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Toast To Our Town

Monday, June 3, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)

Toast To Our Town

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
Heirloom Ticket Ended $1,000.00 $0.00
Harvest Ticket Ended $750.00 $0.00
Individual Ticket Ended $500.00 $0.00
Unable to attend but would like to donate Ended

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Event Details

 A Toast To Our Town

Hosted by Swiss Re 

June 3, 2013 
Gotham Bar and Grill 

Celebrate GrowNYC's efforts to make ours the most sustainable and livable city in the world.

Master of Ceremonies 

Chef, author and TV Personality Alexandra Guarnaschelli



Dew Drop Society


Created By Chefs

James Beard Foundation Award-winning Chef Alfred Portale is the executive chef and owner of Gotham Bar and Grill in New York and Gotham Steak in Miami. 

Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli is the executive chef of Butter and The Darby. 

Iron Chef Marc Forgione is the executive chef and owner of Restaurant Marc Forgione in Tribeca and American Cut in Atlantic City. 

Top Chef Harold Dieterle is the chef and owner of Perilla, KinShop and The Marrow 

Ron Paprocki is Executive Pastry Chef Gotham Bar and Grill.



Oliver Platt, Actor

Edie Stone, GreenThumb

Joel Marcus, Alexandria Real Estate Equities 

Gabriel "Danny" Comejo, GrowNYC’s Learn It Grow It Eat It program alumnus


Benefit Commitee

Jacqueline Dryfoos Marian S. Heiskell
Robert J. Kafin, Esq. Jeffrey Zurofsky
Gifford Miller Liz Neumark
Coco and Timothy Quinlan Kim Elliman
Holly Russell and Jack Rosenthal Nick Scharlatt
John Lyons Jordan Barowitz





Tickets and Tables

$10,000 Table Sponsor

Preferred seated table (8 tickets) 

- Name and logo included on signage at the event

- Name and logo included on event program

- Spoken acknowledgement during the event

- Acknowledgement on invitation, website, ticket purchasing page and in a post-event email blast 

- Year-round recognition as a donor 

- Admission to VIP Cocktail Hour with Chefs sponsored by Double Cross and Greenhook Ginsmiths

Heirloom ticket: $1,000

- Includes a generous donation to support hands-on education programs, school and community gardens and much more

- Includes a VIP Gift Bag

- Admittance to VIP Cocktail Hour with Chefs sponsored by Double Cross and Greenhook Ginsmiths

Harvest ticket: $750

- Includes a generous donation to support hands-on education programs, school and community gardens and much more

- Admittance to VIP Cocktail Hour with Chefs sponsored by Double Cross and Greenhook Ginsmiths

Individual ticket: $500

- Includes a generous donation to support hands-on education programs, school and community gardens and much more

The non-tax deductible portion of each individual and harvest ticket is $200.

The non-tax deductible portion of each heirloom ticket is $250.


Thank you to all of our friends who have donated to our silent auction:


ABC Kitchen

Mariliou Aquino & Clint White, Arts + Culture Network


Beth's Farm Kitchen LLC

Brooklyn Nets


The Door

Tom Cramer

Gramercy Tavern

Great Performances

Green Mountain Energy

Gotham Steak

Hyatt Union Square New York

The Fourth


ICI Restaurant

Kramer Portraits

Momofuko Ma Peche

ORE Design + Technology

Palo Santo 


Singapore Airlines

Shangri-La International Hotel Managment


The Shanty


Village Voice




Thank you to all of our friends who donated to our goody bags:


Algonquin Publishing 

Gotham Bar and Grill

Great Performances

The Penguin Press

Wilder Quarterly



A special thanks to our event sponsor Swiss Re and our hosts Gotham Bar and Grill and our table sponsors, Vicky Contino, Wilson Elser and Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.


For more info, contact Sara Seber at 917.409.8864 or sseber@grownyc.org

Meet the Chefs



Executive Chef & Partner, Gotham Bar and Grill 

Chef Alfred Portale is a culinary creator, innovator and architect whose heart belongs to the very restaurant where his career began 25 years ago—Gotham Bar and Grill. 

In 1985, Portale took the reins at the young Greenwich Village restaurant.  His idea was to bring fine dining downtown, both in terms of cuisine and style.  Portale wanted to create a restaurant that emulated the standards of the 3-Star Michelin restaurants from his time in France with Jacques Maximin and Pierre Troisgros.  At Gotham, Portale developed a seasonal menu with an American sensibility:  relaxed elegance, prime product and bold flavors.  

