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“Throw food in their faces if you want!” CBS 2 sportscaster Brett Haber exclaimed when introducing the tennis stars who attended the International Taste of Tennis benefit tasting event at the W New York on Lexington Avenue. The event turned some of the world's brightest tennis stars (who are in town for the U. S. Open) into chef's assistants for the tasting, held to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. The event's host chef was Michel Nischan of the W's in-house restaurant Heartbeat, whose young son suffers from diabetes.
Organized by Penny Lerner of Philadelphia-based AYS Sports Marketing, the tasting featured Wylie Dufresne of 71 Clinton Fresh Food, Diane Forley and Michael Otsuka of Verbena, Harold Moore of Montrachet, Sarabeth Levine of Sarabeth's, Bill Telepan of Judson Grill, Todd English of Olives and several other chefs who graciously guided the tennis stars to help prepare some of the sumptuous tastings being served at the event. Among the attending athletes were Meghann Shaughnessy, Xavier Malisse, Alexandra Stevenson, Tim Henman and Justin Gimelstob.
A silent auction component featured a Venus Williams-signed tennis dress, a Jennifer Capriati-signed tennis racket and other items of sports memorabilia and food items.