This past Friday night the legendary Rainbow Room soared and lit up with one of the most colorful events of the year. The culinary community came out in full force for The JBF Gala: A Night of Award Winners.
The lovely Susan Ungaro was honored for her extraordinary leadership as the Foundation’s president since 2006. The James Beard Foundation’s annual fall gala and fundraiser featured an once-in-a-lifetime collaborative dinner by a distinguished lineup of James Beard Award–winning chefs and beverage professionals.
Guests enjoyed an elaborate cocktail hour before the dinner that created applause and cheer for the beloved foundation. Divine cocktails by bar director William Elliott of JBF Award winner Maison Premiere, Brooklyn, NY were featured and sipped by the VIP crowd as they enjoyed music by the Hot Club of Flatbush band.
Among the chefs who created the menu for the reception and dinner were Lidia Bastianich and Fortunato Nicotra (Felidia, NYC); Barbara Lynch (Barbara Lynch Gruppo, Boston); Jonathon Sawyer (The Greenhouse Tavern, Cleveland); Michael Solomonov (Zahav, Philadelphia); and Mathew Woolf (Rainbow Room, NYC). JBF Award-winning sommelier Larry Stone curated the evening’s wines.
More than 250 guests were in attendance to enjoy the festivities including JBF Board of Trustees members Christy Brown, Peter Cameron, Jill Greenthal, Trevor Guthrie, Eric Kessler, John Kessler, Emily Luchetti, Nancy Lukitsh, Cindy McLoughlin, Richard Perlman, David Rivkin, Frederic Seegal, and John Washko, as well as JBF Award winners Paul Bartolotta, Daniel Boulud, Marion Nestle, and Art Smith.
At the start of the sit-down dinner, a sneak peek from “30 years: A Celebration of the James Beard Foundation,” a special premiering on the ABC Television Network on November 26, was shown. At the end of the evening JBF board chair Frederic Seegal and JBF board chair emeritus Emily Luchetti addressed the attendees.
“For the past 11 years, we have had the remarkable good fortune to have Susan help us realize our full potential as a major force for positive change in the culinary industry,” said Seegal. “It is because of her extraordinary leadership that we are so well positioned for decades to come and recognized as the foremost culinary arts organization in the world.”
“Perhaps most meaningful to all of us has been Susan’s dedication to the mission of the James Beard Foundation and the vast culinary community the organization serves,” added Luchetti. “Likely a daunting task to many, Susan built and nurtured close relationships with many of the country’s leading chefs and restaurateurs, step by step building trust and faith in her vision for the James Beard Foundation to serve and support the amazing people who make up our great American culinary community.”
Hosted by celebrity auctioneer Billy Harris, the live auction offerings included “A Glamorous Taste of Argentina,” a six-night, unique package for two in the wine country of Mendoza and cultural experiences in Buenos Aires; “An Insider’s Private Maui Getaway,” a seven-night exclusive getaway for two at Hotel Wailea; “The Gramercy Tavern Chef Alumni Dinner,” a dinner for 22 featuring an unforgettable meal prepared by JBF Award winner Michael Anthony and Gramercy Tavern alumni; “Your Starr-Studded Dinner Party,” a remarkable James Beard House dinner for 40 featuring JBF Award winner Stephen Starr, Daniel Rose, Daniel Skurnick, and more. The silent and live auction packages raised almost $240,000 to support the James Beard Foundation’s mission and programs.
The Super Silent items included a four-night stay at the world-renowned Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman and tickets to the tenth-annual Cayman Cookout hosted by JBF Award–winning chef Eric Ripert and friends, including JBF Award winners José Andrés, Rick Bayless, Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain, Sean Brock, Dominique Crenn, Robert Irvine, Emeril Lagasse, Michael Mina, and Alfred Portale; a lavish 18-course dinner at Thomas Keller’s restaurant French Laundry; and an eight-course dinner for 12 by the Rainbow Room’s chefs, paired with wines from the private cellar, and served in the exclusive private dining room with 270-degree views of the city.
The dinner concluded with a call for pledges to support the next generation of culinary leaders through the JBF National Scholars Program, which awards scholarship support of up to $20,000 to students in each of the ten regions as defined by the James Beard Awards, as well as the Women’s Leadership Programs, which provide mentoring and internship opportunities for female chefs. Ahmass Fakahany of Altamarea Group and Steven Elkes and Josh Elkes of the Elkes Family Foundation together generously contributed a matching gift of $40,000, resulting in more than$100,000 raised in support of these important initiatives.
