipe Escalante, Harold Blackhood, Mara Driscoll and Ceviker. The accompanying score illustrated the sort of blend that Khoury advocates, a mix of the contemporary and Rachmaninoff.

This was followed by “Move,” consisting of dance inspired by African rhythms, samba and Arabic percussions, again choreographed by Khoury, who danced along with the striking Sofia Bogdanova and also Ceviker.

After intermission, there was a dynamic shift to “Mundo,” again with Khoury’s choreography, but this time highlighting Latin American social dancing and the folkloric, with jazz pianist Frank Abenante and his NYC Latin Jazz Ensemble. The impressive company of dancers made the blend come vividly alive.

FJK Dance has been gathering support, as evidenced by the large turnout for the performance, which was a benefit for the company. Khoury was gracious and enthusiastic in thanking followers and benefactors. At Peter Norton Symphony Space Theatre, Broadway and 94th Street. Posted November 21, 2016.

DIANE ARBUS: IN THE BEGINNING  Send This Review to a Friend

In looking at the extensive photo exhibit devoted to the work of Diane Arbus, one can imagine being in her shoes and roaming New York with her perceptive eye for both the unusual and the relatively mundane. Titled “Diane Arbus: In the Beginning,” the show is at the Met Breuer (July 12-November 27, 2016) and covers the first years of Arbus’s career, spanning from 1956-1962.

You’ll find more than 100 photographs on display, not arranged in any special order. You can just walk along the the aisles and study the pictures on both sides, crisscrossing the large room on the Breuer’s second floor. What you’ll discover is an eclectic collection that captures her range.

Arbus had a fascination, for example, for men dressing as women, whether female impersonators or ordinary cross-dressers. She also enjoyed seeking out the bizarre at amusement parks, such as a man billed as the human pin cushion, Siamese twins (the old way of describing them rather than the politically correct co-joined), and other oddities.

In one amusing photo she shot a little boy doing a Maurice Chevalier impersonation. One of her best and most known photos is of two little girls who are identical twins. She snapped a man who had grown to giant height alongside his normally short parents. In contrast, there is a lone photo of a midget. There is a photo of a nudist couple indoors. Arbus was fond of capturing moments by taking pictures of action on movie screens.

But Arbus could also illuminate character by photographing an elegant woman finely dressed and suggesting stature. She would snap upscale dancers reflecting society life. She reveled in street scenes and captured children in various circumstances.

The exhibit also contains a few photos by contemporaries, but the work of Arbus overwhelms them in this display. I came away newly impressed with her artistry, but could not escape the feeling of sadness that such a talented person ended her life by suicide in 1971 at the age of 48. At the Met Breuer, Madison Avenue at 75th Street. Reviewed July 12, 2016.


There are wonderful sights to behold in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s ambitious show titled “Pergamon and the Hellenstic Kingdoms of the Ancient World,” which opens today (April 18, 2016) and continues through July 17, 2016.

A significant part of the display, approximately one third, comes from the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, with some 40 museums also contributing. Many works have never been lent before. The impressive show reflects art from the Hellenistic period, encompassing three centuries between the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. and the first century B.C. establishment of the Roman Empire.

One especially stunning sculpture is a hermaphrodite, said to be a Roman copy of the original Greek work. One comes upon it dazzled by what appears to be a rear view of a woman sleeping peacefully in the nude except for a garment draped about her legs. One can gaze at the sheer beauty and contour. Go around to the other side of the sculpture, and the genius of the work comes into focus, as one can view the male organs.

Another dramatic sight is the huge statue of Athena that dominates the area in which it is displayed. As one might expect, there are numerous heads of Alexander the Great in various stages of preservation and of varying sizes.

Although one is struck especially by the larger works, there are smaller sculptures that fascinate, as well as the more miniscule evidence of the period encompassed. Encased are coins of the time, jewelry and assorted other objects.

This is a show worth taking time to explore. As one who previously visited the Pergamon, now undergoing renovation, I was especially interested in seeing this Met exhibit, and the B.C. treasures that have made it to New York for the occasion. At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street.) Phone: 212-535-7710. Reviewed April 18, 2016.


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