The distinguished restaurateur Drew Nieporent, in accepting the honor bestowed upon him by C-CAP (Careers Through Culinary Arts Program), got off a good line appropriate to an environment where leadings chefs were providing tasting samples to a large group of patrons. Nieporent urged the throng to keep supporting the worthy cause and thanked those who even in these tough economic times were “putting your money where your mouth is.”

There were lots of mouths at work, figuratively and literally at the February 25, 2009, event held at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers, as benefactors filed between the rows of tables where culinary delights from New York’s prime restaurants were offered, with leading chefs in attendance and assisted by students who have been aided by C-CAP programs in schools. These C-CAP programs have resulted in more than $25 million in scholarships being distributed since the 19-year-old organization was founded, with many students going on to important jobs in the restaurant and food industry fields.

Honoree Nieporent is the founder of The Myriad Group, which operates such noted restaurants as Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Nobu Next Door, Nobu 57, Nobu London, Centrico, Mai House, and the new Corton, as well as Crush Wine & Spirits. He was presented with an original stainless steel sculpture by noted artist Philip Grausman, brother of Richard Grausman, founder and President of C-CAP.

At the elaborate food tasting I did plenty sampling of my own. I enjoyed especially, for example, the red wine braised short rib with truffled cauliflower mousse of Tribeca Grill; the Peking duck of Shun Lee Palace; peekytoe crab with avocado and raspberries of Park Avenue Winter; wild striped bass crudo of Eighty-One; classic steak tartar with fresh baby herb salad of Aretsky’s Patroon; cold smoked salmon goat cheese potato cake from Aquavit; lobster tamarind salad of Compass; herb marinated lamb chops with garlic parsley crumbs of Beacon, lamb meatballs with red lentils from Landmarc; cauliflower tortellini braised short rib, root vegetables, parmigiano-regiano from Gotham Bar and Grill; chili rubbed brisket of beef po’boys with cabbage slaw and ancho chili mayo from Porter House New York; spicy seafood soup of Nobu Fifty Seven; chestnut horseradish soup, pear, ver jus from wd-50 and the Alaskan king crab risotto with pistachios and blood oranges from Oceana.

In the dessert department, there were the heavenly the individual cherry crumb pies of Sarabeth’s and the hazelnut semifreddo, coffee cream, amaretti crunch from Olives.

Other standout dishes were provided by Centrico, Mai House, Corton, Nobu, Primehouse New York, Dovetail, Payard Birstro, Daniel, Union Square Café, Blue Hill, Riingo, Buddakan, Gilt, Aureole, Abigail Kirsch, Tabla, Convivio, and Felidia. Champagne flowed courtesy of the Kobrand Foundation, wine was contributed by Charmer Sunbelt Group, water was from Nestle Waters North America and there was plenty of illy coffee. In addition, funds were raised with a silent auction, made possible by the generosity of various other contributors.

The chair for the benefit was Tim Zagat, publisher of the Zagat Survey Guides, and vice chairs were Carol and N. Richard Kalikow and Susan and Richard Grausman, with coordination by Harriette Rose Katz Events/Gourmet Advisory Services. Maurice Dubois, anchor of “CBS 2 News This Morning” was a congenial master of ceremonies, after gallantly stepping in for scheduled Al Roker who was called away on assignment. Television celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit and Riingo helped orchestrate the food tasting.

Further information about C-CAP can be obtained 212-974-7111 or by visiting the website www.ccapinc.org

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