By William Wolf


This year’s C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) benefit was a tasty event on all counts. Those attending the bash at Pier Sixty on March 4, 2014, had the opportunity to savor a vast variety of food prepared by New York’s leading chefs. Noted chef Michael White was honored for his distinguished career, and Susan Robbins, C-CAP’s president, told the enthusiastic crowd that the event was a great financial success. Funds raised enable the organization to carry out its extensive program of helping students across the country go from cooking education in high schools to possible scholarships and life-changing careers in the food industry. The organization, of which Richard Grausman is Chairman and Founder, has to date awarded some $40 million in scholarships, with emphasis on providing opportunities to disadvantaged youth.

White, in accepting the award, urged support for C-CAP so that a new generation “could enjoy the same opportunities I had” in developing a career. White, who went from his native Wisconsin to studying and working in Italy and ultimately in New York, becoming chef at Flamma Osteria. He subsequently partnered with Ahmass Fakahany in a chain of restaurants, including Marea, Nicoletta, Al Fiori and Osteria Morini.Their Altamarea Group includes restaurants in Hong Kong, Istanbul, London and, not to be forgotten, New Jersey.

A live auction was held by Jamie Ritchie, CEO and President of Sotheby’s Wine. Colorfully encouraging bidding, he achieved such coups as getting $20,000 for Michael White to cook a truffle tasting dinner for 12, $16,000 for a trip to Florence, Italy, with a gourmet dining experience, $20,000 for noted restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson to cook dinner for 16 at Ginny’s Supper Club and $13,000 for a tasting dinner for 16 at Marea. In addition substantial funds were raised at a silent auction. Tickets for the benefit ranged from $550 to $1000. C-CAP operates programs in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago Philadelphia, Hampton Roads, VA, District of Columbia/Prince George's County, MD, and in Arizona.

Chair for the event was Ahmass Fakahany, with Marcus Samuelsson as Chef Chair and Vice Chairs Tony May and Marisa May and Susan and Richard Grausman. Master of Ceremonies was Andrew Zimmern, host of Bizarre Foods and TV personality. C-CAP Founder and Chairman Grausman proudly pointed to an example of a C-CAP success story, introducing Carlton McCoy, a C-CAP alumnus who by the age of 28 achieved the distinguished goal of becoming Master Sommelier. Now wine director at Little Nell, he selected the wines for the evening, donated by The Charmer Sunbelt Group.

Speeches and announcements aside, the main attraction was the food, and attendees crowded up and down the aisles to savor the dishes prepared by the chefs, with some 60 current culinary students aiding them. I did my share of food sampling, enjoying a wide variety of seafood and meat dishes, as well as some great desserts. Rather than single any out for mention, I am herewith presenting as follows the total mouth-watering roster of the foods served and the restaurants and chefs that offered them:


CHEF CHAIR, Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster Harlem

Abigail Kirsch Philip DeMaiolo, Tempura pork belly with house-made green papaya kimchee

Almond Jason Weiner,Moroccan-style lamb meatballs with salsa verde, grated ricotta salata and a minty relish

American Cut Marc Forgione , American Cut pastrami on rye with crispy crouton, slaw and shaved ribeye, finished with caraway seed brown butter

Asiate at Mandarin Oriental Angie Berry, Truffle fondue with asparagus and La Quercia ham

Benoit Philippe Bertineau, Braised pork cheeks with a celery root purée

Betony Bryce Shuman, Asparagus and hazelnut ragoût with brown butter sabayon

Blend on the Water Kelvin Fernandez, Crispy arepa with braised beef short rib, guacamole, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, lime-scented crema and micro cilantro

Blue Hill New York & Blue Hill at Stone Barns Dan Barber, Venison liverwurst with blood cracker

The Cecil Alexander Smalls & JJ Johnson, Tuna tartare with benne seed dressing and cassava chips

Chadwick's Sean Quinn, Lobster and shrimp wonton with smoked duck fat and black pepper aioli

Clement Brandon Kida, Heirloom carrots, avocado mousse and gochujang

Commerce Harold Moore, Fricassee of winter vegetables with slow-cooked egg and black truffle

db bistro moderne Daniel Boulud & Brian Loiacono, braised veal shank, bone marrow crostini and hen-of-the-woods mushroom

Dos Caminos Ivy Stark, Mini tuna ceviche taco

Dovetail John Fraser, Calamari salad with olive, fennel and sweet garlic

Extra Virgin Joseph Fortunato, Shrimp taco with harissa chili, mango salsa and avocado purée

Felidia Fortunato Nicotra, Beet carpaccio, hearts of palm, pistachio and local cheese

The General Thiago Silva, Spiced pear “tart” of crème brûlée spheres, sesame ice cream and whipped cheesecake with three crusts of caramelized puff, sesame sable and graham cracker streusel

Gotham Bar and Grill Ron Paprocki, Ginger carrot Creamsicle

Juni Shaun Hergatt, Quinoa-goat cheese-red mustard

Kingside Marc Murphy, Everything-cured salmon with crème fraîche and dill slaw

Lexington Brass Chris Leah, Crab salad with citrus

Loi Maria Loi, Htapodaki with red wine-macerated onions, capers, almonds, fresh herbs, oregano and ladolemono

Marea Michael White, Braised beef agnolotti with butternut squash purée, black truffle sugo and brown butter

Maya/Pampano Richard Sandoval, Tuna tostada with cucumber-mango chile toreado aioli and avocado-serrano espuma (Maya); and ceviche de halibut with mint sauce, mango, red onions and cilantro (Pampano)

Maysville Kyle Knall, Ember-roasted beets with sunflower brittle and goat cheese

Michael's Kyung Up Lim, Sweet potato noodles with assorted vegetables in sesame-soy vinaigrette

Minton’s Alexander Smalls, Banks White & Mame Sow, Pork rillette with cherry and cocoa mostarda; and pineapple upside down cake

Nobu 57 Matthew Hoyle, Salmon tataki with crispy kale, Asian pear and rosemary dressing

Oceana Ben Pollinger, Alaskan weathervane scallop nanban-zuke

Porter House New York Michael Lomonaco & Wayne Harley Brachman, Chocolate ganache tart with wild cherries and mocha cream; and coconut panna cotta with tropical fruit mélange

Red Rooster Marcus Samuelsson, Chicken donuts with chicken liver butter and maple-soy syru

Rouge Tomate Jeremy Bearman, Mushroom tartare on brioche with quail egg and house-made pickles

Sarabeth's Sarabeth Levine, Cherry crisp with vanilla bean cream

SD26 Matteo Bergamini, Soft quail egg-filled raviolo with truffled butter and parmigiano

Sea Grill Yuhi Fujinaga, Sepia à la ‘carbonara’ with quail egg and jamón crisps

Shun Lee Palace Michael Tong, Peking Duck

Telepan William Telepan, Swordfish crudo with foie gras and apple kohlrabi slaw

Talde Dale Talde, Lemongrass chicken slippery noodles

Union Square Café Sunchar Raymond, Sticky toffee bread pudding


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