June 9, 2015
Nearly fifty legendary chefs gathered on Monday for a remarkable milestone – Cheftopia: The 30th Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels. For this landmark anniversary, Citymeals honored the event’s founding chefs Larry Forgione and Jonathan Waxman who, 30 years ago, conceptualized the event as a birthday celebration for Citymeals Co-Founder James Beard.
Last night, the chefs celebrated the past while looking to the future as they created dishes inspired by tomorrow’s food trends at tasting stations throughout the Rockefeller Center Plaza. The event raised over $880,000 to provide more than 137,000 nutritious meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers.
Rockefeller Center was transformed into a culinary paradise by renowned architect and Citymeals Board Member David Rockwell. More than 1,200 business leaders, gourmet enthusiasts, food industry trendsetters, socialites, young professionals, chefs and restaurateurs were in attendance for live music, dancing and spectacular cuisine.
This year’s participating chefs included Matthew Accarrino, Jarett Appell & Stefanie Morgado, Sebastien Archambault, Jimmy Bannos, Jr., Eric Basulto, Octavio Becerra, Matteo Bergamini, Daniel Boulud & Aaron Bludorn, Jonathan Benno & Richard Capizzi, Scott Conant, Greg Denton & Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Richard Diamonte, Larry Forgione, Marc Forgione, Yuhi Fujinaga & Michael Gabriel, Markus Glocker, Craig Koketsu, Eli Kulp’s team, Barbara Lynch, Nobu Matsuhisa, Masaharu Morimoto, Rob Newton, Nancy Oakes, Charlie Palmer, Daniel Patterson, Francois Payard, Alfred Portale, Antonio Prontelli & Juan Branez, Stephan Pyles, Thomas Raquel, Jimmy Schmidt, Joachim Splichal, Cara Stadler, Bill Telepan, Jacques Torres, Silvana Vivoli, Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s team, Jonathan Waxman, and Bill Yosses.
Citymeals Executive Director Beth Shapiro explained, "When this event was conceived by Chefs Forgione and Waxman, I’m not sure anyone thought we would be standing here three decades later – having raised over $19,480,000. This annual event is a tribute to James Beard as well as the lifeline he and Co-Founder & Board Chair Gael Greene created for hundreds of thousands of homebound elderly throughout the city. But it’s also a testament to the culinary community and the chefs who have committed themselves to Citymeals over the years. Thank you to all of the chefs here tonight and all those who have cooked at this event in the past and made our most vulnerable neighbors a priority. Tonight, we celebrate you."
Official sponsors of Citymeals on Wheels are American Airlines and FIJI Water. Major sponsors included Patina Restaurant Group, The M.O. & M.E. Hoffman Foundation, and The Riese Organization. Other sponsors include Bedell Cellars, Belvedere Vodka, Bernardaud, Capital One Bank, Citadelle Gin, Courvoisier Cognac, Duane Reade Charitable Foundation, Forty Creek Canadian Whisky, Lexus, NBC 4 New York, Sabatino Truffles, Specialty Food Association, Travelers, and Zacapa Rum. Special thanks to ARC, Luxury Worldwide Transportation, Riedel, Rockwell Group, and UNIMAC Graphics.
As part of its 30th anniversary celebration, Bernardaud donated commemorative “Cheftopia” plates that were printed with a design from the Rockwell Group.
Watch an interview with Beth Shapiro on NBC 4 New York and listen to interviews on Gary Duff's New American Kitchen and Food Talk.
See photos from the event on our Facebook page.