Sunday night, generous New Yorkers gathered at New York’s famed restaurant Daniel for the restaurant’s annual Citymeals-on-Wheels dinner, but the real stars of the show were in the kitchen: more than 20 alumni who have cooked for chef Daniel Boulud in the past, who reunited for a one-night-only 20th anniversary feast that showcased some of the city’s finest talent.
Chefs including Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Anthony, Johnny Iuzzini, Lee Hanson, Dominique Ansel, and François Payard were all present (the amount of talent that Boulud developed really is limitless), and they each prepared a special dish for the evening, which also included an auction.
Anthony prepared a poached lobster and asparagus gazpacho; Guarnaschelli made a Maine lobster roll with black pepper brioche and charred asparagus; Balthazar’s Lee Hanson and Riad Nasr served a smoked black sea bass "raclette" with leeks, fingerling potatoes, chanterelle mushrooms, and guanciale; and Payard served coconut-mango and pistachio-raspberry macaron ice cream sandwiches for dessert. That’s just a small sampling of the lavish menu, though; cocktail hour hors d’oeuvres included cured foie gras on shabazi-spiced manoushe with pomegranate seed jam and salted pistachios, for example, paired with a cocktail created specifically for the event, "The Reunion," with gin, lemon, raspberry syrup, crème de violette, and a dash of absinthe.
After the meal, extravagant experiences were auctioned off, from dinner for four at Momofuku Ko to trips to Brazil, Scotland, or Paris. Proceeds from the meal and auction all went to Citymeals-on-Wheels, which sends meals to the city’s homebound elderly, and last year’s dinner raised $578,000 for the organization.
"Daniel has been a dear supporter of the organization, hosting this annual gala and sitting on our board," Citymeals executive director Beth Shapiro told us. "He’s raised millions of dollars for us over the years, enough to deliver over a million meals."