Gwyneth Paltrow And Theo Spielberg

Tom Colicchio And John Wegorzewski

Aida Turtorro With Barry Sonnenfeld And Isaac Mizrahi

Surely the most extravagant and sumptuous food and wine event in the Hamptons this year was the annual Great Chefs Dinner benefiting Jeff’s Kitchen and The Jeff Salaway Scholarship Fund at the Hayground School, a project near and dear to the late Jeff Salaway. The evening also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the celebrated Hamptons hot spot Nick & Toni’s. Jeff was the “Nick” of Nick & Toni’s, and Toni, his widow, is Toni Ross. Both were co-founders of the Hayground School, a progressive learning institution for children pre-K through eighth grade.Following a tradition begun by Jeff’s sister, Lizz Salaway, with several of New York and the Hamptons’ top chefs to honor Jeff’s memory, the gala dinner has grown to be a grand affair and is the most important fundraiser for the Hayground School. This year saw a virtual explosion in the number of culinary wizards who packed up their knives, kitchen equipment and with staff headed out for a busman’s holiday in the Hamptons to cook in honor of a much-loved colleague.The dazzling list of participating chefs included private chef and culinary arts instructor Gail Arnold, Miche Bacher of Sacred Sweets, Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar; Tom Colicchio of Craft Restaurants and Bravo TV’s “Top Chef”, Claudia Fleming of The North Fork Table and Inn, Larry Forgione of An American Place CafĂ© NYC, Marc Meyer of Hundred Acres, Five Points and Cookshop, Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill, Joseph Realmuto of Nick & Toni’s Restaurant, Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin, Aaron Sanchez of Paladar and Centrico Restaurants, Toshio Tomita of Nobu Restaurant, Laurent Tourondel of BLT Restaurants, and Jonathan Waxman of Barbuto.The crowd feasting on the culinary delights was as star studded as the chef roster including hosts Mark Smith and Drew Nieporent, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin, Brenda Siemer Scheider, designer Isaac Mizrahi, Aida Turturro of “The Sopranos,” Michael and Ninah Lynne, Stuart Match Suna, Susan Ringo and husband Barry Sonnenfeld who emceed the evening, Ira Levy and Helene Safdie, Nicole Brewer, Editor in Chief, Gotham Bar & Grill’s Betsy Rathe and Rick Kleban, Mark Smith, Southampton Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst, Scott O’Neill and Neil Kraft, author Florence Fabricant and some 400 more.Hayground School was founded in 1995 by a local group of parents that included actor Roy Scheider and Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld, educators and community leaders. This group included representatives from the Native-American, African-American, Latino and Euro-American communities on the East End of Long Island. Their shared vision, Hayground School, opened in September, 1996, with 60 students from pre-K to 8th grade. Hayground’s mission is to provide an open community school where unproductive conventions are replaced with new ways of teaching and learning. The school was founded on the conviction that all children can and should live a life of the mind, be serious and passionate readers, engage in serious discourse, and work and study in an environment where art is at the center, not the periphery, of life. Thanks to the first Great Chef’s Dinner, organized in 2003, more than $300,000 was raised to build a unique kitchen/classroom/community center on the sprawling Hayground campus a reality. That building Jeff’s Kitchen is a professional grade kitchen and classroom fitted with top-of-the-line Viking appliances; classes in nutrition, food science and cooking are held there for both children and adults.Just recently, Slow Food Long Island (a non-profit “eco-gastronomic” organization that promotes an environmentally progressive, locally-based approach to food cultivation, distribution and consumption), presented Hayground with a check for a professional FarmTek greenhouse, thereby completing the Jeff’s Kitchen complex. The pre-fab greenhouse was erected by Hayground students, staff and friends that same day and is now poised to allow students to use Jeff’s Kitchen more effectively than ever.