Our Benefit Dinner Raised Over $100,000

Our Benefit Dinner Raised Over $100,000


Our Benefit Dinner Raised Over $100,000

April 25, 2016
Celebrity Chefs Gather During Cocktail Hour at Wholesome Wave's 2016 Benefit Dinner
Photos by Eric Vitale

To the long list of reasons to have Chef Michel Nischan as your CEO, add this one: he and his friends can cook.

We tapped that talent at our inaugural benefit dinner in midtown Manhattan on April 20th, with courses by Chef Nischan, Seamus Mullen, Carmen Quagliata, Tyler Florence & Jacques Torres. Over 200 guests also enjoyed the first pouring of Wholesome Wave’s private label wine, 2012 ONEHOPE Edna Valley Pinot Noir with limited-edition label artwork by Jacques Pépin himself. In just one night, we raised over $100,000 to make locally grown fruits and vegetables more affordable for those who need it most, nationwide.

Nischan took the stage to honor his mentors and spoke from the heart, first about the late Michael Batterberry, saying, “he encouraged me to live on the edge of my decisions, take the hard ones, and express myself in ways that went far beyond simple deliciousness… to step outside the walls of my kitchen and forge a solution. As a result, Wholesome Wave was born.”

And he hailed Jacques Pépin, (read Nischan’s full ode to Jacques here), saying the iconic French chef didn’t just teach him how to cook (via books)—he also taught him how to be in the world. And Nischan wasn’t the only one—many culinary illuminati, from Scott Conant to Dana Cowin, joined virtually to raise a glass to M. Pépin.

“So here I stand,” continued Nischan, “because of these two mentors who understood that food has more impact on human health, societal health, environmental health, community health, and economic health than any other single subject. Two professionals who could have checked “multiple boxes of career success” and called it a day. But for them, it wasn’t enough. Cooking good food is not enough. Deliciousness is not enough. Excellence, ambience excitement, gutteral connection is not enough. If every living human cannot, by choice, experience the simple love and security that food can bring, and provide that for their families, our world can never be considered complete, and our job can never be considered done. Michael Batterberry and Jacques Pepin have proven that the world could be made a far better place through the magic of food. That’s what this benefit is all about.

Tyler Florence at 2016 Benefit Dinner During Cocktail Hour
At Wholesome Wave we decided that the healing power of food was everything. And we work every day for people who have so little to put food on the table.”

Everyone in the room ate very well that night—so that people across the country can eat better, all year long.

We are grateful to our sponsors: The James Beard Foundation, Todd & Holly Lowen and Lowen Design Studio, Axcess Worldwide, The Osprey Foundation, Fairfield County Community Foundation, The Zegar Family Foundation, Connie & Stewart Greeenfield, Newman’s Own Foundation, The Fink Family Foundation, Delta Air Lines and Fleishers Craft Butchery, as well as the Yale Club of New York City and Marissa Ain, event producer extraordinaire.

Benefit Dinner Photo from the Balcony
Benefit Dinner Photo from the Balcony

Jacques Pepin, Jacques Torres & Leonard Lopate Enjoy a Laugh Together at the 2016 Benefit Dinner
Jacques Pepin, Jacques Torres & Leonard Lopate

Wholesome Wave's Wine Poured at the 2016 Benefit Dinner