The evening also included spectacular passed sweets and dessert stations by pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira (Daniel, NYC) and host chef Mathew Woolf (Rainbow Room, NYC), who each presented a magnificent array of treats, including Mille-Feuille Kumbawa with Apple Confit; Salted Pistachio–Praliné Cubes; Concorde Pear with Vermicelli–Roasted Chestnuts; Flourless Bolivia Chocolate Cake with Cranberry–Spicebush Geleé; Espresso Tart with Candied Pistachios; Pumpkin-Spiced Latte Lollipops; and an Ice Cream Sundae Bar Station. Throughout the after-dinner reception, guests enjoyed their desserts between sips of Kracher Trockenbeernauleslese, as well as coffee graciously provided by La Colombe.
The JBF Gala: A Night of Award Winners was sponsored by Gourmet Settings, La Colombe®, and Saratoga Spring Water. The 2017 JBF Gala supporter is Chefwear.
Founded in 1986, the James Beard Foundation celebrates, nurtures, and honors chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse, and sustainable for everyone. A cookbook author and teacher with an encyclopedic knowledge about food, the late James Beard was a champion of American cuisine. He helped educate and mentor generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts, instilling in them the value of wholesome, healthful, and delicious food. Today JBF continues in the same spirit by administering a number of diverse programs that include educational initiatives, food industry awards, scholarships for culinary students, publications, chef advocacy training, and thought-leader convening. The Foundation also maintains the historic James Beard House in New York City’s Greenwich Village as a “performance space” for visiting chefs. For more information, please visit jamesbeard.org.
Ultimate Power Lunch – UN Women For Peace Association Hosts Star-Studded Celebration
This was not another ladies who lunch moment in the Big Apple. This was the best power lunch this season and it was all for a phenomenal cause.
On May 3, hundreds of attendees gathered inside the grand of hall of Casa Cipriani for the UN Women For Peace Association Annual Awards Luncheon. The afternoon was graced with an uplifting and harmonious affair that was one for the history books. In this moment in history the gratitude and love that filled the room was deeply appreciated and revered. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo, Christian Elliott, The Honorable Joanne King Herring, Vicki Hollub, and Kevin Hyland OBE were all respectfully honored by UNWFPA for achievements that have been the touchstone of change in modern times.
Rosanna Scotto of FOX 5’s, Good Day New York emceed the delightful day that showcased the incredible strength of the women who were celebrated. Sitting over lunch, the crowd took in moving performances in between speeches that brought forth an equal amount of tears, laughter and inspiration. Wendy Moten sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow and country star Drew Baldridge sang his original song She’s Somebody’s Daughter.
As each award was presented the crowd was uplifted to their feet and applauded. It was a fitting tone for the harmonious event that made each guest realize the truly powerful mission statement of the organization.
Moments like when actress and SAG-AFTRA President, Fran Drescher, made the keynote address made the men and women in the room listen with awe. Sharing her personal story of rape survival, she brought to attention the much needed work that continues to be needed around the world.
The advocate stated with direct determination about her work with the group along with SAG-AFTRA, “We support the UN Trust Fund to end violence against women and girls as well as our own initiatives to impact national necessary changes in this area. We are committed to the prevention of violence against women and girls in the provision of services to those affected by violence. Just read from the implementation of laws and policies against violence, and to the empowerment of women and girls and societies where they’re under advantaged. This year we are launching an aggressive generational campaign called counting on men as we believe, without addressing men and boys, we will continue to fail to make progress on the issues related to violence against women and girls.”
A key highlight of the lunch was when UNWFPA President Rema DuPont presented a posthumous Legacy Award to UNWFPA Founder, Dame Muna Rihani Al-Nasser. Her husband H.E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al- Nasser, with their son, Aziz Al-Nasser in the audience, accepted the award in her honor.
“UN Women for Peace Association will continue to support women and girls with our new Muna Rihani Al-Nasser Scholarship Fund for educating at-risk and underprivileged girls,” stated Rema.
Luncheon Co-Chairs were H.E. Sheikha Paula al Sabah, H.R.H. Princess Camilla of Bourbon of Two Siciles, Duchess of Castro, Susan Gutfreund, Leila Heller, Francine LeFrak, Pat Kerr Tigrett, and Regional Chairs include Countess Bérengère de Pontac, Genesis Jones, Annie Joubran, Youngsong Martin, Melissa Metz, Suzan Lee Park, Dr. Christina Rahm-Thomas, and Clayton Thomas. Guests included Reagan and Doug Bauer, Rita Cosby, Amanda Diaz, Kat Graham (award presenter), AnnaLynne McCord with Benjamin W. Decker, Denise Schwartz and Marc Rosen, Barbara Tober, as well as UNWFPA Board of Directors Michal Grayevsky (Treasurer), Valbona Neritani, and Anne Marie Dougherty.
