Immune to Cancer: The CRI Blog




Going “Through the Kitchen” For a Good Cause

Through the Kitchen 2015 guests at decorated tables

On May 17, some of New York City’s most prominent financial, political, and social figures came together at The Four Seasons restaurant for the 33nd annual “Through the Kitchen” party benefiting the Cancer Research Institute (CRI). This is the only event for which the iconic restaurant closes to the public and invites guests to walk through its kitchen. The event raised a record-breaking $1.42 million to support CRI’s Irvington Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

Renowned for its imaginative themes, this year’s party celebrated “Divine Obsessions” that people develop in life, such as golf, exotic travel, junk food, reality television, dogs, shoes, and chocolate, among others. Each table, thoughtfully decorated by celebrated party planner DeJuan Stroud, was teeming with props that humorously celebrated an obsession.

Following a lively cocktail hour in the restaurant’s famed Grill Room, more than 280 guests donned aprons, walked through the kitchen, and helped themselves to a diverse assortment of chef-prepared, playfully named dishes, including: “that’s a whole yacht of vegetables,” “pool shark prosciutto,” “Facebook fusilli,” “botched botox beef,” and “LululeMassaman curry.”

“This party consistently stands out as one of New York’s most anticipated, festive charity events, and we are thrilled to see this kind of support for CRI’s mission,” said Jill O’Donnell-Tormey, PhD, CEO and director of scientific affairs at the Cancer Research Institute.

Cancer Research Institute trustee Lauren Veronis conceived Through the Kitchen 33 years ago, at that time a benefit for the Irvington Institute for Immunological Research, which merged with the Cancer Research Institute in 2007. Today, Lauren continues to organize the party along with her daughter Perri Peltz and longtime friend Jeanne Siegel, along with help from a committee of dedicated event co-chairs.

Since Through the Kitchen’s inception, the event has raised more than $11.6 million—half of that within the past five years alone—to fund promising young scientists focused on studying the immune system and its power to conquer cancer.

Celebrated auctioneer Jamie Niven of Sotheby’s, a well-known figure among this coterie of guests, raised $678,000 from the generous partygoers, with the majority of proceeds coming from the auctioning of additional postdoctoral fellowships. Among the auction lots, prize packages included: an opportunity to appear on stage during a performance of Broadway’s smash hit musical, Kinky Boots; lunch at The Four Seasons with renowned journalist and interviewer Charlie Rose; a Dior-sponsored portrait sitting with world-famous celebrity photographer Platon; several ten-week paid internships at Bloomberg; dinner and drinks at the coveted RAO’s restaurant; and tickets to Broadway’s It Shoulda Been You, including an onstage wedding vow renewal ceremony and dinner at Cipriani.

Special thanks to event co-chairs Christine and John Fitzgibbons, Denise and Michael Kellen, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, Jamie Niven, Margaret and Andrew Paul, Perri Peltz and Eric Ruttenberg, Betsy and Paul Shiverick, Jeanne and Herbert Siegel, Diane and Tom Tuft, Lauren and John Veronis. Thanks also to auction prize donors Kinky Boots, Charlie Rose, Dior, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Daryl Roth, and Charles Gargano. And a very special thank you to Alex von Bidder and The Four Seasons Restaurant for being so generous year after year.

Read more about the event in the Wall Street Journal. Photos available at

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