The world’s top tennis players doubled up with
a lineup of acclaimed chefs at the upscale W New York Hotel in midtown Manhattan
for a City Harvest benefit that excited food lovers and tennis fans alike.
Maria Sharpova made a brief, unexpected appearance, and during the headliner
event, Al Roker, Mario Batali and Andy Roddick were interrupted onstage while
making shrimp scampi with garlic by another surprise appearance - this one
by Andre Agassi. Agassi had headlined last year’s event but was not expected
to appear this year.
Other tennis stars that made appearances and helped out the busy chefs were
James Blake, Lleyton Hewitt, Robby Ginepri, Tommy Haas, Martina Navratilova,
and Nicolas Kiefer.
A silent auction featured several notable items: Andy Roddick
and James Blake signed rackets, Shaquille O’Neal’s enormous basketball
sneakers, a getaway trip to the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa, a New York City
sports package at Madison Square Garden, and various donated jewelry and crystal.
world-class lineup of chefs lined the walls of the second floor lounge, offering
a sampling of bite-sized dishes. Chefs included Alexandra Guarnaschelli of
Butter, Damon Gordon of Ono, Ricardo Hernandex of Aspen, George McKirdy of
Blue Fin, Michael Cressotti of Barbounia, Timon Balloo of Sushi Samba, Wilson
Leal of Porcao, Brian O’Donohue of Barca 18, and many others.
Channel Kwiat Million Dollar Swinger” was on display
throughout the evening, a $1.5 million work of art that was transformed from
an ordinary Wilson tennis racquet. The racquet includes 180 carats and more
than 3,041 individual brilliant cut diamonds set in an 18K gold white base,
and is available for purchase at Saks Fifth avenue. No word on whether Maria
Sharapova is interested in the piece yet.
City Harvest is a non-profit organization
founded in 1981 when Helen ver Duin Palit, a soup kitchen worker, noticed that
neighboring restaurants were wasting good food every day. Seeing an opportunity
to bolster the food supply at the soup kitchen, she gathered volunteers and
borrowed cars and vans to transport the food from where it was not needed to
where it was needed very much. City Harvest was born. Today City Harvest is
the world’s oldest and New York’s
only food rescue program.
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