On Monday May 12th, the James Beard Foundation hosted the “Meatless Monday 10th Anniversary Celebration,” a three-hour, four-course celebration that featured six of the Meatless Monday’s most passionate chefs, including Matteo Bergamini, SD26, NYC; Scott Uehlein, Canyon Ranch, Tucson, AZ; Alicia Walter, Eataly, NYC; and Jason Weiner, David Belknap and Geoffrey Kornberg of Almond, Bridgehampton, NY, and NYC, and L&W Oyster Co, NYC.
Ten years ago, Sid Lerner, Founder and Chairman, The Monday Campaigns, launched Meatless Monday to encourage people to cut out meat one day a week.
Now, the campaign is a household name and to mark the occasion, supporters from Lenox Hill Hospital, Columbia University, Natural Gourmet Institute and Slow Food USA–just to drop a few names—were on hand to celebrate.
The meal started with hors d’oeuvres in the outdoor garden. Chef Uehlein and Chef Weiner teamed up to offer Gazpacho Mary Shooters, Warm Shell Beans with Smoked Goat’s Milk Feta, and Crispy Baby Artichokes.
Once the 75 guests took their seats in the venerable second floor dining room, Lerner and Peggy Neu, President, The Monday Campaigns, welcomed the guests with short remarks.
What followed was proof of how extraordinary and elevated an all-vegetarian menu can be. First, there was Chef Belknap’s Carrot Terrine with Pickled Spring Vegetables. The second course was Chef Kornberg’s Mushroom Dashi with Truffled Matzoh Ball, followed by SD26’s renowned Uovo in Raviolo, expertly prepared by Chef Bergamini.
Eataly’s Chef Walter was next, presenting a greenmarket bounty of Sfumature di Primavera, a selection of spring vegetables on polenta. Chef Uehlein closed the meal with a Canyon Ranch Superfruit Sampler, featuring a Blueberry Tart, Cherry-Chocolate Ganache and Crispy Orange with Dark Chocolate and Pepper-Macerate Strawberries. Guests even got to test their culinary skills, enhancing a homemade Limoncello with an eye-dropper of infused spirits.
Meatless Monday is now in 35 countries and is spoken in 23 languages, but on this Monday night, the movement was centered on 12th Street in Greenwich Village. As Marisa May, co-owner of SD26, NYC, commented, “”The dinner at the James Beard House was the perfect way to celebrate and honor the Meatless Monday anniversary and all of their global accomplishments. The evening brought together an amazing collection of culinary talents sharing a beautiful meal of meatless specialties with the honored guests. Meatless dishes never tasted so delicious – it was a beautiful New York City evening.”