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Citymeals' Roaring '20s Tasting Benefit

June 12, 2001, 12:00 AM EDT

Citymeals-on-Wheels Roaring 20's gala Rockefeller Center Cafe, the Sea Grill, Rink Bar and Rockefeller Center esplanade Monday, 06.04.01, 7:30 PM to 10 PM
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It was a perfect evening for the annual gala tribute to James Beard benefiting Citymeals-on-Wheels. The stars were sparkling, the air was fresh and the people were dazzling. The Roaring 20's theme--to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Citymeals and that the charity has delivered 20 million meals--called for “Black Tie and Flapper Finery” dress, so long strings of pearls, feathers and sequin headbands were de rigueur among female guests. Thirty-five of the nation's top chefs and some of New York's most fanatical gourmands assembled in Rockefeller Center to raise $1 million for the organization and graze on some of the best food in the country.

Nick Valenti of Restaurant Associates pulled out all the stops at his Rock Center Caf?, Sea Grill, Rink Bar and the esplanade at Rockefeller Plaza. William Reilly and Barbara Riley Levin, co-chairs of the event, brought together a great team of top event, restaurant, style and food people including Sunny and Mike Halperin of Party Rental Ltd., Dennis Riese of Riese Restaurants and several others. American Airlines even flew in all the out-of-town chefs and the Hilton Times Square gave them rooms.

Citymeals' special event department was assisted by Toby Ellen Sarna of Toby Ellen Sarna Ltd. Special Events with managing the event. They brought in Flowers by Reuven and Matthew David Events to coordinate the Roaring 20's decor, which included everything from feathery chandeliers on the banisters to hats for men and feathered headbands for women. See more pictures from this event...

The event's Restaurant Associates chefs included Antonio Prontelli, Seppi Renggli and Victor Broceaux, along with Theo Schoenegger of the Rock Center Caf?, Ed Brown of the Sea Grill and Frank Deletrain of Caf? Centro. New York City chefs included Larry Forgione of countless restaurants such as An American Place; Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar & Grill; Inside's Anne Rosenzweig; Jonathan Waxman; David Bouley of Danube and Bouley Bakery; Daniel Boulud of Daniel, Cafe Boulud and the new DB Bistro Moderne; Terrance Brennan of Artisanal and Picholine; Brasserie's Luc Dimnet; Todd English and Lincoln Carson of Olives; Charlie Palmer of Aureole, Astra and Metrazur; Joachim Splichal of Nick & Stef's Steak House; Nancy Kershner of Town; Wayne Harley Brachman of Michael Jordan's Steakhouse; Maury Rubin of the City Bakery and Jacques Torres of Brooklyn's Jacques Torres Chocolates.

Out-of-town chefs included Alice Waters and Alan Tangren of Chez Panisse; Thomas Keller of the French Laundry; Jimmy Schmidt of the Rattlesnake Club; Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock of Watershed; TV host Stephan Pyles; Johanne Killeen and George Germon of Al Forno and Cafe Louis; Julian Serrano of Picasso at The Bellagio; Charlie Trotter of Charlie Trotter; and serial restaurateurs Wolfgang Puck, Peter Kelly and Bradley Ogden.

Twenty vineyards from California, New York, France, Connecticut and even Texas were on hand to supplement the fine food with some equally fine wines. The best beverage display was Bombay Sapphire's bathtub full of gin (bathtub gin was common during Prohibition, remember) on a bed of ice and decorated with strings of pearls.

The annual tribute to James Beard is Citymeals' biggest event of the year, coming on the heels of their recent beauty industry awards, the corporate dineout and the media industry Battle of the Bands. It's also one of a slew of recent tasting events in restaurant-crazy New York, including the annual James Beard Foundation awards; the Bevi e Mangia benefit for the Muscular Dystrophy Association; Share Our Strength's huge Taste of the Nation benefit; and the New York magazine benefit for City Harvest.

See more pictures from this event...

See our coverage of last year's Citymeals James Beard tribute...

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