Every year, I organize an intimate charity dinner for a wonderful organization,  Maryhaven Center of Hope.

This is one of Long Island’s oldest and largest nonprofit program, a nonsectarian agency which lovingly serves disabled children and adults of every race, religion and creed from the Metropolitan area. Since its founding in the 1930s, Maryhaven has established a nationwide reputation for excellence in helping the disabled achieve small miracles of progress and independence. Former New York Governor Pataki has singled out Maryhaven for extraordinary praise, describing it as a shining example of what can be achieved for the disabled, a model agency that the rest of the nation would do well to emulate.

I have been working with this organization now for 8 years helping them to raise funds by creating an event called the Pride of New York Award (PONY) which honors a great chef, person, or couple.

Previous recipients have included: Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, Jacques Pépin, Lidia Bastianich, Michael Romano, Cesare Casella, and Francois Payard.

Colleen Rein, Francois Payard, Pamela Morgan

Colleen Rein, Francois Payard, Pamela Morgan

The 2009 Pride of New York (PONY) Benefit on Saturday November 14th was at Fred’s at Barney’s New York and honored the renowned Chef Mark Strausman as well as The Real Housewives cast members, Jill and and Bobby Zarin. Along with Chef Strausman, I created a very special 4-course dinner.

In the past, supporters have included many charitable New Yorkers and  Hamptons’ residents, including Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Linda & Jeffrey Chodorow, John Barman, Tom Cullen, Nelson DeMille, Rocco DiSpirit, Eileen & Richard Ekstract, Caroline Hirsch, George Hirsch, Pat Molloy, Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley, Danny Meyer, Governor George Pataki, Francois Payard, Dan Rattiner, Marty Richards, Louise and Len Riggio, Al Roker, Michael Romano, Wilbur Ross, Mickie Siebert, David Walzog, Denise & Larry Wohl, Tom Wolfe, Geoffrey Zakarian, Andrea and John Stark, Steven and Candice Stark and many more. The Benefit attracts many of New York’s best and brightest from the media and the world of food and wine.