Last night was quite a night for Autism Speaks. More than 100 of the nation’s finest chefs put on a culinary extravaganza at the Autism Speaks to Wall Street: 5th Annual Celebrity Chef Gala at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City and was sponsored by Susan and Steven Wise of KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation, Charmz 4 Charity and Puzzlebuilder among other top sponsors. The annual fundraising event – which can easily be described as a foodie paradise – brought together the biggest names in the restaurant world for an amazing evening that raised $1.6 million for Autism Speaks’ research and advocacy initiatives.
The event was emceed by NBC’s “Minute to Win It” host and Food Network personality Guy Fieri, and co-hosted by CBS “60 Minutes” correspondent Lesley Stahl and Lee Brian Schrager of Southern Wine and Spirits of America. It featured a cocktail reception, auction and the unique experience of four-course tableside cooking by nationally acclaimed chefs such as Bravo’s “Top Chef” lead judge Tom Colicchio (Colicchio & Sons); Franklin Becker (Abe & Arthur’s, Catch and Lexington Brass); Todd English (ÇaVa Brasserie); Masaharu Morimoto (MORIMOTO); Wylie Dufresne (WD-50); Terrance Brennan (Artisanal, Picholine); Food Network’s “Chopped All-Stars” champion Nate Appleman (Chipotle) and “Iron Chef” winner Katsuya Fukushima (Daikaya Restaurant). Autism Speaks Co-founders Suzanne and Bob Wright served as the evening’s honorary co-chairs and Jennifer and Franklin Becker, Susan and Philip Harris, Alison and Duncan Niederauer, and Suzanne and Shawn Rubin served as the event co-chairs.
Highlights from the event include Guy calling Autism Speaks President Mark Roithmayr and KRG Chairman Steven Wise onstage for a “Minute to Win It” contest of stacking apples. Wise wowed the crowd by balancing five apples in about three seconds for the victory! Guests were also treated to a special performance by Rex Lewis-Clack, a young pianist and vocalist who is faced with the challenges of blindness and autism, and opera singer Sam McElroy, who has been coaching Rex on his singing. Introduced by his friend Lesley Stahl, Rex captivated everyone in attendance and received numerous standing ovations. It was a truly masterful performance that equaled the efforts of the illustrious chefs who graciously donated their time and talents to Autism Speaks on a wonderful evening.
The Autism Speaks to Wall Street: Fourth Annual Celebrity Chef Gala was held on Monday, October 4, 2010 and raised over $1.6 million in support of Autism Speaks. The event was held at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street, in the heart of the city’s Financial District and was sponsored by Susan and Steven Wise of KRG Children’s Charitable Foundation, SeaMiles and Puzzlebuilder. The grand venue served as a fitting backdrop for a spectacular evening that featured over 100 chefs preparing four-course meals and dessert tableside. Over 600 guests were treated to the culinary showcases of some of the of the nation’s most renowned chefs, including Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio (Colicchio & Sons); Franklin Becker (Executive Chef & Event Co-chair); Terrance Brennan (Artisanal & Picholine); Wylie Dufresne (WD-50) and Masaharu Morimoto (MORIMOTO).
The evening was hosted by Charlie Trotter, Executive Chef and Owner of Charlie Trotter’s, and CNBC’s Donny Deutsch. Guests enjoyed the musical talents of singer-songwriter Kyle Cousins, an extraordinary young musical artist who expresses through song what life is like living with autism, along with The Great Chefs Band starring Tom Colicchio, Phil Roy, Marc Vetri and Jonathan Waxman. The event included a silent and live auction featuring one of a kind culinary and vacation packages. Guests were also able to support “Fund a Cure,” a bidding event which raised funds for research dedicated to finding a link to autism through environmental factors. The event was co-chaired by Jennifer & Franklin Becker, Susan & Philip Harris, Susan & Kevin Murray, Alison & Duncan Niederauer and Suzanne & Bob Wright.