April Bloomfield really wanted to be a cop in Birmingham, England.
Fortunately for food, she missed the deadline for applying and wound up cooking instead. Her gastropub, New York’s Spotted Pig, earned her a coveted Michelin star in 2005, a year after it opened.
She also has foodies queuing up for her one-dish wonders at charity fundraisers. Bloomfield has used her cooking to help raise money for Share, a nonprofit that supports women with breast or ovarian cancer. She also donates time to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer. Based in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, it helps fund childhood-cancer research projects.
“As a cook, it’s ingrained in you that you’re born with this talent, and that you like to share food,” said Bloomfield, 37, by phone.
Monday night, she’ll cook for one of her favorites, Groove With Me, at its 8th annual “Tap & Tapas” fundraiser at Studio 450 in Manhattan. The New York-based charity, which seeks to raise about $200,000 of its $400,000 budget at the one-night tasting, provides free dance classes for at-risk and underprivileged girls.
Bloomfield will join other star chefs such as the Bravo network’s “Top Chef” judge and restaurateur Tom Colicchio; North End Grill’s Floyd Cardoz; pastry chef Shelly Acuna of the Michelin-starred Aldea in New York; and Missy Robbins of A Voce. Groove With Me board member Lori Silverbush (who is also Colicchio’s wife) introduced Bloomfield to the charity.
“April Bloomfield is a big name among chefs, and when you say she’s cooking, people will come to the event because they love her food,” Abby McCreath, Groove With Me’s executive director, said by phone.
Bloomfield has become a presence in the New York culinary scene with her growing restaurant empire, which also includes the one-Michelin-starred Breslin Bar & Dining Room in New York’s Ace Hotel and her seafood temple, the John Dory Oyster Bar.
She became an author this month with the publication of her first cookbook, “A Girl and Her Pig: Recipes and Stories” (Ecco, $29.99).
The 333-page book mixes stories about her culinary experiences with her exquisite and edgy recipes such as baked lamb’s head (with eyes, brains and tongue intact), beef and Bayley Hazen cheese pie, and crab trifle. A roasted veal shanks recipe was inspired by one of her idols, Italian cuisine master Marcella Hazan.
“I wanted to incorporate stories about people in my family and things that inspired me and made me the person I am,” she said. “I wanted the book to be slightly more personal than just a restaurant book.”
At “Tap & Tapas,” Bloomfield will serve green pea and ham soup, a recipe from her book. To elevate its flavor, her rendition includes creme fraiche, white wine and a pinch of mint leaves.
Bloomfield said she’s also looking forward to watching Groove With Me’s young dancers perform with Emmy Award-winning choreographer Jason Samuels Smith.
“When you see the girls dancing, and they’re all excited, you absorb that,” Bloomfield said. “You realize that it means just as much to you as it does to them.”
(Groove With Me’s “Tap & Tapas” fundraiser is Monday at Studio 450, 450 W. 31st St. in Manhattan from 6:30 to 9. Tickets begin at $175. Information: http://taptapas2012.charityhappenings.org)
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