Last month at Daniel, chef Daniel Boulud gathered a half dozen of New York’s finest chefs and nearly two hundred philanthropists for both a great meal and cause: its annual “Sunday Supper” in support of Citymeals on Wheels.
The tradition—which included cocktails, dinner and an auction—started nearly two decades ago. “I invited my five mentors, the best chefs in France, to join me and it was a big success,” remembers Boulud. “We call it ‘supper’ because it starts early and finishes early, and everyone wishes to be invited to a soulful Sunday supper with friends.”
This year’s Sunday Supper theme was “Black Tie and Blue Jeans,” and the evening raised nearly $840,000, or enough to pay for 130,742 meals for elderly New Yorkers in need. The kitchen was festive as chef Boulud led a team that included Charlie Palmer, Michael Anthony, Scott Conant and others to collaborate on a luxurious meal.
During the cocktail hour, chefs joined guests for drinks and canapés, including hamachi crudo by Conant and balls of the wagyu beef tartare, which were rolled with black truffle and caciocavallo by Frank Castranovo and Frank Falcinelli of Frankies Spuntino. Other menu items included citrus-cured fluke with cara cara oranges and nori, torched oysters with marinara sauce and foie gras from the Hudson Valley.
Chefs and diners alike browsed through impressive silent auction items such as dinner at db Bistro Moderne paired with tickets to Hamilton, lunch with Sarah Jessica Parker at Daniel and weekend getaways to Montreal, Nashville or Washington DC. The big ticket auction items came later in the evening, with a five-city trip through France as the headliner.
The gathering provided diners with an evening of amazing food and glamorous company, but at the heart of it is the desire to help in a way that those in the food industry understand best: feeding people. According to chef Palmer, “The reason why [we’re doing this] is pretty obvious: everyone needs to eat and so many people do not have access to good and healthful food. As chefs and restaurateurs, we need to lead the charge in making sure we do our part.”
As a co-president of the Citymeals board, chef Boulud has participated in several initiatives for the organization’s benefit of the years. One of the most recent is called “Chefs Deliver.” It organizes rotating cast of chefs to cook, and often personally deliver, meals from their kitchens to the doors of New Yorkers once a month. Past participants include Marcus Samuelsson, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Alfred Portale, David Burke, Amanda Freitag, Markus Glocker and Marc Forgione.
Even though the twentieth annual Sunday Supper is year away, chef Boulud is already making plans. “The date is already set: Sunday, March 12, 2017. I am thinking it will be Europe-themed with a top chef from Paris, London, Italy and Spain. Don’t hold me to that, but whatever the theme we will find a way to make it the biggest, most impactful Sunday Supper yet.”