Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ACS Taste of Hope and Per Se

This week has been pretty fun and eventful. On Tuesday, I volunteered with The Good Knife for the American Cancer Society Taste of Hope 2009 benefit gala. There were at least 50 food and liquor vendors showcasing their goodies and hundreds of charitable New Yorkers came out dressed in their finest. Unfortunately I was busy preparing hundreds of mini hor d'eourves and didn't have a chance to take pictures. The event took place at the Metropolitan Pavilion, which is a huge, beautiful event space on the west side. The ACS really went all out and decked the place in purple everything. The music was loud and pumping, people were chatting and downing drinks. I heard breaking glass every 15 minutes or so, which became more frequent as the night wore on. Towards the end of the night, the stream of people passing by my table slowed a bit so I took the opportunity to stroll around the room and try pretty much everything. I really went to town and was juggling multiple plates, wine and trying to shovel food into my mouth while walking from table to table. I think my favorite thing I tried all night was actually wine sorbet...I love wine and I love sorbet....together they are a match made in heaven! I was exhausted by the end, but thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be at such a great event.

On Wednesday, I had an experience every New York foodie dreams of....I met Thomas Keller, toured his kitchen and tried some fabulous bites from Per Se. I went with a friend from class to an event organized by Culinary Insiders....a behind the scenes look at Per Se and cocktail reception, hosted by Chef Keller himself. It wasn't a full dinner by any means, but the hor d'eourves I had were delicious. Some of the most memorable were cheese gougeres, lobster salad, mini BLTs and mini donut holes that I dipped in rich, decadent hot chocolate. The chef took small groups into his kitchen personally and gave the grand tour. His kitchen is immaculately clean and calm. One could not expect any less. The entire design and layout is centered around efficiency and you can really tell he's put so much thought into every aspect, even the location of the dish washing station. It was an incredible experience. My first impressions of the chef were that he comes off extremely intelligent and humble. I was most surprised by that. He sure does have enough accomplishments to be cocky or grandiose, but he really wasn't. I didn't feel that comfortable to ask for a picture with him, but I did snap some paparazzi shots.

Restaurants mentioned:
Per Se
10 Columbus Circle, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10019

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