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Delicious Soirées

Originally Posted: February 22, 2007

Nicole B. Brewer

It was the start of a very busy week for the folks at Hayground School as the planning committee for the upcoming Great Chefs Dinner 2007 moved into even higher gear with a day filled with culinary chat. That afternoon participating chef Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar hosted a planning luncheon for the dozen chefs to decide the menu for the much anticipated event. It was great to be the fly on the wall as these culinary wizards plotted out a meal to knock everyone's socks off.

The great chefs from the Great Chefs Dinner.

In between bites of sushi and what has to be the best hamburger in town (surprising for a restaurant famed for its deft handling of all things from the ocean), we listened as Drew Nieporent, Tom Colicchio, Marc Meyer, Joe Realmuto, Rebecca Charles, Marc Forgione, Michael Huynh, Marc Meyer, Aaron Sanchez, Toshio Tomita and Miche Bacher convivially decided what fabulous dishes each would prepare. No Top Chef rivalry here, simply a bunch of friends seeking to honor the memory of a much loved colleague Jeff Salaway of Nick & Toni's fame.

Later that day at Lure Fishbar, Hamptonites Toni Ross, Roy Scheider, Lizz Salaway and Susan Ringo Sonnenfeld welcomed friends and sponsors for cocktails at the award winning eatery for a preview of some of the extraordinary items that will be up for auction at the dinner. Some guests even came bearing gifts for the event's auction. Southampton's Kate Morgan arrived with a huge basket of wines from Castello Banfi, Ron Delsener of East Hampton donated an exceedingly rare 1914 cognac from Maxim's of Paris, one of only six in the world, Grand Chevalier du Tastevin Herbert Gould contributed a 1982 Pommerol from Chateau La Pointe, and a very rare 1986 Petrus arrived from an anonymous donor. Enjoying the seafood delights from chef Josh Capon's kitchen were Stuart Match Suna, Heather Cohane, Stuart Warner, Lukas Weinstein, Bonnie Munshin, Neil Kraft, and Conde Nast's Karen Danick and James Humphrey.

Tom Colicchio and Gail Simmons. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

In East Hampton on Saturday afternoon, Janet Lehr and Ruth Vered hosted a lovely wine and cheese reception at their Vered Gallery to give art lovers a quieter opportunity to fully appreciate the latest works from the brilliant and prolific Hunt Slonem. So fresh were his oversized densely painted images of tropical birds and butterflies, one could smell the pleasing odor of new paint on work that seemed the artist had finished only moments before. Equally dazzling were several impressive pieces by the Grande Dame of sculpture Louise Nevelson.

It was one amazing birthday bash last week for mogul Steve Schwarzman of East Hampton, Palm Beach, St.Tropez and Park Avenue tossed by his wife Christine Hearst Schwarzman. Depending upon with whom you speak to, it was either the greatest bash of the century or a scene right out of the Versailles of Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette. Frankly, we wouldn't expect anything less from the man who is number 73 on the Forbes' list of the world's richest men and just pulled off the biggest buyout in history the $39 billion deal involving Equity Office Group. Our feeling is "Party hearty, Steve"!

Those 500 + who now replace the fabled Astor's 400 were treated to an evening of opulence, exquisite food washed down by rare vintages and a succession of internationally famed pop artists performing on the custom built stage at the Park Avenue Armory.

Steve and Christine Schwarzman. Photo by PatrickMcMullan.com

Since even the Schwarzman's enormous Park Avenue pad at New York's most coveted address 740 (see Michael Gross' book if you doubt) could contain all the pair's friends and business associates, Christine an impeccable hostess opted for the Armory. With the aid of premier party designer Philip Baloun, the cavernous space was transformed into a replica of their drawing room complete with several great paintings from the Schwarzman collection. The sight drew gasps from those who recalled Gayfryd and Saul Steinberg's much criticized lavish affairs in the 80s and 90s.

Following cocktails, guests moved on into a lavishly orchid filled room reminiscent of a posh nightclub for a filet mignon dinner laid on by Sean Driscoll's Glorious Foods the favorite of billionaires and the institutions they support. If a bomb dropped on this crowd, half the museums, opera house and ballet companies would have to close their doors. The guestlist, a sort of billionaire Boys Club, included lots of East End heavies such as Leonard Lauder, Bruce Wasserstein, Barry Diller, and Wilbur Ross.

The entertainment line up ran the gamut from Broadway to Gospel to Rock interspersed with a very caustic and outrageous Martin Short who delivered zingers all through the evening. Marvin Hamlisch and the kids from A Chorus Line, Patti LaBelle backed by the Abyssinian Baptist Choir wailing Happy Birthday and once again at the top of the charts rocker Rod Stewart delivered rousing performances to the seen-it-all crowd. Reportedly Stewart got a cool $1 million to throatily warble his classics.

Whatever the pundits say the soiree will go down in society history as one memorable party for whatever reasons!

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer

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