The Stars Come Out for New York’s 19th Annual Citi Taste of Tennis

The lavish gala was held at Cipriani 42nd Street
Citi Taste of Tennis 2018
Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for AYS Sports Marketing

Chef Masaharu Morimoto with tennis star Sloane Stephens.

A blue carpet was set up on 42nd Street across from New York City’s Grand Central Terminal last week, as the massive Cipriani event space was taken over by the 19th annual Citi Taste of Tennis, which we had the opportunity to attend. Held annually on the eve of the U.S. Open, the event draws a wide variety of stars from both the culinary and tennis worlds, and this year’s top draws were Masaharu Morimoto and Venus and Serena Williams.

Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for AYS Sports Marketing

Chef Jordan Andino

More than 40 chef’s stations filled the massive space, and the crowds jockeyed to sample all the culinary creations on offer. The Lotte New York Palace’s chef Cedric Tovar served caviar- and bacon-topped tater tots; Grand Banks’ chef Kerry Heffernan served scallop ceviche with lime oil and habanero; Kingley’s Roxanne Spruance served wagyu beef tartare with tomato, black olive, and chicharron; Tavern on the Green’s Bill Peet served mangalitsa pork shoulder confit; Flip Sigi’s Jordan Andino served a Spam and longanisa burrito; Sen Sakana’s Mina Newman served torched salmon ceviche with shiso and yuzu leche de tigre; Matthew Schindler of Charlie Palmer @ The Knick served boneless pork ribs with balsamic onion relish; American Cut’s Greg Rubin served pastrami-spiced tomahawk prime rib; and Scarpetta’s Jorge Espinoza served agnolotti with ricotta, mascarpone, and truffle. And from 9 to 11 p.m., VIP guests were able to sample desserts including cake pops from Rebecca’s Cake Pops, strawberry and matcha oat kakigori from The Little One, and a “moffle” (mochi-stuffed waffle) bar from chef Selina Sabolboro. Wine, beer, and spirits from Charles Smith Wines, Espolon Tequila, Zonin Prosecco, Diplomatico Rum, Red Stripe, and more were free-flowing all night long.

Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for AYS Sports Marketing

Guests of honor Morimoto, the Williams sisters, and tennis stars Sloane Stephens, Sam Querrey, Caroline Garcia, and Bob and Mike Bryan mixed and mingled with the crowd. Morimoto took to the stage to demo making sushi rolls alongside Stephens; he was followed by Serena, who served as sous-chef to Lotte’s chef Tovar, and Venus, who DJed alongside DJ Mad Linx.

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The event was extremely crowded to be sure, but it was a high-energy (not to mention delicious) way to inaugurate this year’s U.S. Open.

Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for AYS Sports Marketing

Serena Williams with chef Cedric Tovar