A Chefs Deliver Run with Citymeals on Wheels Reveals the Stories Behind the Benefits
[Note to Subscribers: Toqueland has been a bit dormant recently as I’ve had to focus on an imminent book deadline, but I wanted to share this experience I had a few weeks ago. – AF]
Last month, Citymeals on Wheels staged its annual summer fundraising gala at Rockefeller Center. It was a breezy, temperate evening, and the Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels (as the event is officially known) boasted the mix of high-wattage chefs that has been a hallmark of the occasion, and organization, since not long after Gael Greene and the late James Beard founded it in 1981, inspired by a newspaper article about the homebound elderly. Since then, Citymeals on Wheels has delivered more than 50 million meals to those stranded souls throughout the five boroughs.
The Chefs’ Tribute is one of the charity’s flagship fundraisers, along with the Power Lunch for Women held in the fall (2016 will mark the 30th anniversary), and there are other events throughout the year, such as this week’s dinner at the about-to-shutter The Four Seasons. As with most charities, these happenings are the face of the organization, and the only interaction most of us have with them. We buy our ticket, or affix our media credential, and eat, drink, and socialize. Miss the obligatory comments that take place at some point in the evening, often with the speakers fighting a losing battle over the din of celebration, and you might forget what cause you’re there to support in the first place.
My friend, Bob Grimes, co-president (with Daniel Boulud) of Citymeals, had been after me to see the other face of Citymeals by going on a food delivery run, and I took the occasion of this year’s benefit to arrange to shadow some chefs participating in Chefs Deliver, a program hatched by Boulud and board members Charlie Palmer and Drew Nieporent a few years back to get chefs involved not just in the preparation of food, but also in the delivery of meals….