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I thought there couldn't be anything left to say about last week's fabulous Can-Do Awards Dinner, which benefited the Food Bank for New York City and featured host Mario Batali, honoree Jon Bon Jovi and surprise guests Bill Clinton and Bono. The event raised a remarkable $1 million, which translates into some five million meals for hungry New Yorkers at a very critical time.
© Sharon Harris
© Sharon Harris
Star auctioneer Billy Harris in action with Jimmy Fallon.
It turns out there's always something else to say, especially if it's about the action-packed live auction run by celebrity auctioneer Billy Harris. Harris got $35,000 for four box-seat tickets donated by the owner of the Boston Red Sox to see the Yankees play their arch-rivals at Fenway Park (there's a stop at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, CT, thrown in there, too). So who was that intent on seeing the game? Mike Mills, the bass player for REM (tbd whether he's a Yankees or Red Sox fan). As for the biggest item of the night, the dinner for 24 cooked by Mario, Tom Colicchio and Dave Chang went for a whopping $60,000. There's some debate about whether Jimmy Fallon bought the whole thing himself or split the package with his tablemate Emeril Lagasse. (I'm going to find out; Dave promised me I could assist that night.) Harris did such a good job of selling the dinner that someone else got interested in it—Jon Bon Jovi is now also paying 60 grand to have the same three elite chefs cook dinner for him and 23 friends. The chefs are excited about both dinners, although Tom is reportedly afraid that Mario and Dave will stick him with making dessert.