Thomas Keller wore an Isaia suit, and Duff Goldman wore Seven jeans and an ostrich-leather jacket to the Culinary Institute of America Leadership Awards Gala last night.
The event at the Marriot Marquis in Manhattan brought out an eclectic crowd to raise money for scholarships. Guests included financier Mario Gabelli, New York City Education Chancellor Cathie Black, interior designer Adam Tihany, and the chairman and co-chief executive of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Steve Ells.
Modeling his outfit on stage, Goldman, the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” star, confessed he didn’t learn high style from his one-time boss at the French Laundry, where he worked after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley.
Goldman also apologized to Keller for abruptly quitting that job.
“I was making a sweet mission fig puree, beautiful in color, almost lavender,” Goldman said. “I used rice-wine vinegar instead of simple syrup and I got chewed out, and that night I bailed. I’m sorry.”
Goldman made the dessert for the evening: cardamom and pistachio carrot cake, in the shape of the award statue that all the honorees received.
The real statues went to Paul Bocuse, named Chef of the Century, and Daniel Boulud as Chef of the Year. Tim Ryan, the president of the Culinary Institute, said many trends today can be traced to Bocuse. To illustrate, he produced a photograph of Bocuse showing the rooster tattoo on his arm.
Le Bernardin Inc. executive chef Eric Ripert, in his toast to Boulud, said one of his nicknames is “the Energizer Rabbit.” Ripert continued: “When we’ve been partying with our friend, he is so often saying, ‘Oh c’mon, it’s only 5 a.m.”
Richard Marriott, the chairman of Host Hotels & Resorts Inc. and president of the Richard E. & Nancy P. Marriott Foundation, was the only non-chef receiving an award. Still he proudly noted his food-service experience.
“I spent my teen years working in hot shops,” Marriott said, referring to the restaurants that grew out of his father’s curbside food stand.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)