Tony May, owner of SD26, will be honored at the annual Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) culinary event on Monday, March 4, 2013 from 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers. The benefit is to support the national not-for-profit’s mission of providing scholarships, education, and career opportunities in the culinary arts to disadvantaged youth.

I would see May quite frequently back in the days when he was owner and manager of the Rainbow Room and also of the Rainbow Grill, when that room was rich in entertainment along with the food selection. One night one might thrill to the music of Duke Ellington, and on another one could laugh at the comedy of Sid Caesar. Those were the heady nightspot entertainment days.

May has since gone onto other achievements in the restaurant world, and he stands firmly among those whom C-CAP has celebrated over the years. He is an excellent and timely choice for this year’s honor. May has worked diligently for five decades to elevate the image of Italian cuisine in America, and has set a high standard for Italian dining. In 1986, he opened Palio, and subsequently San Domenico NY, the flagship restaurant of the Tony May Group. Currently he is proprietor of SD26, where he works side-by-side with his daughter Marisa May.

Chairs for the event are Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr. and the Chef Chair is Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem. The Vice Chairs are Kim and Michael McCarty and Susan and Richard Grausman. CBS2 News Co-Anchor Maurice DuBois will be the Master of Ceremonies.

“This year C-CAP is thrilled to honor Tony May for his remarkable achievements and contributions to the culinary industry and his commitment to nurturing the next generation of chefs,” said Richard Grausman, C-CAP’s Founder and Chairman. “Having Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr. as Chairs of this event is a tribute to Tony’s outstanding career.”

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

The major lure for C-CAP supporters, apart from the satisfaction of helping its program, is the chance for an evening of culinary treats. Each time I go the personal challenge is to sample as much as possible of what chefs have made available on the rows of tables one navigates. It presents a formidable task of making choices.

More than 40 of the city’s chefs will be represented. And what would a tasting be without wine? Wines are being 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 festivities will also include a silent auction of culinary and travel packages.

“The grand walk-around tasting event raises funds to support C-CAP’s mission of providing scholarships, education, and career opportunities in the culinary arts to at-risk youth who are interested in pursuing careers in the restaurant and foodservice industry,” said Susan Robbins, C-CAP’s President. “For more than 20 years we have been transforming lives for thousands of qualified students across the country. We continue to manage the largest independent culinary scholarship program in the nation and, to date, have awarded over $37 million.”

This year’s participating chefs include:

Chef Chair: Marcus Samuelsson, Red Rooster Harlem; Philip DeMaiolo, Abigail Kirsch; Toni Robertson, Asiate at Mandarin Oriental; Jonathan Waxman, Barbuto; Philippe Bertineau, Benoit; Braden Reardon, BLT Steak; Sean Quinn, Chadwick’s Restaurant; Shea Gallante, Ciano; Tom Colicchio and James Tracey, Colicchio & Sons; Pastry Chef Ashley Brauze, db Bistro Moderne; John Fraser, Dovetail; Joseph Fortunato, Extra Virgin; Fortunato Nicotra, Felidia; Pastry Chef Thiago Silva, The General; Pastry Chef Ron Paprocki, Gotham Bar and Grill; Marc Murphy, Landmarc; Chris Leahy, Lexington Brass; Jason Weiner and David Belknap, L & W Oyster Co.; Gastón Acurio and Victoriano López, La Mar; Maria Loi, Loi; Kyung Up Lim; Michael's New York; Pastry Chef Marc Aumont, The Modern; Masaharu Morimoto, Morimoto; Matthew Hoyle, Nobu 57; Pastry Chef Alex Ray, North End Grill; Ben Pollinger, Oceana; Pastry Chef Alfred Stephens, Olives.

Also: Kevin Lasko, Park Avenue Winter; Michael Lomonaco, Porter House New York; Pastry Chef Sarabeth Levine, Sarabeth's; Scott Conant, Scarpetta; Matteo Bergamini, SD26. Yuhi Fujinaga, The Sea Grill; Michael Tong, Shun Lee Palace; Filippo Gozzoli, Sirio Ristorante; Kelvin Fernandez, The Strand, American Bistro; Michael Vignola, Strip House; William Telepan, Telepan; Mario Carbone and Richard Torrisi, Torrisi Italian Specialties; Carmen Quagliata, Union Square Café and Wylie Dufresne, wd~50.

To give you an idea of the kind of cuisine tasting offered:

Asiate at Mandarin Oriental (Toni Robertson) will offer soba noodles, trout roe and uni cream; Barbuto (Jonathan Waxman), gnocchi with walnut pesto and budino; Db Bistro Moderne (Ashley Brauze), grapefruit chocolate verrine, layered with grapefruit vanilla diplomat, dark chocolate crémeux, chocolate pain de gênes and Campari-poached grapefruit; Nobu 57 (Matt Hoyle), sautéed Nantucket bay scallops on a salad of baby spinach, yuzu, parmesan, extra virgin olive oil and dried miso; North End Grill (Alexandra Ray), key lime cheesecake with sour cream gelée, blood orange and coconut-lime fluid gels, macademia toffee powder and shards; SD26 (Matteo Bergamini) soft quail egg--filled raviolo with truffled butter and parmigiano, and Torrisi Italian Specialties (Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi) duck terrine with mulberry mustard.

Some very elaborate opportunities highlight C-CAP’s silent auction fund-raising. Attendees will be able to bid on, for example, a one-week trip for two (including first class airfare, to Ville Tre Ville in Positano, Italy; a one week stay (round-trip business class air fare included) at J.K. Place, Island of Capri; A trip for two (round-trip air included) to Rome, Florence and Capri; Dinner for 16 people at one’s home or at Ginny’s Supper Club prepared by renowned chef and restaurateur Marcus Samuelsson, and a dinner and wine tasting for 12 at Tony May’s SD26.

Tickets for general admission are $550; VIP tickets are $700 and $1,000, and are available for purchase by calling 212-974-7111 or at www.ccapinc.org, where additional information abut the organization can also be obtained.

C-CAP works with public schools across the country to prepare at-risk high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. A national nonprofit organization, C-CAP reports that it manages the largest independent culinary scholarship program in the United States. In addition to C-CAP having awarded students $37 million in scholarships since its founding, it has donated $2.8 million worth of supplies and equipment to classrooms. C-CAP provides training and curriculum enrichment programs including: job training and internships, teacher training, cooking competitions and scholarships, college advising and career advising. C-CAP operates programs in seven locations: New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Hampton Roads, VA; District of Columbia/Prince George’s County, MD; and statewide in Arizona Posted February 7, 2013.

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