22 April 2009

BACKSTAGE PASS: Food Bank Can-Do Awards 2009

Food and celebrities united for a good cause made for a fine evening yesterday.

Since it was a glitzy fundraiser for the Food Bank For New York City attended by many consciously skinny people, the emphasis wasn't necessarily on the dinner. I, however, couldn't be so easily distracted and caught this appetizer waiting for CEO Lucy Cabrera in our volunteer's lounge. Without the benefit of a menu, I can only tell you that it was a breaded , fried jumbo shrimp on top of a bed of shredded carrot and a plantain crisp. Some sort of risotto formed the base. I appreciated the orange sauce on the plate, the official color of the Food Bank. I will have to dig deeper with my informants at the organization for the exact description.

For the main, a seared piece of white fish served alongside baby leak or a steak with potato purée was the choice. Neither looked particularly interesting, and I'm suspicious of the kitchen's ability to cook such finicky proteins for a few hundred people at a time. Fish and steak are so easily overcooked, and judging by the paste-y, wilted vegetables accompanying the meat, it was probably inevitable in this case.

At any fundraiser it's well recommended to keep the booze flowing in order to open up people's wallets. Can-Do did not skimp in this regard. Every moment of the 6pm-1am event featured not only an open bar, but roving waiters with wine and pre-mixed cocktails. The Food Network hosted a dessert buffet which I did not witness. Sweets never hold my attention. The accompanying champagne, however, I was sad to miss.

I enjoyed spotting Bill Clinton (who showed up at 11pm dead tired, not his usual self), Anthony Bourdain (doting heavily on his wife, Ottavia Busia), Mario Batali (the life of the party), Tom Collicchio, Anne Burrell, Susie Fogelson, Katie Lee Joel, Emeril Lagasse, Jimmy Fallon, Isaac Mizrahi, Kenneth Cole, Bono, and Jon Bon Jovi (the honoree of the evening). My more music saavy friends spotted various members of REM. Of course those are only the people recognizable to me. Check out the various paparazzi sites of the event for other famousity:

PR photos
Getty Images

Unfortunately no original photos from this photographer as I was working the event in an official capacity.

Which reminds me, I need a new camera for taking pictures of food - after 4 years of service this one isn't cutting it anymore. Any suggestions?

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