On The Avenue

A little Sunday Supper feeds homebound New Yorkers

by Michael Gross Photographed by Stephanie Badini and Eric Vitale
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
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Citymeals on Wheels founder and chairman and legendary New York restaurant critic Gael Greene was one of the last to leave the cocktail party before the group’s 20th annual Sunday Supper at Restaurant Daniel last weekend, but not because she’s jaded about food. She’d donated a collection of what were dubbed “iconic Four Seasons ashtrays” to the evening’s silent auction and was seeking bids for them until the last moment. The set, identical to one sold for $10,000 at the auction of memorabilia from the equally legendary first Four Seasons Restaurant, had been supplemented with an ashtray from The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, another culinary landmark.

Moments later, inside the dinner, restaurateur Drew Nieporent, founder of restaurants from Montrachet to Nobu, turned to his dinner partner, Rita Jammet, co-owner of the French classic La Caravelle (now a brand of champagne), and said of the ashrays, “Those are the ones she stole over the years. My father used to do that.” Then, growing serious, he added, “Gael has probably fed in excess of a million homebound New Yorkers,” the cause to which Citymeals is devoted. “She is Citymeals.”

One hundred and sixty-five guests dined at Daniel that night to benefit the nonprofit organization that works with community-based organizations and senior centers to prepare and deliver more than two million weekend, holiday and emergency meals for over 18,000 homebound elderly New Yorkers every year. The event raised $840,000 to prepare and deliver 113,821 meals for homebound elderly New Yorkers.

Chefs Grant Achatz (Alinea: Chicago, IL), Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec: Los Angeles, CA), Edouard Loubet (La Bastide de Capelongue: Bonnieux, France), Heinz Reitbauer (Steirereck: Vienna, Austria), and Raymond Weber (CUT by Wolfgang Puck: New York, NY) cooked alongside Boulud and his Executive Chef Jean-François Bruel, Chef de Cuisine Eddy Leroux and Executive Pastry Chef Ghaya Oliveira.

Among the evening’s other guests were Beverly Bartfeld, Nancy and Jon Bauer, Dixon Boardman, Katherine Boulud, Joel Buchman, Frank Castronovo, Ariane Daguin, Georgette Farkas, Frank Falcinelli, Philippe Laffont, Lela Rose, Citymeals on Wheels Board Co-President Robert S. and his wife Ellen Grimes, and Citymeals Board Members Albert P. Behler, Jim Carter, Joseph M. Cohen, Aaron and his wife Stephanie Goldman, Suri Kasirer and her husband Bruce Teitelbaum, Michael and his wife Ninah Lynne, Lisa Rosenblum, and William T. Speck and his wife Evelyn Lipper. Official sponsors were Citymeals Official Airline American Airlines, Citymeals Official Water FIJI Water, Cadillac, and Spirits Sponsor Tequila Patrón.

“I’m very lucky to have a devoted neighborhood clientele at DANIEL and Cafe Boulud,” the host told AVENUE. “It’s a key part of the dynamic audience that most of my restaurants share: a great crowd of local regulars, alongside others that travel from different parts of the city, country or world to dine with us. And in turn, that’s what draws me to Citymeals on Wheels, it’s a local New York-based charity. I know that I am giving back to the former generation of New Yorkers, some of whom I know enjoyed New York restaurants when they could. Getting older happens to everyone. It’s hard to imagine that the young obsessed “foodies” may one day be homebound, requiring assisted care and food delivery. Everyone desires, and deserves, to have access to good food. That doesn’t go away with age. I’m blessed that I have so many customers that also are generous with their time and charitable gifts, and Citymeals on Wheels is certainly a worthy one.”


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