Other notable honorees included Ambassador Rosemary A. DiCarlo received the Leadership Award for her decades of work as a peacekeeper and an advocate for women’s rights. In 2018 DiCarlo became the first woman to assume the position of Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs at the United Nations. DiCarlo has served at the United States Department of State as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and represented the United States at the Security Council, General Assembly and other United Nations bodies. Past recipients of this award include First Lady of Panama, Lorena Castillo Garcia de Varela, Deborra-Lee Furness, Secretary-General H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon.
The Honorable Joanne King Herring received the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding achievements and years of work to end human trafficking and for helping survivors, which are disproportionately women and children. Herring is a political activist, philanthropist, diplomat, and former television talk show host. While she was born in a world where women had limited choices, she rose to form the most significant alliance that brought an end to the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan and saved America from an economic catastrophe. Long known within the corridors of power in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, Herring’s freedom fighting role in southwest Asia was brought to a wider American audience when the true-life 1980s story of Charlie Wilson’s War was retold in 2007, with Oscar winning actress Julia Roberts playing the remarkable Herring. Past recipients of this award include Eve Branson, Loreen Arbus, and Francine LeFrak.
Kevin Hyland OBE received the Advocacy Award for his remarkable contributions to ending violence against women and girls everywhere. Hyland dedicated over 30 years to public service, including leading London’s Human Trafficking Unit. Hyland was appointed as the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner and was elected as Ireland’s representative to the Council of Europe Independent Group of Experts for Trafficking. He was instrumental in the establishment and remains chief advisor to the Santa Marta Group, a high-level partnership between law enforcement agencies, faith groups and civil society launched by Pope Francis at the Vatican. He leads several international anti trafficking projects chairing the Responsible Recruitment Group of the Institute of Human Rights and Business and the Island of Ireland Human Trafficking Project and provides strategic leadership to the OSCE in producing global victim support guidance.
Vicki Hollub received the Humanitarian Award for her outstanding achievements in rescuing over 500 girls, and their families, by bringing them safely from Afghanistan to Portugal. Hollub was the first woman to head a major American oil company as President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum. She also serves on the boards of Lockheed Martin and the American Petroleum Institute, and is a stewardship board member for the World Economic Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Energy and Material, and a member of the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative. Past recipients of this award include Leyla Ilham Aliyeva, Dayle Haddon, HRH Princess Camilla of Bourbon Two Sicilies, and Paul Bettany.
Christian Elliott received the Media Award for his heroic efforts to end modern-day slavery. Elliot created the global campaign to combat human trafficking, entitled Can you see me?. The campaign reached millions of people, equipping the general public to recognize indicators of human trafficking, and report suspected scenarios. Elliot is Global Development Officer of A21, a nonprofit organization works to end in human trafficking, with offices in 14 countries worldwide.
This was truly one lunch that will never be forgotten.
‘The Hollywood Reporter’ Hosts ‘Raising Our Voices: Setting Hollywood’s Inclusion Agenda’
The Hollywood Reporter hosted the inaugural “Raising Our Voices: Setting Hollywood’s Inclusion Agenda” luncheon, presented by Walmart at the Maybourne Beverly Hills on Wednesday, April 20th.
“Raising Our Voices” brings together the industry’s most influential and inspiring executives, storytellers and thought-leaders for a groundbreaking series of discussions on the state and future of Hollywood’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) movement.
During the program, keynote speaker Marlee Matlin (Academy Award-winning actor, star of Apple Studios’ 2022 “Best Picture” Oscar-winner CODA and disability advocate) was introduced by Troy Kotsur (2022 “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar-winner, CODA). During the speech, Matlin discussed the lack of representation of the deaf and disabled community within the entertainment industry and the importance of working together to help amplify these authentic and diverse voices.
Additional key moments from the program included:
- Bird Runningwater (producer and global Indigenous activist) and Crystal Echo Hawk (President and CEO at IllumiNative) opened the program and discussed the importance of inclusion.
- Nekesa Mumbi Moody (Editorial Director of The Hollywood Reporter) introduced Geena Davis (Oscar-winning actor, Founder/Chair, The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, The Bentonville Film Festival) who recognized the need for more female inclusion within children and family media and made it her career goal to bring about more diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera.
