Other straits about which the oblivious guest knew nothing were averted, however. For instance the parking situation at one point looked so dire that the organizers were considering asking the chefs, who had been able to valet earlier in the day, to move their cars to Mercy. Fortunately they realized in time that no chef was going to blithely drive off without driving away, or at least to the nearest bar. Then there were the fire alarm and sprinkler systems, which looked to be in danger of being activated by Bernstein's sautéed foie gras over cherry-apple cobbler with pink peppercorn crust. Only she ran out of foie gras before that happened. Good thing she had plenty of that yummy cobbler to keep the masses at bay.
And most of us kept it together, at least until we got to the after-party at Nemo and devoured Loughhead's bean salad and raided Schwartz's bar until he begged us to leave some vodka for his customers, enough to realize that satisfying our hungers was just a very small part of what the evening was all about. The proceeds will go to the families of the victims who worked in the food industry at the World Trade Center. As organizer Haas noted during the pre-event photo shoot, when the 50-odd chefs gathered for a group shot of unprecedented proportions: "The only thing that could have made this a better day is if we didn't have to do it at all."