Hungry Kids Benefit From Cocktails, Dinner And a Side of Philanthropy
April 28, 2015
Originally published in WSJ Metropolis blog
Filed under: Food & Dining
Tags: ,


The chilled cauliflower soup and Disaronno cocktails were served with a side of philanthropy in Manhattan Monday evening.

About 100 of New York's food and beverage stars came together for a glitzy event organized by the charity No Kid Hungry to combat childhood hunger.

Organizers said more than 1,000 people attended the New York Taste of the Nation event, which was held at 23 Wall Street. It featured a sit-down dinner as well as a cocktail party with booths offering bites from some of the city's most well-known establishments, including Asia de Cuba, Blue Smoke, Betony, Restaurant Marc Forgione, Talde and The Cecil.

Marquee foodie names included chefs Danny Meyer, Bryce Shuman, Anita Lo, Markus Glocker and Enrique Olvera. Bars from across the city, such as Mace, Pouring Ribbons, Evening Bar and Middle Branch shook up cocktails.

The event raised almost $1 million through tickets and an evening auction, organizers said.

Nearly 930,000 children in New York City struggle with hunger; nationally, one in five children is estimated to not have enough food, according to No Kid Hungry.

The charity raises money to provide meals, as well teach families how to shop and cook healthy meals on a budget. Last year, the charity raised more than $1 million and served more than ten million meals.

"The frustrating part about it is that the food is there, the funding is there, and the kids are certainly there, but the system necessary to unite those three crucial factors are not currently in place," Betony general manager Eamon Rockey, one of the event's organizers, said. "That is our agenda. That is what we are working towards."

Mr. Eamon was part of a group of food professionals who visited Washington earlier this month to meet lawmakers, such as New York Republican congresswoman Elise Stanik, to push for legislation that would help place more meals in front of needy children.

Among the delicacies served Monday night were foie gras, homemade spicy tofu, delicate chocolate truffles as well as elegant Plymouth gin cocktails and the famed Betony milk punch.

A dish from The Gander restaurant, which opened last year in New York City's Flatiron district, was intentionally unassuming.

"I wanted to show people that they can make a dish that uses pretty inexpensive ingredients that can still taste wonderful," The Gander owner and chef Jesse Schenker said, of his chilled cauliflower and almond soup. "There's no protein in here. There's cauliflower, herbs, oil, some nuts."

"We have a relationship with farmers. We have a close relationship to how food is being processed and developed," Mr. Schenker said, of a role chefs and other food professionals can take in tackling hunger.

"We have more accurate statistics on how food is being used and wasted. If people step up and speak about it, we can come up with some sort of creative way to get rid of that waste," he said.

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