Wednesday, November 08, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Holds Annual Food and Wine Gala at Metropolitan Club

Ulla Parker, Paul Kanavos, Kalliope Karella and Diandra Douglas-Imp
All photos Lieba Nesis - click images for full size views

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) held its annual Food and Wine Gala on November 7, 2017 with cocktails beginning at 6:30 PM at the splendid Metropolitan Club. The inclement weather was not a deterrent to all the illustrious guests who came out to support this incredibly pivotal cause including: Dayssi and Paul Kanavos, Kalliope Karrela, Ulla Parker, Janna Bullock, Jean Shafiroff, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Paola Bacchini and Arnie Rosenshein, Frederick Anderson and so many others.

Jean Shafiroff and Penny Grant

The mission of the organization is to respond to the complex needs of abused and neglected children by providing counseling, legal and educational services. Tonight I was invited by Dr. Penny Grant, a pediatrician who loves children and has steadfastly supported this charity for years.

Deborah Norville

Tonight's emcee, anchor of "Inside Edition" Deborah Norville, who has been hosting this dinner for a decade, was luminous in a green Badgley Mischka gown. She spoke movingly about the 244 kids a day who are abused in New York City.

Nina Zagat

Her husband of 30 years, Karl Wellner has been Vice President of the Board for the past 6 years and this is their favorite charity. Karl said the secret to a happy marriage was to compromise and learn you can't always win. Some other attendees who have a wonderful marriage were Nina and Tim Zagat of the "Zagat" guide who held a fascinating conversation with Norville as to how they got started in the food industry.

Kathleen Giordano and Katlean de Monchy

The Zagats who have been married 52 years said they started off as practicing lawyers with the hobby of keeping track of what their friends thought of particular restaurants. After years of compiling the information they approached numerous publishers about comprising a guide.

Lee Fryd, Flo Anthony, Lori Snyder and Wendy Neuss

The publishers unanimously hated the idea saying the public wanted to hear from experts not average people and wouldn't want a thin book leading the Zagats to publish their own guidebook.  The Zagats guide expanded to 90 cities covering movies, music and theater and was bought by Google six years ago.

Kalliope Karella, Jennifer Creel and Dori Cooperman

Tim Zagat said the best meal he and his wife had was at a small two star Michelin rated restaurant off the coast of Normandy where they enjoyed lamb, lobster, cheeses and souffle. "I can still taste the food forty years later," Mr. Zagat remarked, a sentiment that had me anxiously anticipating tonight's delightful meal prepared by culinary star Michael Ferraro.

Paola Bacchini, Peter Thomas Roth, Janna Bullock, Frederick Anderson and Eva Lorenzott

Ferraro is a "culinary philanthropist" who provides free cooking to numerous charities. He recounted how lucky he felt to go from being a line chef cooking at Jean Georges at the age of 21 to being able to give back.

Kimberly Guilfoyle

Ferraro said cooking was all about making people happy and tonight I felt giddy after sampling his truffle squash dish and delightful pear dessert. I also heard the lobster and duck dishes were delectable with wines provided by Abbona, Baer and La Scolca Winery.

Bettina Zilkha, Arnie Rosenshein, Marcy Warren and Martin Gruschka

However, it was now to time to get down to business with Brit Harry Santa-Olalla imploring the attendees to help these abused children by donating money to fund programs for them. In fact tonight I learned one out of four girls and one out of six boys are sexually abused before the age of 18-a horrifying statistic.

Antonio Vendome and Candida Larea

Thankfully, this was a generous audience and David Stack, President of the NYSPCC, announced that over $700,000 was raised to help these victims. As the evening concluded guests headed home with an updated Zagat guide and some incredible memories.




- Lieba Nesis

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