- Geena Davis introduced Jean Batthany (Walmart Chief Creative Officer) who discussed Walmart’s commitment to driving greater equity and the power of Hollywood to inspire systemic change in society.
- Rebecca Sun (The Hollywood Reporter’s Senior Editor, Diversity and Inclusion) introduced Dr. Yalda Uhls (UCLA assistant adjunct professor and Founder of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers) who shared details regarding data included in the first inclusion report in 2020 and how diversity affects Hollywood production.
- Stacey Wilson Hunt (award-winning entertainment journalist) led the State of Inclusion in Hollywood panel, which included questions posed to Alex Schmider (Director of Transgender Representation, GLAAD), Dr. Sharoni Little (Head of Global Inclusion Strategy at CAA), Gloria Calderón Kellett (writer, producer, director and actor), Latasha Gillespie (Head of Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Amazon Studios, Prime Video and IMDb), Samata Narra (Senior Vice-President, Equity + Inclusion, Content, Warner Bros. Discovery) and Wilmer Valderrama (actor and activist).
- Julie Gehrki (Vice President of Philanthropy, Walmart) and Tony Waller (Vice President, Constituent Relations and Racial Equity, Walmart) discussed Walmart’s efforts to advance racial equity and announced a $1 million grant to the Ghetto Film School to create a storytelling training program for Black businesses in partnership with WOCStar Capital.
- Colleen Bataille (Head of Marketing and Communications, WOCStar Capital) and Ghetto Film School student, Alyse Arteaga discussed how Walmart’s grant allows the organizations to help Black businesses market their companies and secure capital through storytelling, in turn helping to grow their businesses.
- Carlos Lopez Estrada discussed the Ghetto Film School’s mission to teach its students how to use their voices to tell authentic, impactful stories and how the support from Walmart aligns with this mission.
- Richie Siegel (Co-founder and President of Inevitable Foundation) and Nic Novicki (Founder and Director of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge) discussed representation and accommodation for disabled individuals. Novicki also outlined the goals of the Easterseals Disability Film Challenge.
- Heather Rossi (American Sign Language interpreter and chief ASL consultant on CODA), Jack Jason, Justin Maurer and Rorri Burton acted as interpreters during the program.
Additional notable talent in attendance included Amy Landecker, Daniel Durant and Natalie Morales.
Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame Awards Honors Media Trailblazers
It was a night that honored the best in media.
On Thursday, April 14, the Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame Awards took place. The 30th anniversary gala paid tribute to the pioneers, innovators and stars of broadcast, cable, and broadband television.
More than 800 decision makers in the broadcast, cable TV and other media industries gathered in the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City for the memorable evening.
Hannah Storm and Al Roker co-hosted the luxurious soiree that presented the first ever Iconic Network Award to ESPN.
Twelve of the industry’s most notable individuals were inducted into the 2022 Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame during the 30th Anniversary Gala including: Savannah Guthrie – Co-Anchor of TODAY and NBC News Chief Legal Correspondent; Hoda Kotb – Co-Anchor of NBC News’ TODAY and Co-Host of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna; Emily Barr – President & CEO, Graham Media Group; Nomi Bergman – President, Advance/Newhouse Investment Partnership; Brandon Burgess – Former Chairman/CEO ION Media Networks; Susanne Daniels – Media Consultant & Lecturer – Former Global Head of YouTube Originals; Pearlena Igbokwe, Chairman, Universal Studio Group; Leo MacCourtney – President, Katz Television Group; Dan Mason – Past President and CEO, CBS Radio; Steve Miron – Chief Executive Officer, Advance/Newhouse Partnership; Steven R. Swartz – President & CEO, Hearst; and Curtis Symonds – President, HBCU GO TV/Allen Media Group.
During an emotionally empowering speech, Kotb brought the audience to near tears as she spoke about her incredible and inspirational journey to the top of the industry.
“I am grateful to be inducted into the Broadcasting + Cable Hall of Fame,” she proudly told the audience. “This award is to all the women who felt not worthy. You are worth it.”
The entire gala carried the same tone of beautiful and hopeful remarks that gloriously brought dignity to each one of the recipients. A coveted Hall of Fame honor is more than the acknowledgement of a successful career – it’s entry into an exclusive community of honorees that have truly changed the paradigm of the industry.
Previous honorees have included greats like Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil McGraw, Michael Powell, the cast of The View, Robert A. Iger, Dr. John Malone and more.
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