Goals for Life Gala

| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:54

Upper East Side chefs raise money for Brazilian children's illness research institute

By Helaina Hovitz

Two of the Upper East Side's most prominent chefs also happen to be among the most world renowned, and they were the MVPs the Goals for Life Gala, which took place on Wednesday, May 8th. Along with four other chefs, they took to the kitchen (and stage) at Gotham Hall (1356 Broadway and 36th Street) for an upscale fundraiser benefitting the Pelé Little Prince Research Institute in Brazil.

The Institute is backed by Brazil's famed "King of Soccer," Pelé himself, who devoted his life to philanthropy since retiring from the sport.

"Being a nonprofit in Brazil isn't very common, and we were [initially] afraid because we didn't have the resources to fund it," said Jose Alvaro Carneiro C.E.O. of the children's hospital. "Then Pelé approached us, and now we believe in the long run we will fundraise enough to pay the bills."

The clear culinary star of the evening was Chef Daniel Boloud, who owns Upper East Side restaurants Daniel (60 East 65th Street) and Café Boloud (20 East 76th Street).

A course each was also prepared by Brazilian chef Alex Atala, Roberta Sudbrack, the first woman to be selected as head chef for a Brazilian President, and French Brazilian chefs and event founders Claude Troisgros and his son Thomas.

Before the meal was served, the chefs did a quick on-stage demonstration to show how the dish was made.

Dessert, made by Daniel Humm, owner of Eleven Park Madison (11 Madison Avenue), was based on a "New York pretzel" and featured peanut butter shortbread, peanut brittle, malted milk sorbet, malt sponge candy, malt yogurt, pretzel crisps, and peanut butter salted caramel.

"I think chefs in general are giving people," he said. "We try to support a lot of different charities like Share Our Strength [a group that fights child hunger]. We also did work to raise money for upkeep of Madison Square Park," he said.

At Eleven Park Madison, the menu changes every day, which is "hard to keep up with, but fun, too," but there is one permanent staple on the three-time Michelin Star winning menu: the whole roasted duck.

Humm, who originally hales from Switzerland, won the 2013 James Beard Foundation's "Outstanding Chef" award, and has also been awarded several other honorable titles.

At the gala, everyone seemed perfectly content to wait until the first dish came out at 8:45 p.m. (the dinner started a 7:30), Flowers Ceviche with Orange Blossom Vinaigrette smothered in pepper, but I didn't have the time - or stomach - enough to wait for the other four courses to make their way around the room. Nearly passing out from hunger, I left the glamorous world of a ballroom decorated in purple orchids and black linens to grab a chicken cutlet sandwich.

At $2,500 a seat, the event raised $700,000 for the Pelé Institute, which is currently the largest center for complex pediatric illnesses in Brazil.