Attendees of Our Town’s Art of Food event held at Sotheby’s last week were invited to devour artful dishes inspired by master artwork from artists including Pablo Picasso, Edvard Munch, Marc Chagall, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. In a fine auction house setting, one would expect to feast on world-class art only with their eyes, yet at last week’s event, guests were not only able to feast with their eyes, but also with their other senses of taste and smell.

Hosted by world-renowned chef Michael White and iconic fashion designer Nicole Miller, Our Town’s Art of Food was an unforgettable evening of sheer culinary bliss graciously presented by New York Presbyterian Hospital, benefiting Citymeals-on-Wheels. Tim and Nina Zagat were the evening’s honorees.

Twenty five of New York City’s top chefs from Manhattan’s Upper East Side displayed their artfully inspired culinary dishes to enchant the packed auction house, which was a delightful mix of art lovers, fashionistas and food enthusiasts all gathered together to support a worthy cause.

“When I viewed Andy Warhol’s ‘Mick Jagger’ for the first time, I immediately envisioned irregularly-shaped pieces of fresh pasta draped over the sides of his head,” said senior chef Ross Posmentier of New York Presbyterian Hospital. “The fresh fettuccine over an orange butternut squash puree is interpreted as ‘monochromatic over brilliance.’ Black and white pasta represents the shades of Warhol uses and the bright hues reflect Jagger’s vibrant stage persona.”

Each chef served artfully crafted small plates that seemed to skillfully echo the artwork standing proudly beside them. To have such exceptional master artwork coupled together with top chefs with an impressive jazz quartet was truly an evening to remember.

As guests strolled through the seventh floor of Sotheby’s admiring the masterworks on display, they were treated to a delightful, moveable feast by some of the culinary titans of the Upper East Side. Guests noshed on small plates of some of the tastiest fare from the likes of delicate Montauk Pearl Oysters from Atlantic Grill, mouthwatering ravioli ai porcini from Il Mulino, scrumptious chicken satay from Philippe by Philippe Chow and exceptional mini crème brulee from Le Cirque.

Chef Matteo Boglione of Le Cirque prepared glorious mini crème brulee that was served alongside Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Jane Avril. Boglione believes chefs and artists are one in the same, “They are creators. They are very similar, always looking for perfection. Art is part of cooking.”

Chef Todd Mitgang of Crave Fishbar served a sensational salmon crudo with golden pickled beets, cipolini onions, banana vinegar and popped sorghum alongside Roy Lichtenstein’s Thinking Nude. Mitgang believes the culinary arts and fine artists have a lot in common.

“Culinary arts or restaurant chefs have a different kind of pressure then fine artists have,” said Mitgang. “We have minutes to compose a table or tables full of varied food. Another great challenge is to consistently repeat the same dish day in and day out. It is a funny thought to think of creating an incredible dish, a masterpiece, just once.”

Carlos Manansala, Chef De Cuisine of Parlor Steak and Fish created a wonderful chicken liver mousse on rye toast points, vidalia onion jam and fine herbs served alongside Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s, Elles.

“Chefs and artists have to be creative on their craft, being able to see things in a different perspective is one trait we both share but for me the most important thing that chefs and artists have in common is passion for what we do,” said Manansala. “Our patrons can experience our art form not just by image but with aroma, taste, textures and endless combination of flavors and nuances. I think what really differentiates our art form from others is that ours only last for the duration of a meal but can be remembered as one of the greatest experience of a lifetime.”

Click Here To Watch Our Video Recap

PARTICIPATING RESTAURANTS/CHEFS:

Atlantic Grill – Roman Ortega
August – Josh Eden
BKB Restaurant – Eric Miller
Café Boulud – Aaron Bludorn
Candle 79 – Angel Ramos
The Cecil & Minton’s
Crave Fishbar – Todd Mitgang
The East Pole Kitchen & Bar – Joseph Capozzi
Flex Mussels
Freds at Barneys New York
Il Mulino
Jojo – Ron Gallo
Le Cirque – Matteo Boglione
Magnolia Bakery
Maya – David Gonzalez
The Meatball Shop – Daniel Holzman
Parlor Steak & Fish – Carlos Manansala
The Penrose – Shaun Vanalphen
Philippe by Philippe Chow
Pizza Beach – Eric Klienman
The Regency Bar & Grill
Shake Shack
T-Bar Steak
The Writing Room – Lucas Billheimer
Vaucluse – Michael White
New York Presbysterian – Ross Posementier

Article co-authored with Laurance Rassin
Photo Credit Laurance Rassin

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Suite & Savory Writer

I believe that even though we may speak different languages and hail from different parts of the world, when it comes to food and the desire to eat, we all speak the same language.