Chef Daniel Boulud’s Sunday Supper Citymeals on Wheels Gala Returns

Five days after 2020’s memorable Sunday Supper gala to benefit Citymeals on Wheels, held within the Upper East Side’s two-Michelin-starred enclave Daniel, internationally renowned chef Daniel Boulud closed all of his restaurants in response to Covid-19. The $1 million raised from that singular event translated into 127,000 meals prepared and delivered during the pandemic to homebound, aged New Yorkers. This weekend, Sunday Supper and its annual “black tie and blue jeans” dress code returned for a 24th time, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Citymeals. In the kitchen, Boulud’s team was joined by a roster of clever culinary collaborators from across the United States. The result was a flavorful fine dining experience—and $960,000 raised for an organization that is designated as an emergency food preparedness responder.

“Sunday Supper has always been integral to our work,” Beth Shapiro, executive director of Citymeals, explained to Vogue about the hope-filled affair. “Daniel’s been on the board for over two decades, and we put 100% of the donations we receive toward meal preparation and delivery. Daniel and his team did not stop when the pandemic started. They helped us deliver over 280,000 meals to isolated, older New Yorkers. It was possible because of his devotion—and the devotion of Marc Holliday, who we are honoring today.” 

Boulud, a Citymeals board co-president, enthusiastically welcomed guests to his recently renovated restaurant. A cocktail hour before the seated dinner included effervescent Billecart-Salmon Champagne and a tangy red-to-yellow gradient signature cocktail from Tito’s Handmade Vodka, called La Persuasion. Palate pleasing bites began with passed hors d’oeuvres from the likes of Casa Enrique’s chef Cosme Aguilar, who prepared Snake River Farms steak tartare tostadas.

“Sunday Supper always marks the start of spring for us here at restaurant Daniel,” Boulud announced. “We love to embrace seasonal ingredients and flavors for this special cause. The menu always reflects this.” Boulud asked his collaborators to contribute one dish to the night’s multi-course menu, with their overall mission being to deliver nourishment, comfort, and joy. Chef Curtis Duffy, who helms the two-Michelin-starred restaurant Ever in Chicago, concocted an unexpected frozen hamachi dish, with black rice, limes, and Vietnamese herbs. The hamachi thawed during the dining experience, allowing more flavors to emerge and the profile to surprise and delight. A friend of Boulud since 1980, chef Patrick O’Connell of three-Michelin-starred The Inn at Little Washington, served an astounding chartreuse of lobster wrapped in savoy cabbage and dressed in a luscious caviar beurre blanc. 

For the main course, chef Angie Mar of Les Trois Chevaux partnered with Daniel’s executive chef, Eddy Leroux for paired Pennsylvania pheasant plates: the former prepared a pheasant pie; the latter, a roasted pheasant breast. Pastry chef Renata Ameni, of one-Michelin-starred Crown Shy, crafted a coconut cheesecake with pineapple and thyme that acted as a sweet exclamation point to the meal. Though, as attendees have come to expect from dinner at Daniel, the final bites were reserved for the restaurant’s light-as-air Madeleines. “I wanted nothing more than to bring these chef friends together with me,” Boulud added. “This is a tradition. They come from very diverse backgrounds, but they all share a sense of innovation that has played a role in their culinary career and extraordinary cuisine.” 

The 2022 gala honoree, Holliday, may best be known as the chairman and CEO of SL Green Realty Corp, who developed the skyline redefining One Vanderbilt—home to Boulud’s newest restaurant, Le Pavillon, and the voyage-to-infinity attraction, Summit, which features the work of artists Kenzo Digital and Yayoi Kusama. With the onset of the pandemic, Holliday founded the nonprofit Food 1st and funded it with $1 million. Food 1st is already approaching one million meals delivered throughout New York City. Their vision is harmonious with that of Citymeals. 

“What began as a small group of committed New Yorkers—led by Gael Green and chef James Beard—has grown over 40 years into more than anyone could have ever anticipated,” Boulud concluded. “From that first delivery of 6,000 meals on Christmas morning, Citymeals has become the largest nonprofit meals on wheels program in the country. It’s absolutely essential to the fabric of New York.” Citymeals has delivered five million meals since the start of the pandemic. Altogether, they’ve provided more than 65 million since their inception. Thanks to table sponsors like Wonderbon Chocolate Co, and auction items that included a Peter Anton sculpture of Daniel’s madeleines, as well as a Krug and Coravin champagne party for 20, Sunday Supper has been able to contribute more than $12 million over the years. That’s certainly something to celebrate.

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