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NEW YORK — Given the crowd and the occasion, it was inevitable that guests at Wednesday night’s Edible Schoolyard NYC dinner would wind up in the kitchen.
For starters, Lela Rose’s soaring modernist TriBeCa loft leads the curious, several of whom beelined it to the kitchen after greeting Rose and her husband, Brandon Jones. There, Sophie Buhai, Arden Wohl and others were happy just to watch chef and best-selling author Gabrielle Hamilton in action.
Rose, along with co-hosts Beth Blake, Fernanda Niven and David Maupin, helped raise more than $120,000 for the nonprofit that is geared to integrating gardening and cooking into schools’ curriculum. A dinner for 12 at Momofuku Ko and a private cooking class with ABC Kitchen’s Dan Kluger were a few of the auction items.
Wearing khakis and a slightly rumpled button-down shirt, Jake Gyllenhaal mentioned how he often helps his best friend, who is a farmer on Martha’s Vineyard. Having grown up in a family that relied on a garden for meals, Gyllenhaal said, “To me, this is a fiercely political topic, even though it seems like an easy one to actually put into practice. Even though an event like tonight’s might seem elitist, it is about incorporating one of the least expensive things you can do. It just takes time, attention and love, which oddly is an incredibly difficult thing for people to do in this world.”
Over “elevated margaritas,” the cocktail conversation often returned to composting, environmentalism, cycling for transportation, green thumbs and farmers’ markets. Niven said, “This is not just about getting kids to eat healthy food. It’s also about creating a community and having kids sit down and talk. For a lot of people, unfortunately, the family meal is a thing of the past.”
Attendees, who wondered how, exactly, Rose’s futuristic dining room table was lowered from the ceiling and raised from the floor, did not have far to go. Work Architecure’s Dan Wood and Amale Andraos — the design team that revamped the apartment — were on hand to share the nitty-gritty. Wood, who once worked for Rem Koolhaas, was just off the plane from checking out his firm’s progress with the Blaffer Art Museum, which opens this spring in Houston. Wood caught up with Rose’s mother, Deedie, a major force in creating Dallas’ arts district, which now includes buildings by Norman Foster and Renzo Piano.