On Monday night, six Michelin-starred city chefs join forces — and plates — to help fight hunger and homelessness in New York City as part of Breaking Ground’s second annual Serving Up Home tasting event.
Taking place at the supportive housing developer’s Prince George residence on East 27th Street, Serving Up Home features signature dishes from Cosme Aguila of Casa Enrique, Aaron Bludorn of Café Boulud, Christopher Engle of Aureole New York, Carlo Mirarchi of Blanca, Melissa Rodriguez of Del Posto and Emma Bengtsson of Aquavit, as well as bites from Somtum Der, Casellula, Red Rooster Harlem and D’Artagnan.
For Bengtsson, getting involved with Breaking Ground’s mission was easy as she already works with similar organizations, so “to be able to provide people with the right to have a decent quality of life and have somewhere to live and food for the day, I will do anything I can,” she told Metro.
For Serving Up Home, which last year brought in more than $80,000 that translated to 650 nights of transitional housing for New Yorkers in need, Bengtsson is doing “something light and summery, and of course, have a little bit of a flair to it,” she shared. “I’m doing a scallop with caviar, rose and pine, which are some of my favorite things to eat.”
Bengtsson earned Aquavit’s second Michelin star last year, making her the first-ever female Swedish chef — and just the second female chef in the U.S. — to run a two-star kitchen.
“It’s quite amazing and extraordinary, and it’s one of those things you don’t really understand is happening,” she said. “I worked my entire life, always pushing, to not really be one of the first — I just wanted to be the best at whatever I could do. It’s one of those unreal things that’s happened.”
Bengtsson fell in love with food thanks to one simple dish her grandmother used to make: cooked carrots.
“She used very little, very salty water and tons of farm-quality organic butter,” she explained. “It was just one of those things I would dream about when I would go see her. And of course, the steak and the meat and everything that came with it, too, but those carrots were really what I was looking forward to the most.”
And though she’s tried — “thousands of times” — to re-create those carrots, “I’ve never been able to,” Bengtsson said with a laugh. “It was just the way she did it, and where she got her produce in the south of Sweden. There’s some kind of love into it I haven’t figured out. One day maybe!”
Tickets for Serving Up Home start at $250. For info, visit breakingground.org.