NEW YORK Not looking to change too much what has become a fixture among events preceding the U.S. Open, the organizers of Thursday night's Taste of Tennis pretty much stuck to the successful formula of years past, adding only a couple of components to help boost the recognition and presence of participating restaurants and sponsors. Held once again at the W New York, the fund-raising tasting fete produced by AYS Sports Marketing paired players from the tournament with noted chefs and was attended by a number of supporters, including John Legend and Kelly Choi.
Alongside tennis pros like Andy Roddick, Tomas Berdych, Victoria Azarenka, and Kim Clijsters, local toques such as Katie Lee Joel, South Gate's Kerry Heffernan, Brad Farmerie of Public, and Keith Kornfeld of Pranna served up an eclectic mix of dishes to the sold-out crowd of 350 guests. To cast more of the spotlight on the chefs and restaurants participating, this year the BNP Paribas-sponsored event included free car service from sponsor Cadillac and food served to the press gathered on the green arrivals carpet.
Two weeks ahead of the event, Cadillac stationed several of its CTS Coupe cars outside some of the restaurants participating in the Taste of Tennis and offered diners free rides home. In total, the promotion, which ran from August 12 to 21, picked up 247 passengers. On the night of the fund-raiser, Cadillac parked one of its vehicles by the entrance for guests to examine. And for the photographers and reporters assembled by the step-and-repeat, Baking by Design co-owner Angel Elon brought out slices of cake for the crowd to sample.
The organizers of the three-hour event did not release the amount of funds it raised, but a portion of the proceeds benefits the New York Junior Tennis League, an organization dedicated to providing free services and programs to local youth.