Haute Event: Central Park Conservancy Taste of Summer 2014

Marcus Samuelsson, Tom Kempner, Gillian Miniter, Douglas Blonsky

The Central Park Conservancy gathered 850 guests on June 11 at Bethesda Terrace for the annual Taste of Summer benefit. This festive celebration of Central Park’s beauty and New York’s exquisite cuisine featured delectable tastings prepared by the city’s top restaurants, a luxurious silent auction, and upbeat dancing to the music by DJ Kiss. Attended by community leaders, philanthropists, and prominent New Yorkers, Taste of Summer raised $925,000 for the restoration and maintenance of Central Park.  The event was generously sponsored by Macquarie Group.

Marcus Samuelsson hosted The Taste Café, which featured dishes from Red Rooster Harlem and American Table Café and Bar at Lincoln Center, in addition to 35 other restaurants that participated in the sample tastings throughout the night. Guests even created their own cocktails using a selection of herbs, fruits, garnishes, and spirits at the Reyka Vodka Foraging Bar. William Grant & Sons, a family-owned and independent distiller, was the exclusive spirits partner at this year’s Taste of Summer.

Hosts included Central Park Conservancy Trustees and Event Chairmen Kristy and Jonathan Korngold, Carol Sutton Lewis & William M. Lewis, Jr., Laurie and Jay Mandelbaum, Gillian & Sylvester Miniter, Jenny & John Paulson, Melissa Vail & Norman Selby. Host Committee members and guests included Kitty and Tom Kempner (Chairman, Board of Trustees, Central Park Conservancy), Doug Blonsky (President and CEO, Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator), Suzie and Ainar Aijala, Charles Altchek, Sarah Arison, Alexandra Lebenthal and Jeremy Diamond, Melissa Seligmann Gokhvat and Eugene Gokhvat, Rebecca and Larry Grafstein, Anne Harrison, Yaz and Valentin Hernandez, Rachel and Ara Hovnanian, Cathy and Bill Ingram, Sharon and Bill Jacob, Veronica and Ray Kelly, Kamie and Rich Lightburn, Liz and Jeff Peek, Sandra Ripert, Alexandra and Alex Robertson, and Nanar and Tony Yoseloff.