J. Michael Evans, vice chairman at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., who oversees the firm’s business in emerging markets, last night paid $22,000 for Eric Ripert to cook in his home.
At the Children’s Storefront auction, he also bid a winning $13,000 for brunch at the Red Rooster, honoree Marcus Samuelsson’s restaurant.
(The Ripert price was a comparative bargain: at an April 24 benefit, an unidentified member of the City Harvest board had paid $200,000 for the same privilege.)
In a week when Goldman Chief Executive Officer Lloyd C. Blankfein told CNBC that the board has a successor in mind and hasn’t told that person yet, Evans, sometimes named as a leading candidate for the job, asserted himself on behalf of two New York charities.
At his side was his tall blonde Norwegian wife, Lise Evans, one night wearing St. John, the other Lanvin.
The Lanvin, a pink and red cocktail dress, came out for “A Night for Changing Lives,” the Children’s Storefront benefit at the IAC Building, where Michael, 54, and Lise, 44, were event chairmen (and Michael wore a business suit and a tie with a whale pattern).
The tuition-free independent school, located in four brownstones on East 129th Street in Harlem, teaches 174 students in pre-kindergarten through the eighth grade.
Lise first served the school as a student teacher while earning a master’s degree in English education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. A board member for seven years, she will be installed as board chairwoman in July.
Two days earlier Michael and Lise were co-chairmen with seven other couples, including Heather and Steve Mnuchin, of “An Evening of Practical Magic,” the City Harvest benefit at Cipriani 42nd Street. There the couple sat with Credit Suisse’s Bob Jain, Goldman colleague Henry Cornell, the writer Jay McInerney and Ripert, chef at Le Bernardin.
Michael joined the board of City Harvest last year, having learned about it from Ripert, a City Harvest board member, at whose restaurant he is a frequent customer. One of his favorite dishes is the thinly pounded yellow fin tuna served with foie gras.
“Not too much, not too little, light and beautiful,” Michael said of the dish.
“It was not a question of convincing or recruiting Michael to the board,” Ripert said. “He wanted to do it.”
“City Harvest fits the things that Lise and I are interested in,” Michael said, praising the organization’s executive director, Jilly Stephens. “Ask yourself this: Who writes anything negative about City Harvest? It’s one of the most efficient ecosystems for the redistribution of food.”
An Olympic gold medalist for the Canadian rowing team in 1984, Michael has been described by his former Princeton University teammate John Seabrook as “super, super competitive.”
He said he still rows a single on occasion in Southampton.
Lise, for her part, grew up a skier. Now she likes to kick box. Her goal as chairwoman, she said, is to expand collaborations with Harlem Children’s Zone, the Studio Museum in Harlem and other institutions in the neighborhood.
Also this week: Jim Berk, CEO of Participant Media, joined the lead singer of Train, Pat Monahan, former New York Ranger Mike Richter and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to support Riverkeeper. Susan Sarandon and Padma Lakshmi also attended.
Berk said the documentary about hunger by chef and Craft restaurateur Tom Colicchio and filmmaker Lori Silverbush will be released in early 2013.
Sir John Soane’s Museum in London held a benefit at 583 Park where art dealer Angela Westwater chatted with the Met Museum Greek and Roman art curator Carlos A. Picon. In the same venue, Mario Cuomo gave a tribute to his wife, Matilda Cuomo, on behalf of the SLE Lupus Foundation, which increased the revenue at its Bag Ladies Luncheon to $250,000 from $183,000.
Venetian Heritage lured its supporters with Tilda Swinton and Richard Gere. And at the Whitney Museum of American Art, choreographer Sarah Michelson received the Bucksbaum Award, a $100,000 grant bestowed on an artist in the biennial, named after and endowed by Melva Bucksbaum, a museum trustee. Michelson, the second female to receive the award in 12 years, will also get her own exhibition at the Whitney.
(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)