It was a foodie fantasy last night at the Waldorf-Astoria, where the likes of Daniel Boulud, David Bouley, Sirio Maccioni, Drew Nieporent, and Jacques Pépin had gathered for the lavish annual Food Allergy Ball. We caught up with Jacques Pépin in the grand ballroom before he was to be honored for his valiant fight against cross-contamination. Asked if he had any food allergies himself, the master chef admitted, “No, I don’t,” adding that “I’m a real glutton. I eat anything you put in front of me.” We found that hard to believe from a man known for culinary perfection. “Ask my wife!” he said, so we did. “He’ll eat anything I put in front of him!” Mme. Pépin testified. Still, we wondered if old Jacques can be a diva at home had he ever pronounced Lady Pépin’s grub “unacceptable”? “Are you kidding? She’d put it on my head, I say that!”
Is the New York dining scene better than ever? The question seems to our dazzled senses like a no-brainer, but it was the source of almost rancorous debate last night at a 92nd Street Y panel discussion which featured New York’s Gael Greene, famed chef Jacques Pepin, Über-restaurateur Michael Whiteman, and New York food historian Arthur Schwartz. “Food Talk” host Mike Colameco chaired the panel — helplessly, as the debate raged to his right and left.