To mark the R Baby Foundation’s fifth anniversary, founder Andrew Rabinowitz turned to New York’s culinary stars.
Aureole executive chef Marcus Gleadow-Ware agreed to help with the proposed food tasting, as did Gramercy Tavern’s Michael Anthony, who was selected this week by the James Beard Foundation as best New York City chef. Other executive chefs joining the event are Chris Shea of Fishtail by David Burke and Jeremy Bearman of Rouge Tomate.
“I thought the model of a food tasting would be unique for us,” Rabinowitz said in a phone interview. “It will be like a high-end cocktail party.”
A partner and the chief operating officer of hedge fund Marathon Asset Management LP, Rabinowitz, 41, created R Baby in 2006 after his daughter, Rebecca, was misdiagnosed and died eight days after birth at a New Jersey hospital.
Tonight's R Baby Foundation Five Star Food and Wine Gala at New York’s Plaza Hotel has sold all of its 1,000 tickets, priced at $500 and up. The charity has raised about $1.1 million, which includes donations from supporters who aren’t attending the event, Rabinowitz said.
“I’m really humbled by the response we’ve gotten,” he said.
Since its launch, R Baby has raised about $5 million to improve the standard of care for pediatric emergency wards. Its past grantees include University of Maryland Children’s Hospital, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York- Presbyterian and Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Kennedy of Marwood
While patrons sample the chefs’ dishes and wines selected by Per Se sommelier Anani Lawson, Edward Kennedy Jr., son of the late U.S. Senator Edward M. Kennedy, will give the keynote speech. The younger Kennedy is president of Marwood Group LLC, a private-equity firm in New York.
Marathon’s other co-founders, Chief Executive Officer Bruce Richards and Chief Investment Officer Louis Hanover, will receive the foundation’s leadership award. Charles Clarvit, former co-head of BlackRock Alternative Advisors, will introduce them.
Rabinowitz said the event is special for him because it’s connected with his passion for food. His father used to run a restaurant in Manhattan’s East Village in the 1960s before he became a school teacher. As an adult, Rabinowitz took several cooking classes at New York’s Institute of Culinary Education.
“My wife tells me I’m very good,” he said. “I don’t follow recipes. I started becoming friendly with chefs, and they would show me what they’re doing, and one thing led to another.”
Rabinowitz said he hopes the money raised eventually will transform the way infants are cared for in hospitals. One of his goals is to encourage the adoption of a simulation training program for doctors handling newborns, which R Baby funded at the Yale School of Medicine. More than 40 hospitals use the program today, he said.
“The pain of the loss of my child never goes away,” said Rabinowitz, the father of 3 sons. “I am much more neurotic about my children. You become much more protective of them.”
(Waiting-list information for tonight's R Baby Foundation’s Five Star Food and Wine Gala: +1-646-278-6735 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
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