June 28, 2017

Top Chef Alumni Reunion at 2013 Taste of Tennis


(August 21, 2013) NEW YORK, NY- As the culinary world meets the tennis world for the 14th annual BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis on August 22 at  the W Hotel  there will be a special  mini reunion. Among the more than 20 chefs participating in the event, some will be alumni from the Bravo network television show Top Chef.

The winner of the first season of Top Chef Harold Dieterle told Tennis Panorama that he is looking forward to the event: “None of my fellow chefs from Season 1 are participating, but I’m excited because I know that Top Chef has seen so many great chefs come through as contestants. Given that there are so many Top Chef alums cooking at Taste of Tennis, I know I’ll be in great company.”


“I enjoy participating in cooking events with other chefs,” noted Top Chef Masters season three veteran Floyd Cardoz. “Having chefs from Top Chef Masters and Top Chef is always fun as you all have gone through the wringer with the show. Being able to cook with these chefs is always fun as we don’t always get to hang out together.”


Taste of Tennis demonstrates the connection between tennis players/fans and “foodies.” Some of the Top Chefs spoke about it.


“There’s no doubt that the two worlds overlap a lot,” Chef Dieterle said. “I think it’s no surprise that you’d see many of the same people in the sidelines at a tennis match that you’d see at a table at some hot restaurant; both can certainly cater to glamorous crowd.”


Dale Talde from Top Chef season 4 agreed: “I think the tennis culture goes hand in hand with food. People in tennis seem to appreciate nice food.”

Some of the chefs we contacted talked about their funniest moments during their respective seasons.

Jonathan Waxman from the first season of Top Chef Masters said “making the world’s ugliest wedding cake which the bride just adored!”

“In one of the episodes we did not have much time to shop,” noted Chef Cardoz. “I went to the second level of the store and was trying to get to the down escalator. Unfortunately it was not the down escalator but the one coming up.  I kept on trying to push the cart onto the escalator. After struggling to get on for 5 minutes, two young girls came up to me and explained to me that I was on the wrong escalator. I have never felt dumber in my life! Thank God it didn’t make the show!”


“The most memorable experience was having to learn to be open-minded and cook with all of these crazy ingredients they were throwing at us,” confessed Chef Dieterle. “Like Spam? I’d never cooked with Spam. But I had to drop all of my preconceived notions and get creative. It was definitely memorable—really teaches you to think on the fly.”


“You know, before going on Top Chef, I’d been living alone for almost 10 years. All of a sudden, I had to learn to live in a house with a bunch of other people. That brought with it many funny moments—you put a group of strangers in a house and make them spend all of their time together for weeks on end, and funny things happen. It’s safe to say I was one of the quietest people there, but I definitely saw a lot of silly times in that house.”


Chef Talde’s bed was misplaced in season. “One time after a 24 hour challenge, my bed accidentally got moved into another room. When I came back to the apartment, I just couldn’t find my bed.”


But for all of the chefs who participated in Top Chef, their appearance on the show changed their lives.


“It was a great springboard for exposure and to really get my name out there, which was invaluable when I opened Perilla in 2007,” said Chef Dieterle. “But I think so many people do Top Chef and then don’t go back into the kitchen—I was so excited to get back to the restaurant kitchen after the show.”


“I never realized how much I affected people until after the show,” explained Chef Cardoz. “I do get recognized a lot more.  I was in Mexico this year and someone stopped me at the hotel I was staying at. I always make it a point to be nice to anyone who gets the courage to stop me.”


The BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis takes place on Thursday 22, 2013 at the W Hotel NY from 7pm-10pm and will be hosted by No. 1 player Serena Williams. The event benefits the James Beard Foundation. The event is produced by AYS Sports Marketing.

Follow Tennis Panorama’s live coverage from the event on twitter @TennisNewsTPN


Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News


A Perfect Match – Taste of Tennis to Benefit James Beard Foundation

(August 19, 2013) NEW YORK, NY – This year when top chefs, tennis players and other celebrities take to green carpet at the W Hotel in New York City and then prepare food for Taste of Taste tennis they will be raising money to benefit the James Beard Foundation.

Most people know the James Beard Foundation as the organization whose awards are the “Oscars of the culinary world.” In addition to the awards, the foundation located in West Greenwich Village also gives our scholarships to students.

“Our foundation has been awarding financial aid to deserving students since 1991, since then we have awarded more than 4.6 million dollars in financial aid,” said James Beard Foundation Susan Ungaro.

James Beard was an American chef and food writer who is credited with bringing French cooking to the masses in the 1950’s  He established an identity of American gourmet food. He authored over two dozen books and has a foundation that bears his name. He has been called the “Father of American Gastronomy.”

“James was the first food personality to be on television even before Julia Child,” Ungaro said.

“James Beard was quite philanthropic,” Ungaro continued. “He co-founded City Meals on Wheels.

“James Beard would have been humbled that there’s a foundation as a tribute to his leadership in recognizing the fact that all Americans should cook in season, enjoy fine dining but also understand sustainability and eating local as well.”

It seems a natural fit that Taste of Tennis should raise money for a foundation which helps to develop the culinary arts.

AYS President and CEO Penny Lerner discussed how the two entities came together: AYS (who is the producer of the Taste of Tennis event) also does marketing and consultation, away from our life as the Taste of Tennis. Actually one of our clients Rums of Puerto Rico, I’ve negotiated a deal with the James Beard for the past 6 years to be one of the lead sponsors of the James Beard Awards. They are the highest honor of food and beverage professionals in North America they are the Oscars of the food industry. The actual awards which are in May. Some of our clients have been part of the James Beard Awards and I have been running the account for them and learning a lot about James Beard and the foundation and the awards and the impact they make on the culinary world and we started to see how they are viewed, and how they view themselves. We thought that this is a perfect match for us since they are the bar of excellence in the culinary world. Bringing the two together hits a nice international front.”


“They approached us through our director of sponsorship,” said Ungaro. It seemed like a natural to join Taste of Tennis in New York tied to the US Open and there’s a foundation, the James Beard Foundation which awards  scholarships and recognizes the best of the best of the food industry and we’re a non-profit  so  I think they just thought it was the year to reach out and work with a  culinary foundation as part of their taste of tennis celebration.”

With world No. 1 and defending US Open champion Serena Williams as this year’s  host of Taste of Tennis, it will mark the first time a tennis player will serve as the host of the event.

“It’s the first time that a tennis player is actually hosting the event,” Lerner said. So this is a new experience for us and for her and we’re glad she came last year and had a great time and wanted to come back and be the host of it. We’re super excited.”

“Players seem to be wanting to do more things than just come to the event, they seem to be wanting to participate more. With the higher level of chefs and the higher interest of tennis players we can do more creative things on the sponsorship side and just the event side in itself.”

So what would James Beard who passed away in 1985, think about Taste of Tennis:

“He would be thrilled,” Ungaro said. “Clearly he would be somebody who also cared about teaching. He wrote over 2 dozen cook books and he taught cooking classes here in the Village  for years and I know he would also be very excited by the fact that Taste of Tennis would be raising money four our foundations scholarship mission.

The BNP Paribas Taste of Tennis takes place on August 22, 2013 at the W Hotel NY from 7pm-10pm. The event benefits the James Beard Foundation. The event is produced by AYS Sports Marketing.