Chris Wragge

Chef JJ Johnson
The American Cancer Society hosts the 15th Annual Taste of Hope on Thursday, May 21st, 2020 at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City. This years’ Volunteer Host Committee includes David Alan Basche, Danny Burstein (Moulin Rouge), Harry Carson (HOF NY Giants), Richard Kind, Harry Lennix (The Blacklist), Rebecca Luker, Alysia Reiner (OITNB), and Clarke Thorell.

This year’s celebration recognizes James Beard Award-winning Culinary Honorees, Chef Michael White and Chef JJ Johnson with more honorees to be announced in the coming months. CBS News’ Chris Wragge is back to Emcee. Now in its 15th year, the event is hosted annually by the Taste of Hope volunteer committee and has raised millions to support the American Cancer Society’s mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight to a world against cancer.

Chef Michael White

Event Co-Chairs Mark D. Friedman (Halstead) and Jamie Koff (Fabric To Finish) volunteer year-round to produce this signature culinary, wine, and spirits event that provides the 800+ guests the opportunity to enjoy bites from New York City’s top restaurants and philanthropic chefs, and sips from leading winemakers and spirit brands.

More than 90 restaurants are scheduled to participate. Already announced are: A Little Brittle Heaven, Angel of Harlem, Ben & Jack's Steakhouse, Bonsai Kagidori, Calle Ocho, Clarkson Ave Crumb Cake Co, FIELDTRIP, Javamelts Inc., Jing Fong, Magnolia Bakery, Melt Bakery, NOBU, Panca, Sarabeth's, STK, TAO, The Wilson NYC, Treat House, Vaucluse, WB Law Coffee, and Wine Spectator.

Corporate sponsors for this year’s event so far include: Eurostruct, GMC Insurance Brokers, Merrill Lynch – Walters Bailey Associates, Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP.

Taste of Hope donations will support the mission of the American Cancer Society as they save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. The American Cancer Society is the largest private funder of cancer research in the United States, with more than $3.9 billion invested in the search for new cures. Research funded by the Society has laid the groundwork for virtually every major breakthrough in cancer prevention, detection and treatment seen in the last six decades. When we began, only a quarter of all cancer patients achieved 5-year survival. Today, more than 2 in 3 will reach this milestone. Through the years, 49 scientists funded by the Society have earned the Nobel Prize for their findings.

Facing cancer is hard. Having to travel out of town for treatment can make it even harder. Yet the American Cancer Society has a place where cancer patients and their caregivers can find help and hope when home is far away - an American Cancer Society Hope Lodge right here in New York City. Each Hope Lodge offers cancer patients and their caregivers a free place to stay when their best hope for effective treatment may be in another city. Not having to worry about where to stay or how to pay for lodging allows guests to focus on getting better. Hope Lodge provides a nurturing, home-like environment where guests can retreat to private rooms or connect with others. Every Hope Lodge also offers a variety of resources and information about cancer and how best to fight the disease.

Those who cannot attend can follow the event online at @ACSTOHNYC (Instagram) and @ACSTasteOfHope (Twitter), or by following hashtag #TOH2020.


Thursday, May 21st, 2020

7:00pm – 10:00pm


Metropolitan Pavilion

125 West 18th Street

New York, NY 10011


General Admission – $200

VIP Admission – $275

Table of 5 – $1,750

Table of 10 – $3,500

About Culinary Honoree Chef Michael White:

Although Michael White’s soulful, flavorful interpretations of Italian cuisine indicate otherwise, Michael is in fact a Midwesterner who spent his childhood in Beloit, Wisconsin. Enamored with the culinary world, White enrolled in the Kendall Culinary Institute and then secured a position in Chicago’s Spiaggia. He studied for seven years at the acclaimed San Domenico in Imola before returning to the United States. In 2007, White partnered with Ahmass Fakahany to first open two restaurants in New Jersey. Soon after, Fakahany and White officially formed the Altamarea Group to open Marea, which garnered three stars from The New York Times, received the James Beard Foundation's Best New Restaurant Award, and holds one Michelin stars.

From Marea, Fakahany and White extended their culinary vision and opened the second Michelin-starred Ai Fiori; Vaucluse, their elegant French brasserie on Park Avenue; Osteria Morini - in several locations; and Nicoletta Pizzeria and Nicoletta Italian Kitchen. Outside the United States, Altamarea has properties in Dubai, Istanbul, and new ventures coming soon.

Chef White has received the highest recognitions in his career from Michelin, The New York Times, James Beard Foundation, Zagats and many other organizations. White was also named of the “40 Most Influential New Yorkers under 40” by Crains, New York.

About Culinary Honoree Chef JJ Johnson:

JJ Johnson is a James Beard Award-winning chef best known for his barrier-breaking cuisine connecting the foodways of West Africa and Asia to the Americas. Chef JJ hails from the cultural Mecca of Harlem and culinary traditions spanning from the American South to Puerto Rico, seasoned by the beat of a Hip Hop/R&B mixtape. His signature style of combining culturally relevant ingredients with his classically trained cooking and global point of view is inspired by the Caribbean tastes he grew up with, combined with inspiration from his travels.

Recognized by Eater as one of the New Guard of Power in NYC Dining, JJ’s brand of creating cultural connections through food is a hallmark of his hospitality group Ingrained Hospitality Concepts, LLC, a collaboration of industry professionals dedicated to creating great restaurants while sharing international cuisine with amazing hospitality.

The restaurant group opened FIELDTRIP, a quick-casual rice bowl shop located in Harlem that highlights rice traditions from around the world with globally-inspired flavors and techniques. JJ is a Chef on Buzzfeed’s Tasty platform, a Mastercard Ambassador and a television host on Just Eats with Chef JJ airing for its second season on TV One’s network Cleo TV. He is a Forbes 30 Under 30, Eater Young Gun and has been featured on NBC TODAY, GMA, Food and Wine, Esquire magazine, and the New York Times chose Fieldtrip as a Critic's Pick for the Hungry City Column.

Chef JJ published his award-winning first cookbook in spring 2018, “Between Harlem and Heaven: Afro-Asian-American Cooking for Big Nights, Weeknights, and Every Day” (Flatiron Books). He serves on the James Beard Impact Programs Advisory Committee and sits on the junior board of Food Bank for New York City, taking action to end hunger.

About Taste of Hope:

Taste of Hope® was founded in 2005 by the American Cancer Society as a way to celebrate New York dining while raising funds to support the Society’s mission to save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is attacking cancer from every angle.

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit:

Photos Courtesy Of Lawlor Media GP