Bi-coastal celebrity restaurateur Michael McCarty, who earned renown for his restaurants in Santa Monica, California and New York City, and who is distinguished as a chef, vintner and art collector, will be the honoree at the annual benefit of C-CAP (Careers through Culinary Arts Program) on Thursday, February 16, 2012, 6:30-9.00 p.m. at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers. The non-profit organization provides scholarships and career opportunities in the food industry to deserving youth in the various cities in which C-CAP conducts its school cooking programs.

It has become a tradition for the organization to honor an outstanding person who has excelled in the restaurant and food service field. The annual benefits have also become a tradition dear to the hearts of those who love food. A large contingent of chefs representing noted restaurants bring signature dishes for tasting at lines of tables set up at Pier Sixty for a luxurious night of savoring a wide variety of cuisine, including tempting desserts. The excuse for indulging in an excess of calories during the evening is the knowledge that patrons are furthering the C-CAP mission that has in its more than 20 years of existence awarded some $34 million in scholarships.

C-CAP has also donated $2.7 million worth of supplies and equipment to classrooms and provides training and curriculum enrichment programs, including: teacher training, cooking competitions, job training, internships, college and career advising and product donations. C-CAP operates programs in seven locations: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Hampton Roads, VA;, Prince George’s County, Maryland and statewide in Arizona.

Honorary chairs this year are Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg. The chef chair is Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster. The vice-chairs for the event are Nina and Tim Zagat and Susan and Richard Grausman. CBS2 News Co-Anchor Maurice DuBois will be the master of ceremonies.

Grausman, C-CAP founder and chairman, lauded McCarty’s achievements and contributions to the culinary industry and “his commitment to nurturing the next generation of chefs.” Grausman added, “Having Bette Midler and Martin von Haselberg as honorary chairs of this event is a tribute to Michael’s outstanding career.”

A press release announcing the benefit had the following to say about the honoree: “Michael McCarty has left an unmistakable impression on the food world with his legendary restaurants, Michael’s NY and Michael’s Santa Monica. Often known as the ‘Godfather of California cuisine,’ Michael McCarty remains a driving force and inspiration in featuring local and seasonal produce, meats, and fish in his ever-flavorful cuisine. Some of the country’s finest chefs began their careers at Michael’s, including Jonathan Waxman, Mark Peel, Nancy Silverton and Sang Yoon. Michael has been a visionary, and his groundbreaking initiatives helped establish California Cuisine as a movement that transformed cooking in the United States. Along with Alice Waters, Michael pioneered the organic, sustainable, ingredient-driven farm-to-table explosion of New American regional food that has now become the gold standard for great American dining.”

With respect to the effect the C-CAP program has had in terms of individual lives, Susan Robbins, C-CAP President, notes, “For more than 20 years, we have been breaking the cycle of poverty for hundreds of qualified students across the country. We continue to manage the largest independent scholarship program.”

More than 30 of the city’s long-time favorite chefs will be represented at the benefit, with wines donated by The Charmer Sunbelt Group. More than 60 New York City C-CAP high school culinary students are expected to assist the chefs. The evening’s program will also include a silent auction of culinary and travel packages.

Tickets for general admission are $500; VIP tickets are $600 and $1,000 and are available for purchase by calling 212-974-7111 or at www.ccapinc.org.

Participating chefs include:

Chef Chair: Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster;

Missy Robbins: A Voce Columbus

Philip DeMaiolo, Abigail Kirsch Pier Sixty

George Mendes, Aldea

Jason Weiner, Almond

Toni Robertson, Asiate

Yuhi Fujinaga, Bar Basque

Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto

Waldy Malouf, Beacon

Philippe Bertineau, Benoit

Clifford Crooks, BLT Steak

Dan Barber, Blue Hill/ Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Pastry chef Thiago Silva, Catch

Tom Colicchio, Colicchio & Sons

Daniel Boulud and Sandro Micheli, Daniel

John Fraser, Dovetail

Joey Fortunato, Extra Virgin

Fortunato Nicotra, Felidia

Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar & Grill Ayumu Matsuda, kibo

Maria Loi, Loi Restaurant NYC

Kyung Up Lim, Michael’s

Pastry chef Marc Aumont, The Modern

Scott Campbell, New Leaf Restaurant & Bar

Matt Hoyle, Nobu Fifty Seven

Ben Pollinger, Oceana

Kevin Lasko, Park Avenue Winter

Michael Lomonaco, Porter House New York

Matteo Bergamini, SD26

Pastry chef Sarabeth Levine, Sarabeth's

Shaun Hergatt, SHO – Shaun Hergatt

Michael Tong, Shun Lee Palace

Kerry Heffernan, Southgate

Kelvin Fernandez, The Strand American Bistro

William Telepan, Telepan

Carmen Quagliata, Union Square Cafe

In addition, participating C-CAP Graduate Chefs include: Rachel Lansang and Mehdi Chellaoui.

Past recipients of the C-CAP Honors Award include Michael Lomonaco, Marcus Samuelsson, Drew Nieporent, Alfred Portale, Lidia Bastianich, Thomas Keller, Charlie Palmer, Danny Meyer and Michael Romano, Daniel Boulud, Jacques Pepin, Egidiana and Sirio Maccioni, Nina and Tim Zagat and Saul Zabar and Stanley Zabar.

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