For the 31st Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels, Rockefeller Center was transformed into one huge, charitable fiesta, beautifully crafted by renowned architect and Citymeals Board Member David Rockwell. Over 50 of the world’s greatest chefs gathered and participated in !Que Rico¡ Celebrating Latino Cuisine and Culture: 31st Annual Chefs’ Tribute to Citymeals on Wheels. World renowned chefs who donated their time and efforts included Daniel Boulud, Marc Forgione, and Alfred Portale.
These culinary legends honored the flavors of Latino cooking as they created fabulous dishes at tasting stations throughout the plaza. Each booth was designed and styled to reflect the colorful, rich, and storied history of the Latin community. Along with the spicy, festive, and outstandingly complex variety of food offered, there were also plenty of innovative cocktails, as well as live music from Latin Grammy nominees and dancing.
This event drew over 1,000 individuals, and whether business leaders, gourmet enthusiasts, restaurateurs, chefs, or simply lovers of excellent food, it’s safe to say that everyone had a truly special time. This year, the event raised over $900,000, at least $70,000 more than last year. Most importantly, 100 percent of all proceeds from ticket sales will be used for the preparation and delivery of meals to homebound elderly New Yorkers.
Standout dishes included Masaharu Morimoto’s house roast Peking duck tacos; Alfred Portale’s Argentinian red prawn ceviche with papaya salad; Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s sautéed Maine lobster with corn and romesco sauce; Wolfgang Puck’s “inspired” whole roasted duck, and Andrew Fowles sorrel glazed spare ribs. For dessert, there was Richard Capizzi’s hojiblanca olive oil cake with with lucuma sorbet, ridiculously good choco-tacos filled with banana ice cream dipped in chocolate, Markus Glocker’s coconut flan with crispy coconut and sea salt, and Torres’ unique cherimoya and lucuma ice cream topped with Pisco. Let’s be honest though ― everything was incredible.
Even the crickets I ate were surprisingly fantastic! Crunchy, well seasoned, and definitely something I won’t shy away from again. That said, visually they’re intimidatingly gross.
It was a night of culinary magic. Meeting some of the most talented chefs in the world, like legends Chef Wolfgang Puck and (Iron) Chef Masaharu Morimoto, was pretty surreal! Can’t wait for next year!