Hedge Funders Eat Well While Whitney Museum Raises $5 Million

  • Edible Schoolyard NYC has Wildair, Momofuku chefs cooking
  • Tequila shots and Seal help Whitney mark a year at new home

If you want to avoid envy, don’t ask hedge funders Jason Mudrick or Colin Teichholtz what they had for dinner last night, or, for that matter, Greg Lippmann of "Big Short" fame or designers Lela Rose and Max Osterweis, or Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer.

Their reservations at the fourth annual benefit of Edible Schoolyard NYC meant they had the city’s coolest chefs preparing their meals under a giant Van Wyck & Van Wyck-designed chandelier made of carrots -- not just for bragging rights but to help low-income kids discover healthful and delicious eating. The nonprofit, the local edition of the organization that farm-to-table pioneer Alice Waters created in Berkeley, California, brings gardens and kitchens to public schools, as well as gardening and cooking classes.

Gala with a carrot on top

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jason Mudrick

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

You don’t have to ask Mudrick what he ate because we snagged a copy of his menu by Wildair and Contra’s Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske. It featured a crudo of ’nduja, pineapple, radish and pine nuts; crab with white asparagus; beef short rib with ramps, and a banana, rye and raspberry dessert.

Teichholtz’s meal included cured red snapper with amaranth, seven spice beef brisket and sake ice cream prepared by David Chang, culinary chairman of the benefit.

Cocktail Fountain

Danny Bowien’s cocktail fountain

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Danny Bowien treated Tom Freston and Cary Lowell to a cocktail fountain circulating a mix of gin, coconut milk and kaffir lime on a tiered contraption at their table, as well as prime rib and baked potato, ending with a sundae with colored sprinkles.

At our table, Joseph "JJ" Johnson, executive chef at The Cecil and Minton’s, served a lobster salad with peas and avocado, nestled in the tail, then wheeled up an ice cart for a palate-cleansing coconut, blueberry and pineapple ice, followed by a rich lamb dish.

Johnson’s literally made sparks, drawing the attention of the more than 400 guests, when his diners were given sparklers to illuminate the dessert-making that took place on the table. First, Johnson laid down sheets of aluminum foil, then he painted them with swabs of meringue, blow-torched them, filling the air with the scent of burnt sugar. Some cake slices made with rice came next, then whipped cream and puddles of melted chocolate.

A "Dessert Explosion" at the table of Joseph "JJ" Johnson, executive chef of the Cecil and Minton’s

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Meanwhile, at the Whitney Museum of American Art, $5 million was raised with the aid of tequila shots served right off the elevators as guests entered the column-free, fifth-floor 18,000-square-foot Neil Bluhm Family Galleries. This was the setting for the dinner (lamb by Olivier Cheng) where David Stark decorated the tables with long tubes of light in homage to artist Dan Flavin.

Soulful Troubadour

At the Whitney

Photographer: Zach Hilty/BFA via Bloomberg

The Whitney’s guests included Raymond McGuire, Richard Demartini, and Jim Gordon as well as former Goldmanites Robert Hurst, J. Michael Evans and Henry Cornell. Art stars included Julian Schnabel, Gregory Crewdson, Laurie Simmons, Cindy Sherman, and Fred Wilson. And Seal played the acoustic guitar as he descended the stage to walk around the tables "like a soulful troubadour," said Brooke Garber Neidich. She and Leonard Lauder, Neil Bluhm and Hurst, the man designated as honoree, were saluted on an evening that marked one year of the museum being open in its new Meatpacking District home.

Jon Neidich and Fernanda Niven

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Neidich’s son Jon, the downtown restaurateur (Acme, Tijuana Picnic, Happiest Hour and Slowly Shirley), made it to both Edible Schoolyard and the Whitney’s galas, making him the most enviable? Or maybe that distinction belongs to the two Edible Schoolyard guests who each paid $52,000 in the live auction to "Skip the Line," securing reservations for up to four people at eight restaurants including Noma in Copenhagen and Hartwood in Tulum, Mexico. Foodie passion like that helped the benefit raise more than $1 million.

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