Chef Daniel Boulud to spice up revamped REBNY gala

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The  Real Estate Board of New York’s power-packed annual gala this year won’t look anything like the stuffy affairs of pre-pandemic times. It’s on June 23, not in mid-January; the venue is Far West Side event space The Glasshouse, not the New York Hilton; and dress is casual rather than black tie.

The food, too, will be unrecognizable. The widely disparaged sit-down “rubber chicken” hotel meals of the past will give way to canapes by top Big Apple chefs served from stands around the floor.  Guests can nosh their way through the evening as they roam the room.

The REBNY gala, a 125-year-old tradition, draws up to 2,000 of the city’s prime-mover developers, landlords, brokers and other industry professionals. It was known in the past for lengthy speeches that dealmakers ignored as they schmoozed with their peers; this time around the speeches and award presentations will be at an early VIP reception.

Overseeing the culinary upheaval is super-chef Daniel Boulud, whose newest restaurants, Le Pavillon at One Vanderbilt and Le Gratin in the Beekman Hotel, are the talk of the town.

The REBNY gala (shown in 2019) is moving from the New York Hilton and ditching black ties for a more casual affair at the Glasshouse on the far West Side.

Boulud oversaw and coordinated offerings from chefs including Fieldtrip’s JJ Johnson, Hill Country’s Ash Fulk, and Porter House Bar & Grill’s Michael Lomonaco.

SL Green CEO Marc Holliday, who is a REBNY board member and Boulud’s landlord at Le Pavillon, also took an active interest, Boulud said.

“I worked with the other chefs who sent suggestions,” Boulud said. “We wanted a balance of seafood and meat, for example. We have a lot of protein going around.”

Le Gratin, a Lyonnais style French bistro located in The Beekman created by Chef Daniel Boulud.
Le Gratin, a Lyonnais style French bistro located in The Beekman created by Chef Daniel Boulud.
Stephen Yang
People dine inside Le Gratin.
People dine inside Le Gratin.
Stephen Yang

There will also be a selection of hot and cold hors de’oeuvres chosen by catering chef Thomas Preti.

Boulud’s own stand will showcase two dishes from Le Pavillon: citrus-marinated shrimp and sweet corn velouté with jalapeno cornbread and a dessert, choux à la crème of vanilla and caramel or pistachio and honey.

He’s excited about the shrimp and corn, a new dish. “Our sweet corn velouté will be on our menu in the next month,” he said, using corn from the Carolinas.

Boulud isn’t worried there won’t be enough food for the crowd. “We won’t run out,” he chuckled. “We’re making over a thousand of each of our dishes.”

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