The elaborate, food-tasting benefit of The Careers Through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) topped its past benefits in fund-raising, this time tallying some $523,000, with $71,000 of the funds coming from its auctioning special treats provided by supporters. One auction highlight was a night out for two with restaurant guide publishers Tim and Nina Zagat guiding a custom tour to 25 top-rated New York restaurants and followed by dinner at the one of their choice.

C-CAP, a non-profit organization founded by Richard and Susan Grausman, has awarded more than $13 million in scholarships since 1990 as a result of its cooking programs in some 200 schools in cities around the country involving about 10,000 students, with many going on to jobs in the food industry.

This year’s benefit honored distinguished chef Charlie Palmer, and top restaurants from throughout New York City provided special tasting dishes for those attending at Pier Sixty of Chelsea Piers. Peter Boyle, the TV and film star, best known these days as the irascible dad on the CBS show “Everybody Loves Raymond,” emceed the evening with wit and grace.

The food tasting, dubbed “A Preview of Spring Dining,” featured one mouth-watering dish after another as C-CAP supporters inched their way along the long rows of tables. The delicacies were too numerous to mention. A few personal favorites from a vast number of temptations: Fois gras crème caramel with roasted fig and beet salsa from Abigail Kirsch, Pier Sixty; bay scallop with mango mustard puree, marinated salmon roe from Aquavit; rack of lamb with olives and lemon from Beacon; lentil flan with braised bacon and sherry truffle vinaigrette from Eleven Madison Park; pineapple coconut tart with cilantro lime granite from Gotham Bar & Grill; slow-braised beef short rib with parsnip puree and crisps from Kitchen 22/ Kitchen 82; snail in phyllo cup with parsnip and garlic butter from Payard Patisserie and Bistro; key lime cheesecake with passion fruit curd and tropical fruit from Union Square Café, and mussel-olive oil soup, water chestnuts, orange zest from WD-50.

Champagne Gosset, Grande Reserve, was served by Palm Bay Imports of Syosset, New York, four different wines were supplied by the Robert Mondavi Family of Wines, and illy provided coffee, espresso and cappuccino. For more information about C-CAP, phone 212-974-7111, or click on www.ccapinc.org.

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