At the star-studded Shame on Sandy benefit event in New York’s Meatpacking District Saturday night, top names in the food and entertainment industries had the opportunity to get up on stage and show off some skills in a talent show. Mario Batali attempted (unsuccessfully) to shoot an apple, William Tell-style, off artist Jennifer Rubell’s head, and his business partner Joe Bastianich sang a moving song with his acoustic guitar. Actress Abigail Breslin sang a couple songs as well, Stephanie March dramatically read a Yelp review, Gail Simmons did a dramatic reading of Cole Porter’s I Happen to Like New York, and Reggie Watts even dropped by to do a couple of numbers. And Sir Patrick Stewart had the crowd in stitches reading a heartfelt ode to his new favorite restaurant, a "Parisian-style mom-and-pop bistro" he discovered called Subway.
But the night’s biggest laughs came from chefs Anthony Bourdain and his good friend, Le Bernardin’s Eric Ripert. After taking the stage, Bourdain was blindfolded and challenged to tell the difference between red and white wines. Not only was he able to do that, he was able to name the grapes involved (all the while griping about the poor quality of the wine). Next, Ripert was blindfolded as Bourdain fed him a few all-American foodstuffs to see if he could figure out what they were.
After reaching into a bowl and sampling the first item, Ripert admitted that he had no idea what he was eating. "There is crystallized sugar, and it tastes a little like cotton candy," he said. Bourdain then told him that he was eating Captain Crunch, and asked him, "How can you smoke marijuana and not know what Captain Crunch is?"
"I have no recollection," Ripert coyly replied.
Next up was a food that Ripert took one bite of and spit out. "It tastes like home cooking from Tony," he told the crowd. When Bourdain asked him to narrow it down to chicken, fish, or tofu, Ripert replied that all he tasted was oil, but guessed that it might be tofu. Then the blindfold came off, and Ripert learned that he had in fact just eaten his first Chicken McNugget.
"Welcome to America," Bourdain told him.
In total, the event raised $42,150, all of which will be donated to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.