City Harvest’s “Drive In” Auction Scores Big For 4 Million New Yorkers

The October 18 City Harvest BID event was a serious win for New York City. On the heels of World Food Day (October 16), fashion, music, food, and good will intersected at The Glasshouse, the 75,000 square foot venue that opened in Chelsea in 2021. Not only did many culinary stars of New York City shine, bringing bites and sips that echoed the event’s “drive in” theme, but attendees emptied their pockets in the biggest and best way. According to City Harvest, “$25,000 helps feed 58,139 New Yorkers in need for one day.” Money raised on October 18 will allow the organization and its extensive pipeline continue doing what it does best for four million New Yorkers. Did you just do the math?

In an article this summer, City Harvest CEO Jilly Stephens told Forbes that need is “up 60% over pre-pandemic levels.” The fall tasting BID event is one way to bring the culinary community together and to make significant strides in donations needed to keep food on tables throughout all five boroughs of the city.

The walk-around tasting experience began with a trip down memory lane when guests opened the doors and grabbed their first sip, a “Dreamsicle” made by. After picking up the movie-ticket program guests made their way around the center room, zigzagging between decked out crowds and tasting tables. VIPs then dipped into the GZ (Geoffrey Zakarian) Screening room for more film-related decor and treats. The space was completely transformed with 50s Dive in and Diner decor and vignettes, complete with vintage car structures created by Ed Libby & Co. The classic treats echoed the iconic drive-in era, and were created by over 50 of New York City’s top chefs, restaurants, and mixologists. After touring the center room, if not already in a food coma, guests continued along row after row before hitting the auction room or diner nook, complete with popcorn, cotton candy, and DKNY goody bags. After the auction, the same room quickly became a dance party where performers from On the Move Entertainment donned Barbie-themed attire and danced with the crowd.

At the Auction

With big energy from the Elvis of all chefs, Billy Harris as auctioneer, guests of the event got the chance to bid on four major packages: A Secret Soiree for 10 At Cipriani Club 55 hosted by Chef Geoffrey Zakarian who also serves as the Chair of City Harvest’s Food Council; A Celebration of Caviar for 11 friends at The Fulton by Jean Georges with Executive Chef Noah Poses; Pack Your Knives and Go Top Chef Dinner with Tom Colicchio, Kristen Kish, and Gail Simmons; and lastly, an Emilia-Romagna Immersion Dinner at Rezdora with Chef Stefano Secchi and Chef Andrew Zimmern.

Some of the Bites

If using any movie rating system from thumbs to stars to points, the bites at BID were easily well-above average, generous, not to mention many scoring high on presentation. Some of the most memorable, still-lingering-days-after-the-event bites had to be: perfectly sweet and savory Chicken & Waffle by Melba’s , surprising bite of Truffle Sausage on a charcoal brioche loaf by Madarin Oriental’s, the ultra-charred Roasted Squash with Miso Goat Butter by Zou Zou’s , and Nami Nori’s snap, crackly, pop Vegan Corn Dog Temaki. For sweet bites, Eitan’s Snicker Bites could become an addition; the raspberry rainbow cookies from Zola Bakes were endlessly bright and fun; and pulling out all the stops as usual from taste to presentation with “Glenda the Good Witch” (strawberry champagne) and “Wicked Witch of West” (chocolate mint) cakes was pastry chef extraordinaire, Rob Ben-Israel.

End Note

One of the largest food rescue organizations in the nation, City Harvest began in 1982 and has teams working around the clock to feed New Yorkers everyday. Earlier this year, operations moved the storage facilities to a larger space in Sunset Park, Brooklyn and just last month opened a 10,000 square foot space Called The Venue designed by The Rockwell Group, with Chef Eric Ripert, a longtime CH board member, serving as a design consultant. The Venue will function for events, and serve as a catering and demonstration kitchen.

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