On Tuesday, November 17th Chef Francois Payard and Chef Julian Medina, two dear friends of mine, came together for a magical evening at Delicatessen. Together, we prepared an intimate, 5 course dinner benefiting Pancan, an organization that is very special to my family & I. Each chef prepared refined dishes based on the flavors of their favorite family recipes....
Just like millions of Americans, my family has been affected by this horrible disease. It’s an honor for me to be cooking for a cause like this and to be able to help those facing this disease and their families in any way I can.
Lusgarten is a really special charity to me. After my mom being diagnosed for pancreatic cancer in 2005, this is an organization that my family and I turned to to get as much information about this disease that we did not know much about at the time. I’m proud to say that over the years I’ve been able to raise significant amounts of money through competitions and fundraisers for this organization.
The chef community is a very tight knit group. I believe that chefs understand one another’s struggles within the industry with balancing the high stress environment at work with their personal struggles. A close chef friend of mine of many years has a son that is autistic and reached out to me to be a part of the annual Autism Speaks Chef Gala and also to create special promotions at my restaurant where proceeds go to the organization. I’ve been involved since that day and am honored to be a part of an annual 1 night event that takes place here in Manhattan that has raised over $1.5 million each year.
This is an organization I got involved with from dear friend and world renowned Italian Chef Cesare Casella. Through the Da Vinci Master Chef Program, I develop recipes utilizing their organic farm ingredients and teach those recipes to the chefs at the center that provide therapy and nourishment for the residents.
In 2015, I paired up with PanCan, the leading pancreatic cancer charity and information center, Meals to Heal, and pharmaceutical company, Celgene, to create a nutrition program that fits the dietary needs of a patient battling pancreatic cancer. The campaign is called Cooking Comfort Care. This program is very special to me in many ways. Not only can I help people facing this disease now, but it also enabled me to tell my personal story how my mother and family were affected by this cancer.