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Over 40 chefs came together for Ports of Call Mediterranea: A Culinary Journey: The 32nd Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels. The event raised $840,000 to deliver 114,000 meals.
The event brought together culinary stars from around the world to celebrate Mediterranean cuisine and culture as they created dishes at tasting stations throughout Rockefeller Center Plaza.
Beth Shapiro, Executive Director of Citymeals on Wheels, reflected, “From Spain to Croatia and east to Lebanon, the Mediterranean is wonderfully diverse. We each have our own favorite flavors and Ports of Call Mediterranea brought them all together tonight, representing the entire region. We are grateful to the chefs and restaurateurs who joined us tonight for extending their generosity to elderly New Yorkers in need and to the many, many others who have made Chefs’ Tribute what it is for the last thirty-two years.”
Business leaders, food aficionados and trendsetters, charitable young professionals, and others enjoyed live music from Italy, Greece and Turkey, and dancing alongside the outstanding cuisine.
Some of the evening’s dishes included crunchy Israeli salad with lemon aioli and spicy pepper from Chef Segev Moshe of Tel Aviv, Israel; swordfish carpaccio with orange, dried tomatoes, black olive ash and minced pistachio from Chef Hrvoje Zirojević of Hvar, Croatia; frittatine di pasta by Chef Cristina Bowerman of Rome, Italy; deconstructed gazpacho Andaluz with smoked yellowfin tuna and gordal olive jam by Chef Alex Reyes of New York and Chicago; Persian love cake with blueberries and sumac by Chefs Ana Sortun and Maura Kilpatrick of Cambridge, Massachusetts; and baklava kyklos me mastiha from Chef Maria Loi of New York.
The annual event remembers Citymeals’ Co-Founder James Beard and included chefs who flew in from the Mediterranean and elsewhere: Argiro Barbarigou (Athens, Greece), Javier Bonet Jiménez (Madrid, Spain), Cristina Bowerman (Rome, Italy), Maroun Chedid (Beirut, Lebanon), David Darmanin (London, England), Segev Moshe (Tel Aviv, Israel), Rudolf Štefan (Šibenik, Croatia), and Hrvoje Zirojević (Hvar, Croatia). They were joined by stateside chefs: Jarrett Appell, Jimmy Bannos, Jr., Daniel Boulud, David Buico, Richard Capizzi, Gabriele Carpentieri, Larry Forgione, Marc Forgione, Michael Gabriel, Shea Gallante, Markus Glocker, CJ Jacobson, Andrea Jarosh, Maura Kilpatrick, Chris Lee, Luigi LoBuglio, Salvatore LoBuglio, Maria Loi, Alfred Portale, Antonio Prontelli, Michael Psilakis, Alex Reyes, Ana Sortun, Joachim Splichal, Eli Sussman, Max Sussman, Travis Swikard, Meny Vaknin, Silvana Vivoli, Raymond Weber, Mathew Woolf, Priscilla Yeh, and Farid Zadi – all preparing and presenting their own interpretations of classic Mediterranean dishes.
Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, was the evening’s Grand Host. The event was chaired by Beverly and Dan Bartfeld, Alison Lohrfink Blood, Ninah and Michael Lynne, Laura and John Pomerantz, and Randi and Dennis Riese. With the help of Beverage Chair Audrey Saunders (Owner, The Pegu Club) and Wine Chair Daniel Johnnes (Wine Director, The Dinex Group) the event also featured signature cocktails from top sponsors and wines from fine wineries.
Event guests included Bjorn Amelan, Samantha Boardman, Katherine Boulud, Donna Corrado, Florence Fabricant, Gael Greene, Robert S. Grimes, Marjorie Gubelmann, Bill T. Jones, Suri Kasirer, Margo McNabb Nederlander and James Nederlander, Drew Neiporent, John Pomerantz, David Rockwell, Lisa Rosenblum, and Kathleen Turner, among many others.
Citymeals on Wheels’ official airline is American Airlines and official water is FIJI Water. Exclusive financial sponsor for the event was City National Bank. Official transportation sponsor was Lyft. Event sponsors included VerTerra, The Riese Organization, Bedell Cellars, the M.O. & M.E. Hoffman Foundation, and Roommate Grace. Graphic design was provided by Rockwell Group. Beverage sponsors included Anheuser-Busch, Belvedere Vodka, Courvoisier Cognac, The Pegu Club, Plymouth Gin, St-Germain, and Zacapa Rum.