Portale’s dedication to sourcing quality ingredients from small farms and specialty purveyors placed him among those chefs who are identified as the leaders of  the movement known as New American Cuisine.  This movement, now emulated across the country, marked a return to the simple pleasures of quality ingredients fused with French technique and international influence.




Butter and The Darby Restaurant

Executive Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli of Butter Restaurant and The Darby can boast indeed— she embarked on a culinary journey in France, and ended up working in some of the country’s top restaurants including esteemed chef Guy Savoy’s eponymous three-star kitchen.

In 2003, Guarnaschelli was given the opportunity to expand her repertoire and become the executive chef at Butter Restaurant, where she would create her own American and green market-inspired menu. In addition to her restaurant work, Guarnaschelli is a member of The Southern Foodways Alliance and The James Beard Foundation. Guarnaschelli also a Dame D’Escoffier and part of the 15-member Chef’s Advisory Council at New York City’s Institute of Culinary Education, where she was an instructor for a number of years. 

Guarnaschelli has many national television appearances including Iron Chef America as both a contestant and a judge, Food Network Challenge as both a contestant and judge, The Today Show and The Rachael Ray Show. She has been featured in The New York Times, New York Magazine, Elle, New York and Time Out New York.

Guarnaschelli is currently the host of “Alex’s Day Off” on Food Network. “Alex’s Day Off” airs on Food Network.




Chef & Partner, Restaurant Marc Forgione

Chef Marc “Forge” Forgione began his career at the age of 16, joining his father, Larry Forgione (a culinary legend who revolutionized American-style cooking in the ’70s and ’80s), in the kitchen at An American Place. Marc fully embraced his father’s livelihood and has built on his unique culinary foundation to carve out an identity of his own.

Marc opted for a traditional four-year education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he graduated from the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management. He spent his summers working the line at restaurants such as Above in New York, with acclaimed chef Kazuto Matsusaka. These stints would lay the groundwork for Marc’s post-collegiate toils, again alongside his father at An American Place and later under Patricia Yeo at AZ. When Yeo and celebrated chef Pino Maffeo opened Pazo, they took Marc along to serve as sous chef at the short-lived eatery. When Laurent Tourondel set out to develop his flagship, BLT Steak, he recruited Marc as his sous chef.

With Marc Forgione, originally known as his nickname, he has created an approachable place with partner Christopher Blumlo “that people walk by and are compelled to enter and where the ingredients are the star.” Marc was most recently coveted with a Michelin star in the 2010 guide, making him the youngest American-born chef/owner to receive the honor. The restaurant also earned the distinction of a two-star New York Times review, was named “Key Newcomer” by Zagat Guide 2009, “Top 25 Restaurants in NYC” by Modern Luxury magazine and “All Star Eatery” by Forbes magazine. Marc Forgione was awarded “Star Chefs Rising Star of the Year Award 2010″; named “Rising Star 2008″ from Restaurant Hospitality magazine and mentioned “New Formalist” by Esquire magazine in 2008.In 2010 he was crowned the winner of the Next Iron Chef TV show on The Food Network. Read Chef Forgione’s Iron Chef journal on the Food Network website by clicking here.




Pastry chef of Gotham Bar and Grill

After studying the art of pastry in Europe and heading the dessert program of Gordon Ramsay at The London in New York, Pastry Chef Ron Paprocki makes his way to the kitchen of Gotham Bar and Grill.

Ron received his culinary training at Elisabeth-Knipping Schule in Kassel, Germany and served as an apprentice pastry chef at Café Alheit in Kassel. Upon receiving his diploma in pastry arts in 2004, Ron moved to New York where he became Head Baker and Assistant Pastry Chef at the celebrated Financier Patisserie. In August 2005, Ron helped to open Sascha Bakery/Restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking District, where he served as Pastry Sous Chef.

As a chef focused on seasonality, Ron is drawn to the market-driven ethos of Gotham—and its proximity to the Union Square Greenmarket. Ron approaches dessert as a light and enjoyable finale to one’s dining experience and likes playing with the natural acidity of fresh fruits to brighten even the richest chocolate experience, often incorporating fresh market ingredients into Gotham’s pastry program. 





Perilla, Kinshop, Marrow

Harold Dieterle's strong Italian-American upbringing is what first inspired him to be a chef. Raised on Long Island and his mother's Sicilian cooking, Harold was destined to cook. His middle school home economics class (where he admits to studying the girls more than the recipes) and his first job as a dishwasher at The Marina on Fire Island also had a hand in fostering his love of the kitchen.

