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An Autumn-Inspired Tasting Benefit

November 5, 2002, 12:00 AM EST

City Harvest's Bid Against Hunger benefit Puck Building Tuesday, 10.29.02, 6 PM to 9 PM
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The ripe, overwhelming odor of cheese greeted guests entering grand ballroom at City Harvest's Bid Against Hunger benefit at the Puck Building. The smell emanated from chef Terrance Brennan's cheese table laden with fromage from Artisanal. Brennan was joined by 31 other chefs and their restaurants to provide gourmet tastings to raise funds for the hunger nonprofit. (The irony that this particular glutton-fest benefitted a hunger charity was lost on no one.)

The autumnal decor started outside the building's entrance, where a bounty of large and small pumpkins spilled down the Puck's cast-iron steps. Salou Design provided the overall decor and lighting design of the rooms where the tastings and silent and live auctions were held. One inventive floral presentation: Maureen Fitzgerald, wife of chef Denis Fitzgerald, decorated Remi restaurant's table with roses placed inside hollowed-out pumpkins.

Nicholas Lowry of the Swann Galleries presided over a live auction that was relatively sedate until the “My Dinner with Eric and Rocco...” lot was presented. The package, which featured dinner for eight cooked by swoon-inducing celeb chefs Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin and Rocco DiSpirito of Union Pacific prompted a bidding war between two parties. After the chefs sweetened the deal by turning the dinner for eight into a dinner for 20, and threw in extras like a foie gras course and a kilo of caviar, the battle ended with two dinners, one for each bidder, at $18,000 each. By the end of the night, the event raised more than $264,000.

Suzanne Ito

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