Last night’s Citymeals Crème de la Crème benefit at Rockefeller Center brought some of the world's most talented chefs (and some of the city's wealthiest food lovers/philanthropists) together to celebrate the great French chefs of old. The $600 price tag got entrants access to any number of big name chefs from Colicchio to Boulud to Traci des Jardins and Michel Richard, who each cooked up a plate to tribute his or her mentor. Thankfully, the coordinators managed to put up tents over the rink at Rockefeller Center in time for the event – which came in handy when the torrential downpour hit just before 8 o’clock. But let's get to the hangover observations:
1) First we should point out that as is the custom at these pricey tasting events, the place was mobbed. But the organizers were well prepared, there was no shortage of food, and the attendees remained well liquored up throughout the night.
2) Tom Colicchio of Craft was mobbed with Top Chef fans. He hardly had time to get behind his station and cook, what with Daniel Boulud and his camera crew for a French TV documentary showing up to chat. Colicchio’s tribute to Andre Daguin was a delicious duck pastrami with pickled red cabbage and sweet mustard.
3) While Colicchio couldn’t get a chance to work, Jean-Georges Vongerichten did nothing but. He prepared an egg caviar in tribute to Louis Outhier.
4) Numbers of self promotional book displays: 5 (Tommy C's, included)
5) Yes there was a dance floor, a house band, and lighting that was somewhat reminiscent of a roller rink on disco night. When we left at 8:30, there were exactly two people making use of said dance floor.
6) Daniel Boulud’s table was also bustling with activity, as the deadline for applications to join the American team for the Bocuse D’Or arrives on June 30th. With him was Paul Bocuse’s son Jerome, who also serves as vice-president of the Bocuse D’Or USA. Boulud explained that his interest in the competition this year was both out of respect for his mentor Paul Bocuse and in pride for American chefs. Boulud’s dish was a chicken in cream with potato crepes (poularde a la crème, crepe vonnassienne), made in tribute to Georges Blanc.
7) Best dish of the night: the foie gras, lobster and truffle salad made by Traci Des Jardins in tribute to Pierre Troisgros.
8) Tables with the longest lines: Tom Colicchio, Jean-Georges.
9) The press release claims that Kathleen Turner would also be in attendance, but we didn't catch her. A no show perhaps, or fashionably late?