Great Chefs Dinner

For the seventh year in a row, a kitchenful of big-name chefs will be elbowing each other for room at a stove to benefit future food professionals and enthusiasts. It’s the 2011 Chefs Dinner, a gala fund-raiser for Jeff’s Kitchen, at Bridgehampton’s Hayground School, and the Jeff Salaway Scholarship Fund.

On Sunday, July 31, starting at 5:00 p.m., ticket holders will be able to rub those same elbows at a cocktail party (tickets $175) and a sit-down dinner ($850 for both) on the grounds of the school and in the kitchen itself, a full-service professional kitchen and classroom fitted with top-of-the-line Viking appliances and a new pizza oven. During the year, classes in nutrition, food science and cooking are held for children and adults. Recently Hayground students, staff and friends added a Farmtek greenhouse, with funds provided by the local chapter of Slow Food.

Since its inception, the event has attracted a like-minded brotherhood and sisterhood of chefs from New York City and the East End. This year’s group of food makers includes Christian Mir (Stone Creek Inn), Michael White (Ai Fiori, Marea, Osteria Morini), Joseph Realmuto (Nick & Toni’s), Marc Forgione (Restaurant Marc Forgione), Claudia Fleming (North Fork Table and Inn), James Carpenter (the Living Room at the Maidstone), Bryan Futerman (Foody’s), Gerry Hayden (North Fork Table and Inn), Kevin Penner (1770 House, the Grill on Pantigo), Cheryl Stair (Art of Eating), Jason Weiner (Almond Restaurant, Almond NYC), Josh Capon (Lure Fishbar, Burger & Barrel), Harold Dieterle (Perilla), Matthew Michel (Rolling in Dough Pizza), Jonathan Waxman (Barbuto), Olivier Cheng (Olivier Cheng Catering and Events) and Michael and Tracy Cavaniola (Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop). Designer Isaac Mizrahi, whose cooking chops are substantial, will play the role of “guest chef.”

The benefit honors the late restaurateur Jeff Salaway, who with his wife, Toni Ross, opened Nick & Toni’s restaurant in East Hampton in 1988. After Salaway’s tragic death in a car accident in 2001, Ross (shown above with, from left, Joseph Realmuto, Tom Colicchio and Eric Ripert) helped to establish the fund and kitchen at the school, which she and Salaway had founded. The kitchen channels Salaway’s pioneering vision—increasingly implemented by teachers at Hayground and other East End schools—that gardening, cooking and eating food are essential skills for kids to learn.

Now the event attracts star chefs and attendees. Last year, the benefit raised $200,000.

Visit greatchefsdinner.com for tickets.

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Eileen M. Duffy

Eileen M. Duffy DWS holds a diploma in wines and spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. Her book on Long Island wine Behind the Bottle came out in 2015. Visit her website, eileenmduffy.com, to find out what else she's working on.