Good food, high spirits and financial success marked C-CAP’s crowded 30th anniversary benefit on February 25 to raise funds for its national program of helping students achieve culinary arts careers in the food service industry. Attendees made their way through a battery of food tables to sample signature dishes from leading New York City chefs and restaurants. The event took place at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers.

Highlighting the occasion, C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) gave honorary awards to Chair Emeritus Richard Grausman, C-CAP founder, cookbook author and chef, and to Sarabeth Levine, renowned baker, author, chef and restaurateur. The evening was emceed by Janice Huff, chief meteorologist for NBC. Over the years the non-profit C-CAP, school programs in numerous U. S. cities, has awarded nearly $60 million in scholarships.

In accepting his award, Grausman said, “I want to thank everybody who joined us in supporting C-CAP’s 30th anniversary benefit. I’m gratified to be recognized by my peers and honored for my work with C-CAP. I look forward to many more successful years and continuing to work with the chefs and students who are my extended family.”

In accepting her award, Levine said: “It is such an honor to have worked with the C-CAP students and Richard through the years. It was a special night seeing all guests, students and celebrities who came out to join us in our celebration. I’m beyond grateful for this recognition. I look forward to many more years of supporting C-CAP students and alum.”

Tim Zagat, C-CAP co-founder and founder of Zagat, the restaurant guide, asserted: “This was the best C-CAP tasting benefit in 30 years and broke all records, raising over 1.2 million. We had over a thousand guests and great food by 35 of the top restaurants in New York City. The room was filled with amazing energy and was buzzing all night. Best of all, the night celebrated a wonderful cause helping underserved high-school students gain careers in the food service industry.”

During the evening an auction was held to augment the fund raising. Other speakers included Marcus Samuelsson, C-CAP board chair, chef, restaurateur and TV personality, and Carlton McCoy, president and CEO of Heitz Cellar, who shared work and success stories of C-CAP and the honorees. In addition to long-time C-CAP benefactors, among guests attending were numerous sports figures and television personalities, including football notables Justin Tuck, Howard Cross, Charles Smith, ABC sports anchor Ryan Field and TVs Judge Patricia DiMango and Dee-Morris.

Apart from all the formalities, the main concentration for patrons was moving among the tables to enjoy sampling the variety of foods available, as well as to sip wines provided by. Heitz Cellar, champagne courtesy of Moët Hennessy and vodka drinks by Tito. Many C-CAP students and alum assisted. I did my share of wandering and tasting, although it was impossible to sample everything among the vast choices.

A favorite was Indian Accent’s pulled lamb, fenugreek roti, and pickled onions. I enjoyed Red Rooster’s charred salmon ceviche. Café Boulud served delicious Ora King Salmon gravlax with pumpernickel tuile, pickled beets, horseradish creme fraiche, dill, fennel and salmon roe. Nubu 57’s specialty was tuna sashimi, shisho and cucumber salsa. At the Jams table was clam chowder with oyster crackers, chives and Aleppo pepper.

Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse presented a substantial portion of herb crusted lamb chops. Lavraki in sea salt was the specalty at Estiatorio Milos. From Four Seasons Hotel one could enjoy tea smoked Long Island duck, with violet mustard and savory hazelnut praline. The Vaucluse sampling was tartare de boeuf with capers, cornichons and crostini. I especially enjoyed the smoked duck tacos of Almond.

The most buzz from the crowd regarding the desserts focused on the exceptionally creative dish from Le Bernardin. One looked at what appeared to be mini red apples on a plate. Actually, upon digging in to an apple one found it was really absolutely delicious apple brown butter mousse, with apple confit and Armagnac sabayon. The other much-talked about dessert was Sarabeth’s very rich triple-chocolate chocolate pudding. The above selections provide an idea of how much pleasure could be derived by attending the benefit.

Participating restaurants and chefs included: Abigail Kirsch (Matthew Tiscornia); Almond (Jason Weiner, Alex Nieto); Aretsky’s Patroon (Ken Aretsky, Aaron Fitterman); Bâtard Tribeca (Markus Glocker); Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse (Admir Alibasic); Bouley at Home (David Bouley); Café Boulud (Jerrod Zifchak); Casa Nomad (Yvan Lemoine); Cosme (Evelyn Velazquez, Isabel Coss); Cuisine Solutions (Bruno Bertin); Estiatorio Milos (Costas Spiliadis); Four Seasons Hotel (John Johnson); Gramercy Tavern (Miroslav Uskokovic); Hudson Yards Grill (Michael Lomonaco, Wayne Harley Brachman, Daniel Rutledge).

Also Indian Accent (Manish Mehrotra); JAMS (Jonathan Waxman); Le Bernardin (Eric Ripert, Thomas Raquel); Locanda Verde (Deborah Racicot); Loi Estiatorio (Maria Loi); The Loyal (John Fraser) Michael's (Michael McCarty, Kyung Up Lim); Nobu 57 (Matt Hoyle); Park Avenue Winter (Zene Flinn); Perrine at the Pierre (Ashfer Biju); Portale (Alfred Portale); Porter House New York (Michael Lomonaco, Wayne Harley Brachman, Daniel Rutledge); Quality Eats (Craig Koketsu); Decoy/ Red Farm (Eddie Schoenfeld, Joe Ng); Red Rooster (Marcus Samuelsson); Sarabeth's (Sarabeth Levine); Shake Shack, Storico (James Miller); TabeTomo (Tomotsugu Kubo); Untitled (Evan Tessler), and Vaucluse (Michael White, Jared Gadbaw).

Posted March 1, 2020.

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