Sara Jenkins on ‘The Dark Side of Benefit Dinners’

Photo: Courtesy of City Harvest

A week ago, City Harvest’s sixteenth annual Bid Against Hunger raised $1,100,000 via auctions in which one bidder paid $30,000 for a personalized meal for eight at Le Bernardin, and another paid $20,000 for a party catered by Marc Murphy and François Payard. Feeding the hungry is all well and good, but today in The Atlantic, Sara Jenkins of Porchetta (who is not one to avoid charity) complains about the more dubious benefits she’s been asked to participate in, including one for Slow Food: “I am all for Slow Food, but I am not sure they need money as much as victims of natural disasters or terminal disease.”

Her main complaints, though: These big tastings seem to be more about “throwing giant, self-congratulatory parties” where the food gets more attention than the cause; they take her (and the cooks she has to pay to help her) away from her kitchen; plus she has to make such massive quantities that expensive ingredients often go to waste (and they’re so burdensome to prepare that she never wants to see a ramp again). All of it makes her wonder why she doesn’t “just donate the money straight to the charity and cut out all the silliness along the way.” Event organizers, you might want to put chef Jenkins on your “Do Not Call” list!

The Dark Side of Benefit Dinners: A Chef’s Perspective [Atlantic]

Sara Jenkins on ‘The Dark Side of Benefit Dinners’