On Wednesday, March 4th, Edison Ballroom was transformed. Restaurants and chefs from the top spots in New York City came together to support the Bronx Academy of Letters at their annual Chefs’ Tasting Benefit, turning the two-story ballroom into a charitable foodie haven, hosted by celebrity co-hosts Anthony Bourdain and James Patterson.
As soon as the venue’s doors opened, sights and smells of bites and drinks drew in guests by the droves. World-renowned restaurants like Del Posto, Spotted Pig, and Momofuku each served different samples of menu items, inviting guests to taste their respective fares. From apps to desserts – and of course cocktails in between – all courses were covered, delighting the pallets of those who came to support the school. The event’s program featured performances from the students and speeches from Bronx Academy’s enthusiastic principal, its impressive valedictorian, and celebrity co-hosts of the night, Anthony Bourdain and James Patterson. Bourdain has been a supporter of the school since its opening in 2003, and credited the institution for its immense academic success. His end goal? To end up in front of a classroom at the Bronx Academy of Letters, continuing to be inspired by the students and the school’s tremendous continuing impact. To a room of captivated attendees, he remarked, regarding his dreams post cooking, “I don’t want to go fishing, I don’t want a hunting lodge, fuck golf. When all this TV shit is over I’d like to teach creative writing, nonfiction writing—I’d even teach jiujitsu—I’d like to teach.” Bourdain spent the evening mingling with guests and students, making his passion for the cause undeniably clear.
In addition to Bourdain, the Bronx Academy drew many supporters who raised funds for the school. Together, a silent auction and a live auction (hosted by the delightful C.K. Swett) allowed guests to bid on items ranging from a week vacation on Lake Como in Italy, to autographed sports memorabilia, to individual donations to the school. Teachers, sponsors, and community members all sipped and nibbled while raising funds for a public institution whose success is truly notable. A worthwhile cause and evening, indeed.
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