In the kitchen, Harold learned to appreciate the various cultural cuisines of the kitchen crew. Whether it was Chinese, Mexican or Salvadoran, Harold embraced all types of food. This appreciation for other cultures took Harold to Spain in the summer of 1995, where he worked his way through some of the country's top kitchens. Upon his return, he was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, New York, where he continued to surround himself with a diverse group of friends, each of whom had a different influence on his cooking. 

After graduating from CIA, Harold moved to the Hamptons, where he cooked at Della Femina. In the summer of 1997, he was instrumental in launching Della Femina's Manhattan restaurant, before moving on to a three-year stint as a chef at Red Bar on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Following his time at Red Bar, Harold was offered a position at the New York Times two-star 1770 House. After a mutual friend introduced him to Jimmy Bradley in 2002, it appeared Harold's seemingly endless search for just the right restaurant had ended. The kitchen at The Harrison was where Harold refined his skills, under the tutelage of chefs Joey Campanaro and Brian Bistrong.

In early 2004, Harold went on sabbatical to Thailand to immerse himself in Southeast Asian cuisine and culture. While there, he studied with some of Thailand's top chefs, and learned how best to cook with rare and exotic ingredients, such as mamay (a sweet fruit similar to a sweet potato) and dragonfruit. It was this trip, coupled with all he had learned to that point, which began to round out Harold's culinary education. He returned to New York ready to use his experiences and to build a place of his own.



Meet the Honorees


Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.

Joel S. Marcus is Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. (NYSE: ARE), the leading and largest provider of high-quality, sustainable real estate for the life science industry. Mr. Marcus co-founded Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. in 1994, Alexandria Venture Investments in 1996, and the annual Alexandria Summit in 2011. He serves on the boards of the Accelerator Corporation, of which he was one of the original architects and co-founders, Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), Intra-Cellular Therapies, Inc., Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), and the Partnership for New York City. Alexandria is committed to operating at the forefront of innovation and sustainability. To date, Alexandria has achieved LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for 16 projects comprising approximately 2.5 million square feet. In 2010, Alexandria opened the first and only commercial life science park in New York City - the Alexandria Center for Life Science - which not only features high-quality laboratory/office space, but also unique amenities designed to foster collaboration including Riverpark restaurant, 'wichcraft, and Apella event space. In partnership with the Riverpark team and GrowNYC, Alexandria also developed the Riverpark Farm, one of the largest and most urban farms in New York City. The Riverpark Farm is located on the riverfront plaza at the Alexandria Center for Life Science, directly adjacent to Riverpark restaurant.



Learn It Grow It Eat It alumnus

Danny was born and raised in Manta, Ecuador. He moved to New York City with his mom when he was 12 and graduated from  Bronx International High School in June 2012. Danny has been working with the Learn it, Grow it, Eat it program in various capacities since April 2011 both as an intern, and as part-time nutrition educator

As an intern he learned to grow, harvest, sell, and cook with fruits and vegetables from our gardens. He assisted in the development of horticultural activities for small children, taught children and adults to read food labels, and helped to run our weekly farmers market. 

This past year he has worked with LGE part-time where he has honed his leadership skills – training new interns at the farmers market and working side-by-side with our outreach coordinator to bring nutrition education and cooking demos to waiting rooms in Bronx Lebanon hospital. He has also started volunteering with Bronx Lebanon’s patient outreach program where he works one-on-one with patients to make sure their visit is going smoothly.

Danny wants to work and save money before going to college where he plans to study health education/social work and continue to work with GrowNYC and the Bronx Lebanon Hospital.




A former employee of GrowNYC working in its greening program, Edie Stone was invited to join the staff of GreenThumb in order to help organize gardeners politically to prepare for anticipated cuts to the program by the Giuliani administration.  GreenThumb started as a stopgap community development program aimed at combating the urban blight that plagued cities throughout the U.S. in the 1970s through neighborhood beautification.  The GreenThumb of today is a fully integrated part of the Parks Department, managing nearly 500 permanent gardens on public and privately owned land.  In Ms. Stone’s view, community gardening and urban agriculture are part of the same spectrum.  While urban agriculture may expand the scale of urban food production, most urban agriculture projects are heavily dependent on volunteer labor and private funding.  Her work has encouraged city planners, architects, other design professionals and legislators to create more self sufficient, healthy and sustainable in city neighborhoods in the future.  


Have questions about Toast To Our Town? Contact the organizer

When & Where

12 East 12th Street
New York, 10003

Monday, June 3, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)

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