Rip Esselstyn, Kale Maestro, to Be Honored by Wellness Foundation of East Hampton

Rip Esselstyn

“Kale is superior to all other foods on the planet when it comes to its micronutrient content,”writes Rip Esselsytn, professional triathlete, turned Austin firefighter, turned international advocate for the heart-healing value of vegetables in his 2013 cookbook, My Beef With Meat. On June 21, the Wellness Foundation of East Hampton will honor Esselstyn at its third annual summer benefit on June 21 with its Illumination Award, an honor given to individuals“illuminating the path of wellness for others.”

Esselstyn, son of Cleveland Clinic surgeon Caldwell Esselstyn, convinced his rugged co-fire fighters at Austin, Texas’s Fire Engine Company 2 to switch to a vegetable diet to help save the life of a co-worker with heart disease. Out of this came his 2009 best-seller, Engine 2 Diet; his recipes were picked up by good Austin restaurants, noticed by the New York Times and also by the vegan CEO of Austin-based Whole Foods. That year Esselstyn began partnering with Whole Foods to spread the word on the bottom line for health by choosing nutrient-packed vegetables.

The event will again be held under a large tent at an East Hampton home overlooking Hook Pond.  Hors d’oeuvres, vegan, of course, will be catered by Manhattan’s Canard, Inc., wines served by Amagansett Wines & Spirits with Jane Hastay, Peter Martin Weiss & John Cataletto on hand for live music.

The first two benefits were sell-outs and so tickets will not be sold at the door. Individual tickets are $150 and can be ordered through the Wellness Foundation’s website ( or by phone at (631) 329-2590.

 Geraldin Pluenneke blogs at the Power of Flavor