Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tom Colicchio gave us omelets

January 13

I wonder if breakfast press conferences are a new trend. The running joke among us trend spotters is that you can call something a trend once you see it three times, and I’ve only been to two breakfast press conferences in recent memory.
The first was at the end of September, when Tom Colicchio summoned us all to Craft’s private dining room to announce that every other Tuesday the place would be transformed into a fine-dining, tasting-menu-only restaurant called Tom: Tuesday Dinner. Very exciting!
This morning, Eric Ripert called us all to Le Bernardin at 9 a.m. to announce that he was going to be donating a dollar for every patron that ate in his restaurant or private dining facilities, and for every book he sold, to City Harvest, which is New York’s food bank.
Perhaps you’re thinking, as I initially thought: “A dollar? One dollar? Big deal!”
Except that it is. I imagine that Le Bernardin is doing reasonably good business, but restaurant margins are tight at the best of times, and M. Ripert said he expected he would be giving $100,000 to the food bank in the first year.
Perhaps you’re thinking, as I initially thought: “Le Bernardin gets 100,000 customers a year?”
But then I did the math. That’s just shy of 274 customers a day.
Besides, Ripert already does his share for City Harvest, donating his time at charity events, allowing himself to be auctioned off to make dinner for people and donating 16,000 lbs of food — mostly good stuff like fish, vegetables and fruit.
He has a refrigerator at Le Bernardin dedicated specifically for City Harvest.
He’s also a board member of the charity.
The chef pointed out the dichotomy of Midtown Manhattan, where some of the richest and most powerful people in the world live and work, but where there is also a fair number of destitute people, especially in the Rockefeller Center area. And their ranks are growing.
At Tom Colicchio’s press conference, we had a full breakfast buffet, plus omelets made to order — in fact, some of the best omelets I’ve ever had.
Eric Ripert’s breakfast was Continental, which is fair — he’s Continental, too.
And I can’t very well complain about eating Michael Laiskonis’ pain au chocolat. They were small, and at the server’s prompting I took two. We also had delicious, light yogurt parfaits and fruit cups.
No omelets, but it would be petty to complain, wouldn’t it?

Recommendation for anyone holding a press conference: Serve pastry.

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