On Sunday, May 19, 2019, more than 250 guests gathered to celebrate the “superheroes of cancer research” at the Cancer Research Institute annual “Through The Kitchen” party, which took place at The Pool and The Grill restaurants in New York’s Seagram Building. Guests enjoyed delectable food from many different cuisines, which they assembled on their own plates while walking through the gleaming kitchen at the restaurant. CRI Trustee Lauren Veronis has spearheaded this event since its inception in 1983. Among the prominent attendees this year were former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor, Kenneth and Elaine Langone, Ann and Andrew Tisch, and Jo Carole and Ronald Lauder.
Dr. Jill O'Donnell-Tormey, CEO of Cancer Research Institute, and Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and former Mayor of New York City, at Through the Kitchen 2019 (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)
The event began with a cocktail hour at The Grill, featuring champagne, an open bar, and passed hors d’oeuvres. Guests then picked up a custom-designed apron to wear while proceeding through the kitchen to dinner in The Pool restaurant. Each of the 26 tables was lavishly decorated as they are each year in accordance with the surprise theme.
Caitlin Mehner and Danny Strong in aprons to go Through the Kitchen (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC).
This year, the theme was comics and cartoons. Some of the characters highlighted on the tables were Betty Boop, Scooby Doo, Superman, and Bugs Bunny. The menu items were also given names consistent with the comics/cartoons theme, such as Selection of (Olive) Oy(l)sters, Mickey Mouse ClubHouse Chopped Salad, and Yabba Dabba Rata-touille.
CeCe Cord goes Through the Kitchen (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC).
CRI’s CEO Dr. Jill O’Donnell-Tormey warmly greeted everyone with inspiring words, and thanked them for their attendance, especially since it meant missing the Game of Thrones finale on HBO.
A live auction hosted by guest auctioneer Robbie Gordy of Christie’s offered up generously donated items including a dinner party at The Grill, several Bloomberg internships, and a private dinner with the director of CRI’s Scientific Advisory Council, Nobel laureate Dr. James Allison. Guests were also encouraged to bid on a fully-funded fellowship or combined pledges toward additional fellowships. In addition to the live auction, guests had the opportunity to bid on select pieces of artwork through an online auction in the days leading up to the event. All attendees thoroughly enjoyed themselves and remained at The Pool well into the evening to continue socializing (and partaking of numerous dessert options!) after the auction.
The Pink Panther table at Through The Kitchen 2019 (Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/PMC)
“Through The Kitchen” raises money for CRI’s Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship program. This program provides three years of funding for promising young scientists at the early stages of their careers, working under the mentorship of some of the field’s most respected thought leaders. The Fellowship program is CRI’s longest-running formal research program, established in 1971. Insights gleaned from this basic research over the past several decades have formed the foundation of our current understanding of how the immune system works to fight cancer.
This year, CRI raised $1.3 million through a combination of ticket sales and contributions and auction items—enough to fully fund seven three-year fellowships, helping CRI fund more research that will help us give more hope to more cancer patients. The combination of charitable donations raised and the obvious enjoyment of the guests made this event a huge success in every sense!