Despite the dip in the DOW, the 140 guests managed to raise $460,000—enough to hand-deliver 70,000 meals to elderly New Yorkers in their homes.
Restaurant DANIEL is considered such an elegant destination that most people don’t realize my own personal style is actually pretty casual. So it wasn’t much of a stretch for me to make blue jeans the required attire at my annual Citymeals gala this past March. I made it an evening of “Black Truffles, Burgundy, Blue Jeans & Blues”. It’s the only time I’ve seen my restaurant filled entirely with denim-clad guests. We may have lost a good part of our 401s but we were comfy in our 501s and still managed to enjoy an all-black-truffle menu, thanks to the generous sponsorship of my truffle suppliers. The crowd had so much fun, it may be hard to get them back into their jackets and ties.
We gathered to raise money for Citymeals-on-Wheels, an organization I’ve been working with for over a decade. It’s really an honor to raise money for them to deliver meals to New York’s homebound elderly. While it was a charitable event, I wanted it to be a low key and fun spirited evening. I felt it was not the time to pressure guests with too much aggressive fundraising. My goal was to reach out to the Citymeals board members and supporters who have been faithful to the charity for so many years—and to welcome a few new guests who have shown interest in supporting this incredible organization.
Despite the dip in the DOW, the 140 guests managed to raise $460,000—enough to hand-deliver 70,000 meals to elderly New Yorkers in their homes. That’s something that makes us pretty proud. But I didn’t do it on my own. I had a stellar pair of guest chefs at my side: the legendary Michel Troisgros of Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France, started things off with his flocons de chataignes aux brisures de truffe Noir, while Daniel Humm of Eleven Madison Park prepared Nova Scotia lobster with celery and black truffle. I served a poularde en demi deuil with sunchokes, salsify, prawns and albufera sauce. Finally my pastry chef, Dominique Ansel, crowned the menu with a hazelnut-chocolate truffle, chestnut mousse, and caramel-black truffle ice cream.
Michel Troisgros regaled the auction bidders with a stay at his new inn, La Colline du Colombier, a beautiful 200-year-old farmhouse he has lovingly restored, combining the historic buildings with stunning contemporary architecture, a uniquely pastoral setting on the banks of the Loire, and a very forward thinking ecotourism approach. It also doesn’t hurt that the inn serves the incredible cooking the Troisgros family has been known for, for more than three generations.
The celebration was also a tribute to my dear friend, Sirio Maccioni. For those of you who don’t know him first hand, Sirio is the renowned owner of Le Cirque and one of New York’s most famed restaurateurs. He is also the man who gave me my start here by making me executive chef at Le Cirque back in 1987. I had good fun roasting Siro lightly, but mostly I was honored to express what an incredible role model and mentor he has been to me.
By the end of the evening we had already cooked up our next Citymeals event. My dear friend Scott Kasen stepped up and offered to host an opening party to benefit Citymeals at the new restaurant I’m opening on the Bowery. So I’ll see you downtown at DBGB Kitchen & Bar on May 12th. What does DBGB mean? You tell me—but I’m thinking American diner meets French Brasserie with a distinctly downtown vibe. A bientôt.