¡Qué rico! Celebrating Latino Cuisine & Culture: The 31st Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels

World-Renowned Chefs Turn Up The Heat At Annual Event to Benefit Citymeals on Wheels

(Monday, June 6, 2016 – New York, NY) – More than fifty legendary chefs gathered on Monday, June 6, 2016 for ¡Qué rico! Celebrating Latino Cuisine & Culture: The 31st Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels. These culinary stars celebrated the rich flavors of Latino cooking as they created dishes at tasting stations throughout the Rockefeller Center Plaza. The highly anticipated event raised more than $900,000 for Citymeals on Wheels to prepare and deliver nutritious meals for homebound elderly New Yorkers.

Rockefeller Center was transformed for the evening by renowned architect and Citymeals Board Member David Rockwell. More than 1,000 business leaders, gourmet enthusiasts, food industry trendsetters, young professionals, chefs and restaurateurs were in attendance for live music, dancing and spectacular cuisine.

Beth Shapiro, Executive Director of Citymeals on Wheels, noted, “The influence of the Latino world on New York is undeniable. This rich heritage permeates every aspect of city life including our art, music, literature, film, fashion and, oh yes, the food! ¡Qué rico! celebrates this wonderful culture as well as the thousands of chefs and restaurateurs who have committed themselves to Citymeals over the years. Their continued support has helped us create a lifeline of meals and companionship for vulnerable older New Yorkers.”

Among the evening's menu items were roasted plantain empanadas from Chef Ivy Stark of New York, sweet corn tamalito with lime crème and crispy chorizo from Chef Adrianne Calvo of Miami, tentacion de pollo from Carlos Cristóbal Márquez Valdés of Cuba and cold avocado soup with crab from Carolina Bazán of Chile.

Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group, was the evening’s Grand Host. The event was chaired by Beverly and Dan Bartfeld, Ninah and Michael Lynne, Laura and John Pomerantz, Randi and Dennis Riese, and Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch. Event guests included Alison Lohrfink Blood, Samantha Boardman, Katherine Boulud, Chef David Burke, Leon Cooperman, Marjorie Doniger, Colleen Goggins, Aaron and Stephanie Goldman, Gael Greene, Robert S. Grimes, Suri Kasirer, Jill Lohrfink, Zarela Martínez, Margo MacNabb Nederlander and Jimmy Nederlander, Liz Neumark, Chef Bradley Ogden, John Shapiro, Marcia Stein, Bruce Teitelbaum, and Kathleen Turner, among others.

Entertainment was provided by Latin Grammy nominee Mariachi Flor de Toloache, Gregorio Uribe Trio, Noah Bless Music and Latin Explosion All Stars. 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 spirit sponsors and stellar wines from notable wineries.

Official sponsors of Citymeals on Wheels were American Airlines and FIJI Water. Event sponsors included Patina Restaurant Group, The Riese Organization, The M.O. & M.E. Hoffman Foundation, Bedell Cellars, VerTerra, Belvedere Vodka, Citadelle Gin, Courvoisier, El Tesoro, Novo Fogo, Zacapa Rum, ARC Document Solutions, Luxury Worldwide Transportation, Room Mate Grace, Unimac Graphics, and Rockwell Group. Additional support was provided by Brewla Bars, La Newyorkina and the Trade Commission of Peru in New York.

More than 60 percent of Citymeals recipients are over 80 years old; 23 percent are over 90; more than 200 have lived at least a century; all recipients are chronically disabled by conditions such as vision loss, diabetes, arthritis and heart disease; and nearly all need assistance walking. It is estimated that 66 percent use a cane; 39 percent use a walker; 16 percent use a wheelchair. Citymeals recipients are also isolated: 57 percent live alone; 40 percent rarely or never leave their homes; and 8 percent have no one with whom they can talk. Many are also at risk for malnutrition.

Chefs Juan Manuel Barrientos (Colombia), Carolina Bazán (Chile), Jose Enrique (Puerto Rico), Carlos Cristóbal Márquez Valdés (Cuba), Adrianne Calvo (Miami), Nina Compton (New Orleans), Susie Jimenez (Aspen), Martin Juan Rios (Santa Fe), Douglas Rodriguez (Philadelphia), and Josefina Santacruz (Mexico) flew in to cook alongside hometown favorites Chefs Eric Basulto, Franco Barrio, Jose Luis Flores, Ernesto Hernandez, Mario Hernandez, Julian Medina, Marco Moreira, Roberto Santibañez, Ivy Stark, and Alex Stupak – all known for their exceptional Latino cuisine.

The evening’s dazzling team also included founding chefs Larry Forgione, Alfred Portale, Wolfgang Puck, Stephan Pyles, and Jimmy Schmidt and celebrated chefs Robert Aikens, Jarett Appell, Jonathan Benno, Aaron Bludorn, Hugo Bolanos, Daniel Boulud, Richard Capizzi, Scott Conant, Franck D. Deletrain, Marc Forgione, Sean Forgione, Andre Fowles, Michael Gabriel, Markus Glocker, Chris Lee, Danielle and Salvatore LoBuglio, Ryan Lory, Masaharu Morimoto, Charlie Palmer, Carolina Perego, Antonio Prontelli, Jon Rohland, Joachim Splichal, Bradley Stellings, Jacques Torres, Silvana Vivoli, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten who presented their own interpretations of Latino fare.


About Citymeals on Wheels: Citymeals on Wheels (citymeals.org) provides a continuous lifeline of nourishing meals and vital companionship to New York City’s homebound elderly. Working in partnership with community-based organizations and senior centers, Citymeals prepares and delivers over 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals for more than 18,000 of our frail aged neighbors each year. Last year, over 15,000 individuals volunteered nearly 69,000 hours of their time.

Since its founding in 1981, Citymeals has relied on the generosity of its Board of Directors, the City of New York, sponsors and other designated gifts to cover administrative costs. This ensures that 100% of all public donations will be used entirely for the preparation and delivery of meals.