Sunday, August 7, 2011

CityMeals-on-Wheels Chefs' Tribute in NYC ~ June 2011

One of my favorite fundraiser events is the CityMeals-on-Wheels Chefs' Tribute. James Beard and Gael Greene founded this charity in 1981 to help feed the housebound elderly of NYC. According to the website, "Citymeals funds 30 community-based agencies that bring weekend, holiday and emergency meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers who can no longer shop or cook for themselves. During the fiscal year ended June 30, 2010, Citymeals-on-Wheels delivered 2 million meals to over 16,000 New Yorkers at times when they would otherwise have been alone & hungry."

The annual Chefs' Tribute Gala is held at Rockefeller Center in NYC in June and hosted by Patina Restaurant Group. The theme changes each year. 2011 was A Taste of Home --Star Chefs and Wineries Celebrate Family Feasts to Benefit CityMeals-on-Wheels. The menu is a who's who of restaurateurs and wineries (Forgione, Brennan, Ponzi, Stillman, and 2 dozen more!)

I served a selection of Rogue Ales (American Amber Ale, Chatoe OREgasmic, Imperial Youngers Special Bitter, Chocolate Stout) along with Smokey Blue Cheese and Chocolate Stout Cheddar from Rogue Creamery served on 34-Degree crackers. I also had a bottle of Rogue Spirits Dead Guy Whiskey available to taste. A shout-out and thanks to Candela Prol for assisting me -- we've co-taught many beer and cheese classes at Artisanal Premium Cheese.
The food served at Chefs' Tribute is always delicious -- how could it not be when Daniel Boulud, Jonathan Waxman, Ben Ford, Alfred Portale, Craig Koketsu, Jean-Georges Vongerichte, and Charlie Palmer are serving you! So were the cocktails that Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club coordinated with a team of guest mixologists. A number of wineries attend, along with Fuji Water. Stella and Southampton also served beer this year. It was great to meet Dick & Nancy Ponzi, legends in the Oregon wine industry.

The Hurricane Club hosted the after party, and showcased a special cocktail Barry made using Rogue Spirits Hazelnut Rum.

Some of my favorite moments are when restaurant industry folks seek out my table and share their stories about craft beer. I had a great time with this woman from Gotham Grill, and the crew from Ford's Filling Station at the after party in 2011.

A hugh Thank You to the CityMeals team for inviting me to pour beer at their fundraiser each year since 2004. Feast of Many Moons was the theme. I served Rogue's Soba Ale alongside Chef Morimoto who was next to the chefs from the Taj Hotel in Mumbai. The smell of exotic spices was infectious, as was the music and energy of the crowd dancing under the big top tent at Rockefeller Center.