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The first thing to say about the Food Bank for New York City Can-Do Awards is that the problem of hunger in the city is heartbreaking. The Food Bank does the great job of providing some 300,000 free meals a day to hungry New Yorkers. The next thing to say is that a lot of unbelievable people show up at the Can-Do Awards to support the cause. Here are highlights of the night, which featured Mario Batali as co-chair, Emeril Lagasse as an honoree and Stanley Tucci as Master of Ceremonies.
* Having seats right near the money table: U2’s The Edge, who was sitting between Salman Rushdie and Helena Christensen. (Some people might have thought the money table was the one with Batali, Lagasse, Tony Bourdain, Nancy Silverton and actor Josh Charles. Others might, more accurately, have said the money table was the one with Goldman Sachs’s CEO, Lloyd Blankfein.)
* Having people’s texted donations projected on a huge screen. Tucci kicked it off with a $5,000 donation (that he pretended to make from a toy phone). Soon pledges were flooding the screen, including one from as far away as Newfoundland and another in exchange for a kiss from Colicchio. (There's still an opportunity to pledge! at 646-853-2277.)
* Having someone—referred to by the Christie’s auctioneer only as “the lady in red”—bid an astonishing $100,000 for a dinner for 20 cooked by Batali, Colicchio and David Chang. “That’s a lot of pressure, man,” Chang told Feast’s Ben Leventhal before going, with Batali and Colicchio, to kiss the winner.
* Having tickets to the last night of U2’s 360 tour in Rome go twice for $50,000. And having The Edge give the winners a standing ovation. And then he went to the Spotted Pig to have a second dinner with his friends.