Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Date Night with a (sticky) chef?

I received an e-mail the other day touting: “Date Night -- NYC's first ever LIVE CHEF AUCTION to benefit The Friends of The FCI. Bid on a "date" with a celebrity chef...”

I think this June 11 fund-raiser from the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan should be re-named “Spend Time with a Chef” since I know at least a few of the chefs involved are not available, as we say. In any case, the event does sound like a lot of fun and there are a few regional ties. There are some big names listed here such as Jacques Torres (Take a private class at the NYC Chocolate Haven store for two people. Meet Jacques for a private tour and go behind the scenes and make something. Cool!) and Jean Georges Vongerichten (Have sushi with Jean Georges at the best sushi place in the city.) Dan Barber, creative director at the popular Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Westchester County is offering himself up for a trip to Union Square Green Market followed by dinner for two at his Blue Hill restaurant in Manhattan.

And I see the promotional materials for the event include a photo of a guy with local roots: Johnny Iuzzini, that hot young(ish) pastry chef known for his work with Jean Georges and Daniel Boulud -- so I’m guessing he’s another of the celeb chefs up for bid. Let's cut to the video: Here’s Johnny accepting the 2006 James Beard Foundation Award for Best Pastry Chef.

He grew up in Walden, over near Newburgh (and studied at the CIA in Hyde Park.) I’ve heard he’s a fun guy -- well, actually a real prankster who describes himself as “hyper.” Must be from the sugar he’s around all day. I'm sure a "date" with him would be quite an experience. Have you seen the photo of him covered in Marshmallow Fluff?

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