The annual Careers through Culinary Arts Program (C-CAP) benefit took place last month and raised over $1,000,000 for culinary training and educational programs for underserved youths. The annual grand tasting took place on February 28 and raised over $1,000,000 to support C-CAP, a national non-profit that provides underserved high school students with education and career opportunities through the culinary arts.
The man of the hour, Chef José Andrés of ThinkFoodGroup, brought to the table a 48 Month cured ham from the legendary free range, acorn-fed, black-footed Ibérico pigs of Spain. This 17-lb. pig cost a mere $1,200. Sound like a lot of meat? Well in the restaurant this wouldn’t even last a week. This traditional dish is most typically served with some bread and tomato during breakfast and lunch.
The impressive chairs for this year’s benefit, Ken Himmel, President & CEO of Related Urban, C-CAP Board Co-Chair and chef Marcus Samuelsson, and C-CAP Founder Richard Grausman presented the C-CAP Honors Award to Andrés, an award granted to individuals within the culinary industry for exceptional leadership and achievements.
Almost as important as the cause was the incredible food served. Elior North America was the lead sponsor of the event that showcased cuisine from an all-star lineup of New York City’s hottest chefs and restaurateurs, including José Andrés, Marcus Samuelsson, Abram Bissell, Daniel Boulud, Aaron Bludorn, Markus Glocker, Alfred Portale, and Michael White; as well as C-CAP alumni Yvan Lemoine of Union Fare, and Brother Luck of Four by Brother Luck, Colorado Springs, CO. More than 60 New York City C-CAP high school students and alumni, eager to put their mark on the culinary world, assisted the chefs, with 25 more alumni serving as event ambassadors.
Standout dishes of the night included:
- The man of the hour, José Andrés of ThinkFoodGroup, brought to the table a 48 Month cured ham from the legendary free range, acorn-fed, black-footed Ibérico pigs of Spain. This 17lb pig cost $1,200 and took 48 months to cure. Sound like a lot of meat? Well in the restaurant this wouldn’t even last a week. This traditional dish is most typically served with a die of bread and tomato or during breakfast and lunch.
- The Alaskan Salmon en croûte à la Paul Bocus by C-CAP Alum Yvan Lemoine of Union Fare. Many New Yorker’s have been to Union Fare but few are lucky enough to see this particular culinary masterpiece that was served. In laymen’s terms, it was a full salmon encased in a puff pastry. The chef explained the tedious process. Start with stock with lobster shells along with thyme, onions, bay leaf and carrots, letting it sit 24 hours at a low simmer. Strain and reduce the shit (exact words) out of the liquid. Next comes heavy cream, salt, pepper and herbs. This is then pureed and put over a salmon. A puff pastry is rolled out flat and the salmon is placed on top and then egg washed. Finally the pastry is wrapped around the salmon completely and additional egg wash is painted on the outside of it. Then it’s time to cook it all and devour.
- Asiate, a Mandarin Oriental restaurant, served a super easy to eat and light dish that was both sweet and savory. The Whipped Foie Gras had the consistency of you guessed it, whipped cream, and was placed atop lychee in the form of gelatin.
- The Clocktower restaurant from British Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton and acclaimed restaurateur Stephen Starr served a braised daikon orange, carrot tartare. If you have to eat healthy, make it a masterpiece.
- Chef Thomas Chen of Tuome created a colorful beet tartare with five spices. The beets were sweet and the spiced yogurt provided balance. Flashed dried puffed quinoa, cashews and dried cranberries with lemon vinaigrette added even more flavoring. At this stand I ran into Chef Carla Hall Black and she was already back for seconds. Enough said!
- The presentation was simple with this Sashimi Salad but the freshness and flavors spoke volumes. Not a surprise since it came from the notable Nobu.
- Estiatorio Milos, a stylish Greek restaurant, served Wild Mediterranean lavraki baker in sea salt with steamed greens. I’m not always a fan of greens, but I was happy to let this fish swim with them.
- Nueske’s bacon with peanut butter and jalapeño jelly was presented by Delfin Jaranilla of Quality Eats. The smell of bacon permeated the room and it was clearly one of the most popular dishes.
Be sure to join for the next C-CAP events!
– Lauren Wire