Nothing brings people together like a good cause, and no one brings some of the city’s top chefs together like Alan “Battman” Batt. His latest iteration of the Great Gathering of Chefs, which took place at the Prince George Ballroom on April 24th, united almost one hundred talented chefs from New York City and beyond to celebrate the release of Battman’s newest cookbook, Crossing Borders/Sweet Crossings, and to support the Food and Finance High School, NYC’s only culinary high school.
The afternoon started with beer, pastrami and time for the chefs to catch up in a non-competitive setting. Once everyone ate their fill, the chefs who each signed fifty copies of Crossing Borders/Sweet Crossings, the proceeds of which benefit the school. The team then readied the room for the fifteen restaurants participating in the tasting portion of our event. As guests and participants entered and exited the venue, they were treated to an exhibition of Battman’s exquisite food photography featured in Crossing Borders/Sweet Crossings.
The room filled with guests who sampled delectable bites from some of the city’s top restaurants and drinks poured by our beverage sponsors. Circling the room one could sample: homemade hummus with braised lamb ragu, cilantro, chilies and tahini from Barbounia; a choucroute slider of smoked pork belly, braised cabbage and spicy mustard from Black Barn; Di Palo’s burrata on toast with sugar snap pea pesto and roasted beech mushrooms from Butter; guacamole de frutas from El Toro Blanco; peanut flan from Gato; broccoli rabe and pimento cheese tart from Gramercy Tavern; chocolate pistachio eclairs with atole corn custard from Great Performances; passion fruit and chocolate Itakuja marquise with passion sorbet and mango pearls from Hakkasan; ghost chicken tikka from Junoon; a black forest profiterole with chocolate cherry ice cream, kirsch chantilly and dark chocolate sauce from Lafayette; sashimi salad from Nobu; spicy shrimp on a kale and raisin salad with spring leeks puree and an apricot frangipane cake with honey ginger crème fraîche from Perrine; sushi from Tao; kale and ricotta pasta with duck bacon, peas and salsa verde from the Wayfarer; clothesline bacon and cheesecake lollipops from Woodpecker by David Burke and pepper crusted New York steak sandwiches with blue cheese butter and morel cream on sourdough from the ‘21’ Club.
Guest also sampled wine from Jamesport and Sannino Vineyards, sparkling waters from Acqua Panna and San Pellegrino, and coffee from Afficionado Coffee Roasters. Fresh Origins provided microgreens and edible flowers that adorned the stations and dishes served by the restaurants, and Valrhona served samples of their delicious chocolates, including their new passion fruit inspiration, to chefs and guests.
We were fortunate to have a wonderful group of students from the Food and Finance High School to help with setup and service. These volunteers did everything from moving chairs to serving pastrami and helping the chefs ready their dishes. Two of the students who helped at the event are now working with chef Ivy Stark at El Toro Blanco!
Crossing Borders/Sweet Crossings is a compilation of fusion dishes from amazing chefs all over the country. The recipes are meant to be inspirational and aspirational, as Battman did not want to ask chefs like Eric Ripert, Daniel Bolud and Christina Tosi to limit their imagination or skills. The recipes and photographs in this book will take readers on a culinary tour of the world and inspire them to try new, global combinations in their own kitchens.
100% of the profits from the sale of Crossing Borders/Sweet Crossings will be donated to the Food Education Fund (FEF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works to promote sustainable positive life outcomes for the youth of New York City. FEF increases access to education and career opportunities through the academic and experiential learning programs at Food and Finance High School, the only four year culinary high school in NYC; advances research in sustainable food sourcing through its collaboration with higher education institutions through its hydroponic and aquaponics laboratories; and through various support services, helps the students of Food and Finance High School develop critical professional and interpersonal skills such as decision-making, financial literacy, job-readiness and citizenship.
The Great Gathering of Chefs team would like to thank all of the chefs that came to the book signing and all of the restaurants that participated in the event: Barbounia, Black Barn, Butter, El Toro Blanco, Gato, Gramercy Tavern, Great Performances, Hakkasan, Junoon, Lafayette, Nobu, Perrine, Tao, The Wayfarer, Woodpecker by David Burke, ‘21’ Club. We would also like to thank our generous sponsors who made this night possible: Acqua Panna, Afficionado Coffee Roasters Capital One Bank, The Chef’s Connection, Chef’s Delight, Fresh Origins Microgreens, Jamesport Vineyards, JB Prince, the Kimberly Hotel, Lucky’s Real Tomatoes, National Peanut Board, Orwashers, Sannino Vineyard, San Pellegrino, Steelite International, Transcontinental Printing, Valrhona Chocolate, WH Linen Rental.