Food & Drink

Feasting Beneath Prometheus

by Michael Gross Photographed by Konrad Brattke and Eric Vitale
Wednesday, June 13, 2018

“It’s an incredibly beautiful night, which we don’t usually get,” Beth Shapiro, executive director of Citymeals on Wheels said after taking the stage set up beneath the golden statue of Prometheus in the Rockefeller Center Plaza on Monday night, June 11.  She was welcoming guests to the 33rd Annual Chefs’ Tribute to the group–an outdoor tasting menu on steroids, this year celebrating 45 chefs from some of the world’s grandest hotels. “This is room service like no other,” Shapiro continued, before introducing Nick Valenti, this year’s grand host and the CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, owner of Rockefeller Center’s Sea Grill, Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center, Brasserie 8 1/2 and other restaurants stretching from South Florida to California and beyond.  

Valenti boasted that the Citymeals on Wheels fresser’s fest has raised $21 million over the years, including nearly $900,000 at this year’s event.  Guests included Citymeals Co-Founder Gael Greene, Board Co-President Robert S. Grimes, as well as Katherine Boulud, Cesare Casella, Donna Corrado, Shelly Fireman, Robert Futterman, Mathew Glazier, Colleen Goggins, Yusi and Joe Gurrera, Suri Kasirer and Bruce Teitelbaum, Susan Ungaro, Margo and James Nederlander, Lisa Rosenblum, Nancy and Bruce Rosenblatt, and Danielle and Randy Smith.

Elsewhere on the Plaza, chef (and Citymeals board co-president) Daniel Boulud demonstrated how seriously he and his professional counterparts take the event, which goes far beyond showing up for the photo and grip-and-grin opportunity.  “It’s not the right temperature,” he whispered to one of his employees, touching a copper pan used in the preparation of quenelle de brochet aux ecrivisses with sauce nantua, his offering of the evening. 

Other North American chefs in attendance included event founders Jonathan Waxman (Jams Restaurant at the 1 Hotel Central Park, New York) and Larry Forgione (Foley Family Wines, Healdsburg, California) participated, alongside notable chefs from across the country including: Alfred Portale (Gotham Bar & Grill, New York), Andreas Kisler (Chez Philippe at the Peabody Hotel, Memphis), Andy Bennett and Michael Gabriel (The Sea Grill, New York), Anthony Goncalves (Kanopi Restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton New York, Westchester, White Plains, New York), Antonio Prontelli and David Buico (Rock Center Café, New York), Cassidee Dabney (The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Townsend, Tennessee), Charlie Palmer and Alexandre Gregoire (Aureole at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas), Christophe Bellanca (L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon New York, New York), Dale Talde (Rice & Gold at Hotel 50 Bowery, New York), Sylvain Assié (Café Boulud at Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto), David Burke (Tavern62, New York), Gregorio Stephenson (Nobu Ryokan Malibu and Nobu Hotel Palo Alto, Malibu & Palo Alto), Jacques Torres Chocolate (New York), Jarett Appell and Silvana Vivoli (Stella 34 & Vivoli Gelato, New York and Florence), Joachim Splichal (Patina, Los Angeles), Josh Berry (Union at the Press Hotel, Portland, Maine), Ken Oringer and Tony Messina (UNI at The Eliot Hotel, Boston), Lena Ciardullo (Marta at The Redbury Hotel, New York), Marc Forgione (American Cut and MARC FORGIONE, New York), Mathew Woolf (Rainbow Room & Bar SixtyFive, New York), Michael White (Ai Fiori at The Langham Hotel, New York), Michelle Weaver (Charleston Grill at Belmond Charleston Place Hotel, Charleston), Raymond Weber (CUT by Wolfgang Puck at Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, New York), Richard Diamonte (The Grand Tier Restaurant, New York), Richard Capizzi and Shea Gallante (Lincoln Ristorante, New York), Rich Torrisi and Dai Matsuda (Dirty French at The Ludlow, New York), and Scott Conant (Cellaio, Resorts World Catskills, Monticello, New York).

But the event had a distinctly international flavor thanks to the many foreign chefs who flew in for it, among them Brent Savage (Bentley Restaurant + Bar in the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel, Sydney), Carlos Pardo (Qunuq at Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, Machu Picchu), Ed Cooney (The Merrion Hotel, Dublin), Hélène Darroze (Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, The Connaught Hotel, London), Juan Gaffuri (Elena Restaurant at Four Seasons Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires), José Júlio Vintém (Tomba Lobos Restaurant, Portalegre, Portugal), Paco Pérez (Enoteca Paco Pérez at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Arts, Barcelona), Rudi Liebenberg (Lord Nelson Restaurant, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town), Thomas Seifried (Blue by Eric Ripert at The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands), Vineet Bhatia (Vineet Bhatia Restaurants, Dubai, Geneva, London & Mumbia), Vito Mollica (il Palagio at the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, Florence), and Vitor Sobral (Tasca da Esquina Restaurant, Lisbon).



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