Thursday, October 29, 2009

Taste of Greenmarket Benefit Culinary Event

Taste of Greenmarket Event

The 2nd Annual Taste of Greenmarket was held last night in a penthouse loft space on Manhattan’s West Side.  Hosted by The Council on the Environment of New York City (CENYC) last night’s event will benefit “Greenmarket’s Youth Education Project, which teaches thousands of New York City school children each year about the local agriculture and the importance of eating fresh, seasonal food through fun, interactive learning experiences.” And according to CENYC, the evening also “honored participating chefs for the crucial role they play in educating the next generation, preserving farmland and spreading the word that locally produced food is tastier and better for you – that it has a soul and a story.”

All the master chefs who lent their time and talent to this important cause are their own special story, too.  While they are at a similar place today: united in their ardor for farm to table food; their stories of how they came to embrace this concept and how they helped lead a national, seismic lifestyle change, are all very different.  The chefs took varied paths on their journey to become celebrity chefs or better yet, culinary artists, who are leaders of the "eat local" movement. They are passionate about sustainability, their food ingredients, their relationships with their farmers and growers and dairies. 

I know.  I’m writing a book or two about almost all of these chefs and their crusade to connect our food to the earth.

It was great to see all “my” chefs in one place, mingling with family, friends, and supporters in a glittering only-in-Gotham kind of event – all for a good cause.
Hats off to Greenmarket Director, Michael Hurwitz for producing such a memorable and successful event.
The list of participating chefs included:

Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern,
Dan Barber of Blue Hill & Blue Hill at Stone Barns,
April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig,
Jean Francois Bruel of Daniel,
Marco Canora of Hearth, Insieme & Terroir, 
Mary Cleaver of The Green Table & The Cleaver Company,
Tom Colicchio of Craft & Craftbar, 
Alex Guarnaschelli of Butter,
Kurt Gutenbrunner of Wallse, Cafe Sabarsky & Blaue Gans,
Peter Hoffman of Savoy & Back Forty,
Patti Jackson of I Trulli,
Gabriel Kreuther of The Modern,
Bret Macris of Rose Water
Marc Meyer of Cookshop, Five Points & Hundred Acres,
Marco A. Moreira of Tocqueville,
Aaron Sanchez of Centrico & Paladar,
Bill Telepan of Telepan,
David Waltuck of Chanterelle and 
Galen Zamarra of Mas(farmhouse).
Greenmarket-inspired cocktails by
James Meehan of PDT and 
Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge & Clover Club

Checking in at Taste of Greenmarket.  We were given a tasting fork and spoon tucked neatly into a green (naturally) nylon sleeve -- something you might take on a camping trip, donated by Snow Peak.  The cutlery was engraved, "Taste of Greenmarket" by N. G. Slater Corp.  Picked up great goody bag here after event stuffed with food, rooster cookie cutter & Chef Telepan’s Snickerdoodle recipe, Bodum coffee, Kikkerland’s MiniMagnito salt & pepper shakers, Katchkie Ketchup, Green & Black’s Dark chocolate, Martin’s handmade pretzels, and more all packed in a burlap Greenmarket bag!  Exciting and delicious treats.

Brooklyn’s Rose Water team: Right is owner/chef, John Tucker; middle is Chef Bret Macris.  Menu: Pork confit with braised cabbage, pickled peppers, sweet potato lefse

Savoy’s beautiful and charming Susanne Hoffman, wife of Chef Peter. She also is a potter and made all the handsome ceramic vases and dishes at the restaurant.

I Trulli’s Chef Patti Jackson served an amazing & delicious fried rabbit, delicata squash puree, spigarello broccoli (no bunny jokes!)

Gramercy Tavern’s Chef Michael Anthony with his mother to be wife, Mindy.  Chef Michael served up tidy, mouth-watering, pop in your mouth Pigs in a Blanket. 

Chef Marc Meyer served a fresh, tasty complex taste comprised of swordfish tacos with fresh corn tortillas, cabbage slaw and tomatillo salsa.  Chef Marc’s team represented his portfolio of restaurants including Cookshop, Five Points and my favorite, Hundred Acres (and also featured recently on the TV’s WB11 ( TV hit series, Gossip Girl

I caught up with Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ chef, Dan Barber as he was starting to head out. Always charming, Dan stopped to chat about some work for the book, and about … gifts J  Menu for the evening was a tasty and healthy Blue Hill V-7 with green tomato tart that we could just throw back and savor.

Blue Hill at Stone Barns’ delightful Irene Hamburger (left) and friend.  Irene also lent her talents and organizational skills to the Taste of Greenmarket, serving on this year’s Host Committee.

Chanterelle’s David Waltuck presented flavorful and distinctive mini moussaka with oregano and lamb jus.  I heard a lot of “oohs and ahhhs” and “mmm” comments from the tasting audience for this fantastic menu…

The inimitable Chef Peter Hoffman represented his Savoy and Back Forty restaurant offering a tempting Savoy creation of brassica salad with Caribbean pepper dressing and a kabocha squash soup with pancetta and crispy Brussels sprouts.  Wow!

The Greenmarket’s own creative presentation featured local cheeses, figs, nuts and fruits.

And here I am – far right – with Michael Hurwitz, Director of Greenmarket and official host of the evening, with his adorable and oh-so-elegant herself J mother to be.  If number 2 child is anything like the first, the Hurwitz’s could single handily open up a children’s modeling agency!

I hesitated when I heard there was absinthe in PDT’s “Flight of the Concord” cocktail (had to soon take flight myself and head home…) but was assured the absinthe was just a spritz and the gin based sour was made from concord grapes. That’s healthy, right?  So nabbed a cocktail and “took flight” out to the terrace. 

where food tasting took a break and diners warmed themselves by the fire while taking in the fabulous New York City skyline…

Back inside for some music and bidding on the Silent Auction items.

Windfall Farm team.  We had just visited Morse Pitts (left) at his farm with Chef Peter Hoffman -- his choice for the “garden/farm” photo shoot for the book. It was a picture perfect day -- picking rasberries and figs and we got an extra bit of farm fantasy as it was their annual Harvest Fair, complete with bonfire, music and of course, fantastic food.  ( They are at the Greenmarket in Union Square every Wednesday and Saturday.  There, you’ll also get to meet artist and farmer, Kevin Caplicki  (and he drives a very cool Ducati…)

All good things must end.  Walking to catch a cab, I see the Empire State building lit up in Yankee blue for the 1st game of the World Series.  Not so good for the Yankees, as it turns out….  But a home run for Taste of Greenmarket.

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