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In 1985, renowned chefs Larry Forgione and Jonathan Waxman were spearheading plans for a benefit evening that would mark the eighty-second birthday of Citymeals Co-Founder James Beard and feature chefs from across the country, including many of Beard’s protégés. Sadly, he passed away just months before the event. Instead of canceling, fellow Co-Founder Gael Greene and the participating chefs decided to honor Beard at the party.
The birthday party is now our tribute to a man whose life was about savoring every deliciousness, living each moment and sharing the abundance.
On June 3, 1985, 850 guests celebrated the larger-than-life culinary star at Rockefeller Center Plaza, sampling dishes like marinated cinnamon pork loin, blackened redfish and Beard’s own recipe for strawberry shortcake.
Every June since then, we honor James Beard – and the food world’s commitment to our mission – at the Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels. In 2018, The Grand Affair raised nearly $900,000 to provide meals for frail aged New Yorkers. View photos from the evening.
Learn about Chefs’ Tribute over the years.