Hampton’s “What’s On The Table?” Charity Event Hosted By Avis & Bruce Richards

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Hampton’s “What’s On The Table?” Charity Event Hosted By Avis & Bruce Richards


On Saturday evening, August 25th, TheBarnYardGroup enjoyed “supporting” a “night to remember”! Attending with philanthropist Melissa Vaske and change-agent Gina Otto, founder of Change My World Now (and author of inspiring children’s book Cassandra’s Angel) we all enjoyed a magical evening with Avis Richards.

Celebrity hosts included Top Chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio and his wife filmmaker Lori Silverbush, rocker Jon Bon Jovi his wife Dorothea Hurley, Susan Burden, and philanthropist Avis Richards and Marathon hedge fund co-founder Bruce Richards hosted the 2nd annual “What’s on the Table?”, an event to benefit the anti-hunger programs of the United Way of New York City. Over $200,000 was raised to benefit UWNYC’s work to reduce hunger and provide more nutritious food for struggling children, families and seniors.

Held at the spectacular Southampton home of TheBarnYardGroup iCooperative partner Avis and Bruce Richards, “What’s on the Table?” emphasized the need not only to help the hungry in New York City access to food in times of emergency but to ensure that food they receive is fresh and nutritious. In keeping with the theme, guests dined on culinary delights from five of Tom Colicchio’s restaurants.

Tom Colicchio, Jon Bon Jovi, and Avis and Bruce Richards helped to raise more than $200,000 to benefit the United Way of New York City at “What’s on the Table” in Southampton on Saturday evening.

Tom Colicchio, Jon Bon Jovi, and Avis and Bruce Richards helped to raise more than $200,000 to benefit the United Way of New York City at “What’s on the Table” in Southampton on Saturday evening.
Photo credit:  
Rose Billings 

Chefs from Colicchio and Sons, Craft, Riverpark, Craftsteak and Topping Rose each offered two dishes featuring a local, in-season ingredient. These included zucchini (ricotta stuffed and fried zucchini blossoms~ my favorite of the night!), corn (corn chowder), and raspberries (raspberry cobbler), among others.

100% of the evening’s net proceeds went to the United Way’s campaign to significantly reduce hunger in New York City. A portion of the funds raised came from an exciting auction presided over by Cate Smit, who sold a surprise item: a private dinner cooked by Tom Colicchio with a performance by Jon Bon Jovi at the bidder’s home which went for $40,000 after an exciting bidding war!

In their speeches, Colicchio, Bon Jovi, both Richards, and Ms. Silverbush – director of the forthcoming documentary about hunger titled “A Place at the Table” – stressed the critical nature of the issue hunger in America. One startling statistic revealed is that 1 in 5 children go hungry daily in the United States. Guests were encouraged to call their Congressional representatives to protect funding in the Farm Bill for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which puts healthy food on the table for 46 million Americans each month.

In addition to Cliché and Bon Jovi, guests included chef Katie Lee, supermodel Hilary Rhoda, CNN anchor Alina Cho, Estee Lauder head John Demsey, Dan Abrams, actress Natasha Bell, Royal Pains actor Rupak Ginn, Bloomberg TV host Matt Miller, Dayssi and Paul Olarte de Kanavos, Duane Hampton, Louise Grunwald, Esther Newberg, Charmaine and Carter Burden, and Stephanie Hirsch. United Way of New York City’s Jennifer Jones Austin, Senior Vice-President for Community Investment and Kevin Taylor, Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement were also in attendance.

Coverage included Hampton’s Magazine to Bloomberg TV.

Bloomberg’s article can be seen at this link and the video is attached to this article


Bloomberg reported:

“Bruce Richards stood under a party tent anchored by multiple stakes in the lawn of his Southampton home. He was hosting the United Way of New York City “What’s on the Table?” benefit Saturday night.

“They promised it will all be back to normal tomorrow,” said the chief executive of Marathon Asset Management LP, who clearly didn’t mind supporting programs that fight hunger and boost nutrition in New York City.

Wearing a light-blue Brioni jacket, Richards and his wife, Avis, welcomed more than 300 guests to their property. Her dressy white shorts were covered in pink and yellow flowers. Tickets were $250, and the event raised more than $200,000.

Among its many initiatives, United Way of New York City funds urban farms, teaches healthful cooking, and brings local farm produce to food pantries.
Nutritionist Leigh Kusovitsky said she spends about 25 percent of her job at food pantries and soup kitchens.

Last week a family at a pantry in Queens, New York, left with a bag of whole-wheat pasta, fresh eggs, green beans and bread from a local bakery.

“It looked like what anyone would get at a supermarket,” Kusovitsky said, adding that the United Way promotes and funds “client choice” at pantries, allowing clients to select their own food.

Guests had their choice of produce from a farm stand set up near the driveway. On their way out they filled up brown paper bags with peppers, eggplant, zucchini and corn.

Small Plates

During the party, healthy fare came on small plates prepared by chefs at Tom Colicchio’s restaurants, including peaches served with prosciutto or sweet ricotta, from Craftbar’s Lauren Hirschberg.

William Hardie, a managing director at Houlihan Lokey, gave the evening a boost with his $40,000 bid for a dinner prepared by Colicchio with music by Jon Bon Jovi. The chef and the rocker were event co-chairmen.

Was it odd to be helping the hungry at a party in the Hamptons? “Whatever it takes to get people to show up and open up their wallets, that’s what it’s about,” Hardie said.
Colicchio’s wife, Lori Silverbush, encouraged guests to call their representatives in Congress to protect funding in the Farm Bill for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Her documentary about hunger, “A Place at the Table,” is set for theatrical release in February 2013.

“What’s hard is when people don’t ask the obvious question, which is why we have double the food we need in this country, and people are still hungry,” she said.

John Demsey, the group president of Estee Lauder Cos. Inc. (EL), checked out the rose garden with hybrid varieties planted by the home’s former owner, philanthropist Carroll Petrie.

Interior decorator Raphael Di Tommaso, who is working on the home, pointed out highlights on the first floor such as an old snooker table and books he arranged by color.
On the kitchen counter were home-baked muffins and Think bars. The Richards family eats healthy, said son Dylan, a junior at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School.

With the help of his film-producing mom, he presents 90- second videos on a show called “Dylan’s Lunchbox,” in which he cooks nutritious meals with restaurant chefs. They appear on YouTube and NYC Life, the flagship station of NYC Media, the official network of the City of New York. A half-hour series of the same name is scheduled to have its premiere on Oct. 31.

“He makes a very good challah,” his mom said.”