Hayground School and Jeff's Kitchen in Bridgehampton will celebrate the 13th annual Chefs Dinner on Sunday at the school in Bridgehampton. Acclaimed chefs Tom Collicchio and éric Ripert, along with Toni Ross, will host the farm-to-table benefit dinner honoring Bill Telepan, the executive chef of Oceana in NYC and supporter of the Wellness in the Schools foundation, and Hayground founding member Tinka D. Topping.
"I can't stress enough the importance of Hayground School for the children of the East End," said Ripert.
Each year, Hayground presents a select group of culinary masters who work together for one night only, cooking in one kitchen, to raise funds for the school and its tuition assistance programs. Around 82 percent of the school's students receive financial aid during the school year.
"The culinary and scholarship programs at Hayground are so amazing. So I've been involved for many years," said chef Jason Weiner of the Almond restaurants, a longtime supporter. "And now my daughter Rive is a student at Hayground, which makes the Chefs Dinner that much more important to me."
Thirteen chefs participate. Claudia Fleming, Roger Martinez, Marc Meyer, Christian Mir, Garrison Price, Joe Realmuto, Hillary Sterling, and Weiner are slated to prepare the five-course dinner using local ingredients. Some of the dinner's ingredients are straight from the edible schoolyard, located on Hayground's 13 acres of farmland.
Chef Trevor Swope is providing crudo and a ceviche station. Josh Capon is serving Fishers Island oysters. Michael Cavaniola is providing cheeses from his namesake gourmet cheese shop in Sag Harbor. Arjun Achuthan will be creating a dish in the Hayground wood-fired oven.
Chef Bill Telepan is being honored for his activism and work with Wellness in the Schools. The non-profit helps provide public school students essential meals as well as culinary education. "Professionally, he's hero of mine," said Weiner.
"This is the first year I am involved," said Telepan of the Chefs Dinner. "I always wanted to be a part of it. I've always heard it is a great event. Summer. Hamptons. Great food. What could be bad?"
When Telepan recalls his own favorite dishes from his childhood it's "my mom's stuffed cabbage, chicken paprika, and her chocolate chip cookies!" Nowadays, when he's out east he loves "the opportunity to cook local fish and buy produce from the farm stands. I don't get to grill much at home in the city so I always look forward to that."
Topping, a founding member of the school, is being honored for her devotion to children's education. She is a champion for children and their right to learn.
"We learned a lot, and are still learning, how to be a more creative, intellectual, and exciting place for kids to learn, that survives in this increasingly complex and difficult world," she said about the school.
In 2004, Jeff's Kitchen was built. The state-of-the-art culinary classroom was the dream of founding parent and local restaurateur Jeff Salaway. Jeff's Kitchen facilitates the culinary arts program that is a complete embodiment of the Hayground experience for children. Throughout the year, students learn how to grow, prepare, and cook in Jeff's Kitchen under Achuthan's watchful mentorship.
"It brings so much life to the community and to the children who reap its benefits," said Ripert.
Dinner tickets are $1200 and can be purchased on the Hayground's website. The evening is strictly limited to 150 guests and always sells out. A live auction will include a tasting menu and wine pairing by Ripert and Le Bernardin.